By Aspen Dental
Alternatives to Dentures
From time immemorial, dental related issues have always been a challenge most people are facing, especially the elderly. A common dental problem among older people is the complete loss of top and bottom teeth. When this dental problem is not treated, it can adversely affect the person’s appearance, confidence, speech, nutrition, and health generally.
In the past, dentists have always approached most dental related problems with only one solution: dentures. Dentures are oral appliances that are removable replacements for missing teeth and surrounding tissues. Dentures can be partial or complete, and they are used differently depending on the nature of the missing teeth. Partial dentures are used when some natural teeth are missing, while complete dentures are used when all the teeth are missing. This oral appliance has been used for a very long time, and it has been working well for most of our parents.
However, in recent times, an effective alternative to dentures has emerged. This alternative is known as dental implants. Experts in the field of dentistry are of the opinion that dental implants are the best option for tooth replacement.
A dental implant is an artificial tooth that holds the replacement tooth bridge by placing it into the jaw. It is a surgical fixture that is placed into the jawbone, and after some time, it allows blending with the bone. They function as a perfect replacement for the roots of missing teeth. It looks just like a natural tooth because of the fact that it stands alone without affecting other teeth and has great stability. It usually undergoes a process known as osseointegration. This refers to the fusion process between the jaw bone and dental implants. The most unique thing about dental implants is the fact that they can be integrated with the bone freely without being recognized as external objects. This is because of the fact that it is made of titanium. With technological advancements, dental implants are becoming easier and more perfect. This is because of the fact that dentists now have access to varieties of technologies that make their jobs quicker and easier.
Factors to be Considered when Planning Dental Implants:
With the emergence of alternatives to dentures, patients can now freely smile and confidently talk in public as most of their missing teeth have been replaced with dental implants. However, the process of getting a dental implant is a very painful one. In view of this, certain factors must be considered before obtaining dental implants or other alternatives to dentures. Some of these factors to be considered are discussed below:
The Dentist: One of the factors to be considered when planning dental implants is the dentist that will perform the surgery. It is important for patients to go for dentists that have a considerable amount of experience with track records of success. The success rate of the dentist must not be less than 85%, and the dentist must have practiced for a very long time. In other words, he should have considerable experience in the field of restorative dentistry.
Techniques to be used: The approach/techniques to be used by restorative dentists are also an important factor to be considered when carrying out dental implants. The successes of dental implants largely depend on the approach the restorative dentist used in tackling it. In view of this, patients must carefully understand the approach that is being employed by their dentists. Find out if there will be an extensive treatment of the teeth before the implant is carried out. Experts are of the opinion that for a better result, the implants should be designed in such a way that it aesthetically fits into the patient’s teeth.
Bone Quality: This is one of the most important factors to be considered when planning a dental implant. Patients seek dental implants because some or most of their teeth are missing. Sometimes, when teeth have been missing from the mouth for a long period of time, the alveolar bone tends to deteriorate because the stimulation in that area had stopped. Alveolar is a bone that encloses teeth. Dental implants are fused directly on alveolar bone; in view of this, it is important to have a very strong alveolar bone before proceeding on with the surgery. There are instances where the bone has deteriorated for a very long time and, as a result, cannot take an implant. Such deteriorated bones have to be rebuilt before receiving this restorative procedure.
These are some of the factors that a patient must consider before taking alternatives to dentures. Dental implants are the best alternative to dentures, but there isn’t just one type; there are various types of dental implants to consider when choosing to get this type of surgery. The different types of dental implants are discussed below:
Types of Dental Implants:
Basically, there are two types of dental implants: Endosteal and Subperiosteal.
Endosteal: This is one of the most common dental implants in use today. They are dental implants done directly into the bone. The various types include screws, cylinders, or blades that are placed into the jawbone surgically. This type of implant is a replaceable alternative for patients with removable dentures or bridges.
Subperiosteal: These implants are designed to aesthetically fit into the teeth when used. It is placed on top of the jaw and has a metal framework that protrudes through the gums to hold prosthesis. This type of implant is usually used by patients who cannot wear conventional dentures and whose alveolar has minimum height.
Dental Implants Procedure:
Carrying out a dental implant procedure is not an easy task. It demands a team effort between the patients, dentist, and periodontist. The patient’s dentist and periodontist always consult with the patient to determine how the implant should be done. Details of dental implants procedures are discussed below:
Replacing a Single Tooth: When a patient is replacing a single tooth, only one implant and a crown are needed to give his/her teeth the aesthetic fit he/she deserves.
Multiple Tooth Replacement: If a patient is missing multiple teeth from his/her mouth, an implant-supported bridge can replace them.
Replacing all the Teeth: There are instances when patients want to replace all the teeth in their mouth. This is common among old people. In situations like this, an implant-supported full bridge or dentures can be applied by the dentists to give an aesthetic fit to the patients’ mouth.
Sinus Augmentation: The quality and nature of the bone in which the implant is to be placed are very important when embarking with dental implants. Right from inception, the back jaw bone has always been a challenge for dental implants. This is due to the fact that the bone quality and quantity in that area is insufficient and close to the sinus. This problem can easily be corrected using sinus augmentation. This process raises the sinus floor and develops bones for the placement of dental implants.
Ridge modification: Sometimes, patients that want to carry out dental implants may have a deformed upper or lower jaw; this will bring about inadequate amounts of bone to implant the teeth. To correct this problem, the gums are lifted from the ridge to expose the defected bone. After which, the ridge is filled up with bone or bone substitute. Ridge modification can improve appearance and increase the chance of having successful implants that will last for a long time.
The Benefits of Dental implants
The benefits of dental implants can never be overemphasized. On a daily basis, different experts constantly give their view on it and why it is the best alternative to dentures. Some of the benefits that dental implants offer are as follows:
Appearance: The fact that dental implants give the teeth their natural look makes it very unique. Unlike dentures, it involves a surgical process and thus doesn’t have a metal hook to keep it in place. Dental implants give confidence to patients with missing teeth, allowing them to smile openly and talk freely in public without the stigma associated with missing teeth.
Avoid damage: Dental implants help to prevent the teeth from damage as opposed to dentures or dental bondage that destroy and break all surrounding teeth. This is because of the fact that dental implants are made of titanium, and the dental system doesn’t see the implants as a foreign or external object.
Durability: One of the reasons why dental implants are the favorite choice in restorative dentistry is the fact that it can last for a very long time. It has over a 98 percent success rate, and it can last for a period over 10 years. Once this process is undertaken once, patients won’t be worried about doing another one. Dentures and dental bonding, on the other hand, last no more than two years and do not have a real, natural look.
Ability to bite: Dental implants provide the same amount of bite strength as natural teeth. Unlike dentures or dental bonding, dental implants do not limit patients to only eating particular foods.
Dental implants keep adjacent teeth stable, preventing them from shifting position and compromising the biting ability of the teeth.
It doesn’t require grinding down the adjacent teeth. Rather, it gives the jawbone the biting and chewing stimulation required to maintain the bone volume around the teeth.
Convenience: Dental implants provide full convenience to patients. They can be cleaned and maintained just like natural teeth.
Dental implants are the best alternative to dentures. They give both the natural and aesthetic features associated with natural teeth.