If you’re a long-time denture wearer, you’ll be familiar with the annoyances that can come with them. Many people find their dentures uncomfortable, ill-fitting, and occasionally painful. They can cause difficulty biting and chewing, and require daily cleaning which can be inconvenient and easy to forget. No matter how long you’ve been using dentures for, you can make the swap to dental implants for a permanent and more comfortable solution to missing teeth. Here, we explain everything you need to know about switching from dentures to dental implants.
What Are Dentures?
Dentures are artificial teeth and gum fittings that are worn to replace missing teeth. They are most commonly made out of hard resin which is more fragile than natural teeth, so they can easily crack and become damaged if dropped. Dentures also wear down relatively quickly and will need to be replaced around the five-year mark. There are two types of dentures:
Complete dentures are suitable when all teeth are damaged, decayed, or missing. Before you’re fitted for complete dentures, all of your teeth will be removed and you will need to allow time for the gums to heal.
Conventional dentures can be worn 8 – 12 weeks after this process is complete. Immediate dentures can be made in advance and worn as soon as the teeth have been removed, however, they will generally require more adjustments, as your gums will shrink as they heal. This is why immediate dentures are usually used temporarily — so that you don’t have to go without teeth post-removal — until you can switch to conventional dentures.
Partial dentures are recommended when one or more natural teeth remain. A partial denture is attached to a gum-coloured base and is sometimes connected by a metal framework that holds it in place when worn. Partial dentures fill the space of missing teeth, which also prevents the remaining teeth from shifting into the open gaps.
Fixed partial dentures are fitted to the part of the gum they will sit on, and are then fastened to the surrounding natural teeth to keep them in place. However, they are not permanently fixed and can be easily removed. Alternatively, precision partial dentures have internal attachments rather than clasps that attach to your natural teeth.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are a permanent replacement for missing teeth. They are designed to look, feel, and function just like real teeth. There are two main types of dental implants to consider.
Traditional Dental Implants
Traditional dental implants fix titanium rods into the jawbone to replace the roots of the teeth. These are a great alternative if the natural teeth roots aren’t in a suitable condition for dentures or bridge replacements. These implants are permanent.
All On 4 Dental Implants
All On 4 dental implants are designed to permanently replace an entire set of teeth. After all decayed or damaged teeth are removed, 4 implants are inserted into the jaw — 2 on the upper arch and 2 on the lower arch — to support the new set of teeth. The back implants are placed at a tilted angle to provide necessary support and help overcome any bone deficiencies.
Switching From Dentures To Dental Implants
You can absolutely switch from dentures to dental implants, no matter how long you’ve been wearing dentures. The treatment process will differ depending on which implants you’re looking at.
From Dentures To Traditional Implants
On your first visit, we will examine your mouth, gums, teeth, and jaw, and take a few X-rays. From here, we will advise you on a plan.
We may identify the need for bone grafting in this visit. When your teeth were first removed to make way for your dentures, your body likely reabsorbed the minerals from the jawbone. This can result in a shrinking jaw bone, which may eventually lead to facial collapse. The jawbone is essential for a traditional dental implant procedure, as the bone needs to integrate with the implants to secure them in the mouth. In this case, you will need to have bone graft surgery prior to having your implants put in. The recovery from bone graft surgery is usually a few months.
Once you’ve recovered from your bone grafting procedure, or if you have enough remaining jawbone to go straight ahead, we will install the dental implants. Our implantologist will insert the implant and healing screw into the jaw. The healing screw will protect the implant while it heals. The healing process usually takes around three months.
After your healing period has concluded, we’ll check that the implant has healed and ensure that your new teeth fit properly.
At your last appointment, a new crown will be permanently fixed for single tooth replacements, or a new implant bridge will be secured for multiple tooth replacements.
From Dentures To All On 4 Implants
At Kew Dentistry, your first All On 4 consultation can take place over the phone. Our general practice manager will explain the details of the procedure, answer any questions you may have, and detail the plan for your procedure (including costs). You can book in from this initial phone consultation.
At your first appointment, your mouth and jaw will be examined and a CBCT scan will be performed to evaluate the strength of your jaw. From here, your dentist will determine if you require bone grafting or soft tissue repositioning, which will add extra time and costs to your treatment plan. At this point, you will finalise your treatment plan and book your implant appointment.
At your next appointment, your implant procedure will take place. Under general anaesthetic, the implants will be fitted. A few hours after waking up, you will have 3D printed teeth inserted to compress the gum tissue and minimise swelling.
24 hours after this initial procedure, the final All On 4 prosthesis will be inserted.
Aftercare is vital following your All On 4 surgery. In the first week following your procedure, you’ll come in for a five minute check-up so that we can examine your stitches and answer any questions you may have. We will also check in with you at the three-week and three-month mark to slowly transition you back into a normal diet. For more information on All On 4 aftercare, head to our dedicated blog here.
What Are The Benefits Of Dental Implants?
Dental implants offer relatively quick and long-term results. They are a permanent solution to decaying or missing teeth, so you won’t need to worry about repeated adjustments or new fittings. This also means you’ll save money in the long run.
Unlike dentures, dental implants won’t move around, slip, loosen, or change shape. You’ll likely find that food doesn’t become trapped in your dental implants as it may have with dentures. You’ll be able to eat all foods with your implants, no matter the bite strength required, so you can say goodbye to any dietary restrictions you may have implemented due to decaying teeth or denture issues.
Importantly, many patients who have received dental implants report significant improvements in their self-confidence. Dental implants can help you feel good about your smile again, which can have enormous benefits on your mental health and wellbeing.
Visit our blog here for a deeper dive into the pros and cons of All On 4 dental implants.
Ready To Inquire About Dental Implants?
Dental implants are an effective, permanent solution to missing or decayed teeth. They can offer more comfortable, realistic, and effective results than dentures.
To request an appointment or contact us with any questions, get in touch today.