Have you ever been faced with dentures or have them and hate them? What are my options?
If you have had dentures for a long time, they might not fit well because when the bone does not have “teeth” to hold onto, it tends to slowly resorb or “melt away”. The denture, fitting to where your bone and tissue used to be, now has a smaller area to rest on and may move around more. This can cause the bite to feel off. It can cause sore spots on your gums and ridges. It can also cause more resorption due to uneven pressures.
First we can start by seeing if relining the dentures with bring them back to a comfortable fit. The lower dentures are the hardest to fit because they often do not get the fit and suction of an upper denture. If the bite has changed drastically a new set of dentures is an option. This will cause the denture to fit to your mouth better and can open the bite to where you used to be, resulting in a nicer smile and comfort.
If the only discomfort is a lower denture, than a reasonably lower cost option would be to put in two implants in the bone in the lower arch to allow the denture to snap into the implants and hold them in place. There is a ring that fits between the denture and the implant that can wear out and will need to be replaced every 1-2 years on average.
If you have really good ridges and bone, full mouth implants with bridges can be an option but this is very costly. If you wish more stability but the cost of full mouth implants is not an option, ALL-ON 4 may be the choice for you.
What is ALL-ON-4? This is where 4 implants are placed on the maxillary (upper) ridge and 4 implants are placed on the mandibular (lower) ridge and a denture is attached to these implants. This can be an immediate option after having extractions of all your teeth and still being able to go home with teeth right away. A full upper and lower denture is made before the extractions. The surgeon uses this as a guide to level the bone to have enough room for the implants, the bar connecting the implants and the denture. After the implants are placed and the surgery is done, the temporary denture is attached to the implants with an implant screw. The implants are then left for at least 4 months to heal and to allow the bone to connect to the implants.
After the healing is complete, there are several types of teeth that can go on top of the implants. The first option is a new, very aesthetic denture which is started with teeth set in wax. Once the patient approves the aesthetics then a gold bar is made over the implants and embedded into the final denture for stability and the denture is then completed (processed). Another option is a zirconium (very hard porcelain) U-shaped bridge that is made to attach to the implants. This is can be very beautiful and natural looking and durable but will be more costly than the denture with plastic teeth.
So, what are the advantages of ALL-ON-4? Taste is a big one. With a complete denture, many of the taste buds that are on the roof of your mouth will be covered by a full denture. If one is a gagger, this takes all of the plastic of the denture off the roof of your mouth and allows the denture to feel more like natural teeth. It is fixed in place so it doesn’t move around and unseat if you bite on something hard. Your chewing will be better. Conventional dentures have about 1/10th of the chewing power of natural teeth.
Dentures are not a replacement for teeth, they are a replacement for NO teeth. Today we have many more options to give you a natural and beautiful smile. If you have dentures that just are not working for you or if you are in a place where dentures is one of the options you are having to look at, ALL-ON-4 may be an option for you. Contact us today to learn more.
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