If you have lost a partial or entire arch of natural teeth, you are undoubtedly looking at what your options for restoring your smile. With severe tooth loss, patients often lose the ability to eat and speak properly, while also dealing with embarrassment and even shame of how their teeth look.
You have probably seen a great deal of information online and in your dentist’s practice about dental implants – a tooth loss solution that is transforming the face of dental restorations. There are various types of dental implants available, but the variety that most people are familiar with is the single implant.
A single implant refers to an individual, standalone tooth replacement that has no impact on any neighboring teeth. The dental implant technique uses a titanium post to replicate the tooth root, placing it deep within the jaw bone and allowing the bone and soft tissues of the gums to grow around it, sealing it permanently in place.
This process takes several months and is known as osseointegration. For it to be successful, you must have healthy, dense bone and gums. Porcelain, acrylic or zirconia prosthetic is then attached to the top of the post, forming the visible part of your tooth and completing your single implant.
It is important to understand that the placement of each titanium post is determined using x-rays and scans of your jaw and mouth. These tests will be able to tell your dentist if your bone is healthy enough to receive implants. Every single implant requires a single titanium post.
As you can probably imagine, the process of placing implants is highly invasive and it will take a number of weeks or months for your mouth to heal. The more single implants you need, the more extensive the surgical aspect of this proves will be.
While you could place a single implant for every missing tooth in your arch, there is an alternative that doesn’t require so many posts to be placed, thus reducing the invasiveness of the procedure – implant supported dentures.
Implant-supported dentures combine the overall design of dentures with the highly successful technique of dental implants. This means that they comprise of a set of artificial teeth attached to a mold that sits over your gums. However, rather than the device being attached using denture adhesive which, let’s face it, it not all that secure or reliable, the mold has special, built-in connectors that enable it to be attached to dental implant posts.
Implant-supported dentures offer patients all of the benefits of the implant design and eliminate commonly-cited problems with conventional dentures, such as needing to be removed to clean them, easily breaking and slipping around and even falling out when you speak and eat.
However, in terms of choosing between single implants or an implant-supported denture, there is one key difference. While single implants require one titanium post per artificial tooth, an implant-supported denture can be secured on as little as two posts for a partial arch, or four posts for a full arch. This substantially reduces the amount of surgery required, since most patients have around 15 teeth in an arch, – something which is a considerable benefit for most patients.
Still not sure whether single implants or implant-supported dentures are the best solutions for you? During your initial consultation, we will assess your smile and make a recommendation as to which type of dental implant will benefit you the most. Call PGA Dentistry today to arrange a consultation at 561-627-8666 .