We all know the dilemma faced by a lot of older dental patients: Dentures can be uncomfortable and a full set of dental implants can be too expensive. While dentures do allow those without teeth to eat and to look good in public, they also have their own shortcomings. The top plate can cover up the palate, decreasing enjoyment of food and beverages. The bottom teeth tend to “float” and feel unstable.
Those who want implants cringe at the thought of a full mouth of titanium replacements and the amount of surgery required. For most people, the cost can be prohibitive. For many, their jawbones don’t have the strength or mass to hold full implants, especially an entire mouth full of implants.
A study of 50 people with full tooth loss, also known as being “edentulous,” showed they feel emotions such as lowered self-confidence, negative self-image, bereavement, inability to discuss their dentures, a concern about whether or not people knew they have dentures, altered social behaviours and premature ageing.
Tooth-loss researchers understand the plethora of issues but reduce it to one sad conclusion: “Tooth loss can be disabling and handicapping.” In one study, edentulous people were asked to rate losing their teeth on a scale with other life-changing experiences such as retirement, having a child or getting married. Most ranked losing their teeth as a more significant life experience than any of the others mentioned.
Everyone on our dental team is aware of these issues. We go out of our way to help provide the best guidance and support to our denture patients that we can. Sometimes a reline can make dentures more comfortable and functional. But there is also a great option for those who want something more out of their dentures: a full bridge held in place by implants.
What Mini-Implants can Do for You
Dental implants for the purpose of stabilising dentures are becoming increasingly popular. Even two implants in the anterior mandible can provide patients with a significant upgrade to their quality of life. It can also help maintain bone in the jaw that is usually absorbed after tooth loss.
Clinical trials that have lasted from six months to nine years have found mandibular two-implant overdentures to be superior to conventional dentures. The only problem for many patients is that their jawbones are significantly deteriorated to a point where they don’t have enough bone to hold standard dental implants.
People who have had dentures for too long usually don’t have enough bone to hold implants. They can have bone grafted but it takes a long time and is expensive.
Luckily, mini-implants are now a viable alternative for millions of denture-wearers. They start at nearly half the size of standard implants. They can be placed and “loaded” in one appointment. Four mini-implants are implanted into the lower mandible. The dentist uses diagnostic imaging to find the right spots on the patient’s ridge and drills a small hole into the tissue.
The implants are placed into the holes and tightened with wrenches and drivers. These implants have ball-shaped heads which are used for snapping the bridge onto them. Sometimes the patient’s current denture can be retrofit for use with the implants. The procedure can allow a patient to enjoy the benefits of a significant change in just one day.
If you aren’t fully satisfied with your dentures, call us today for an appointment. At Joondalup City Dental, we are experienced at providing you with the best dental care possible. We can go over all of the options available to you and help you decide which is the most appropriate.
We treat all of our patients like family and go out of our way to make sure every visit to the dentist is a great one. We treasure your individuality and your dignity and never treat you like a number.
Whether you need dentures, dental implants or any dental services, we make sure you get the best experience possible.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, we encourage you to discuss these matters with an appropriately qualified health practitioner.