The least costly and most commonly used method by dentists to restore a patient’s dentition is the removable denture.
The downside of the removable denture is the inconvenience of daily removal and maintenance. Dental implants on the contrary are securely anchored to your jaw and look and feel more like your real teeth, with the added durability of being resistant to decay and comfortable with which to chew.
The dental implant itself is made of Titanium, a very strong, corrosion-resistant, natural element that is perfectly biocompatible with bone. It therefore makes an ideal root replacement (anchor) for your missing tooth. The implant is placed within the upper and/or lower jaw to act as a direct or indirect anchor for the replacement teeth.
Teeth replaced with dental implants offer a more natural look and feel for the patient. As the implant fuses with the bone in the jaw, the prosthesis is securely anchored with no chance of embarrassing movement of the replacement teeth. With dental implants, your teeth look, feel and function in a healthy and stronger manner.
Due to this enhanced anchorage offered by dental implants, patients develop improved confidence that they would not necessarily attain from a removable prosthesis (no need for messy adhesives). With dental implants, a person can feel secure that their teeth will not move. There are no limits to your activities for fear of embarrassment of your denture moving.
No Sore Spots.
Because your implant supported replacement teeth are not resting directly on the tissue of your mouth, you don’t develop uncomfortable sore spots. On the other hand, removable dentures can cause inflammation of the mouth tissues that are under the denture itself, primarily if not removed every night when sleeping and if not cleaned on a daily basis.
Stimulation of bone growth:
Keeping your teeth helps to preserve your jaw bones. Once a tooth is lost, one of the major problems that face dentists that treat edentulous patients is the continuing loss of jaw bone. The result of all this bone loss over time is that removable dentures start fitting less and less well. As the tissue under the denture starts to shrink and pull away from the underside of the denture, it leaves less and less support underneath the removable prosthesis. This is when all the problems associated with an ill-fitting denture start to show. Dental implants, like natural teeth, help to stimulate bone growth. One of the most fascinating and important properties of titanium, the material from which dental implants are made, is that it attracts the growth of bone cells.
Improved Chewing Function:
Due to the lack of permanent anchorage, removable dentures can move or slip while eating, therefore making eating a difficult and less than desirable task. The ability to chew foods improves dramatically with dental implants.
Improved Taste Sensation:
A complete upper removable denture covers the entire roof of the mouth. Your tongue and the roof of your mouth are covered with thousands of tiny taste buds. Once the roof of the mouth is covered with the removable denture, food becomes less easy to taste, more difficult to sample and enjoy. With an implant-supported prosthesis, the roof of the mouth is not covered and food can be tasted by all the taste receptors in the mouth.
With proper care, implants can last a lifetime.
Removable dentures can slip and slide around in the mouth. A complete, upper denture, and some designs of upper partial dentures, cover the roof of the mouth. Both can result in interference with the normal phonetic movements of the tongue, causing difficulty in normal speech. Implant supported teeth normalize speech and allow the person to regain confidence when speaking in social settings.
Improved nutritional uptake by digestive system. Digestion begins in the mouth. Teeth subject food to the mechanical process of grinding, breaking it down into smaller and smaller pieces. Almost simultaneous with the smelling and chewing of food, saliva secretes onto and mixes with it. The enzymes in the saliva begin the further digestive breakdown of food. Now, if the step of mastication (grinding) of food were to be reduced due to inefficiency of a removable denture, the digestive process would be altered and food would not get properly digested further along the digestive tract. This improper digestion directly leads to fewer vital nutrients being absorbed later on in the digestive system.
Nutritional balance is further indirectly enhanced by the stability of an implant-supported prosthesis. As one is more confident to enjoy a varied and healthy diet, and you are not restricted to what you can eat due to unstable removable dentures, then overall nutritional balance of the person is improved.
Reduction in the loss of the prosthesis. Removable dentures can easily be misplaced and lost. There are ample stories of domestic pets ‘eating’ the patients prosthesis (dogs and cats are attracted to the saliva that coats the prosthesis. However, with a fixed, implant-supported prosthesis , your likelihood of loss is next to nil.
What is involved in the placement of my dental implant?
Dental implant treatment is often performed with a team.
The team consists of a restorative dentist who will ultimately fabricate the prosthesis or teeth that are to be replaced; and an experienced surgeon who will place the dental implants in the jaw bone. Careful evaluation of the patient and meticulous planning is essential in providing predictable and satisfactory results.
The treatment consists of 3 phases. The first phase of treatment is the placement of the implant (the root shaped, titanium screw that is commonly referred to as the 'fixture') by the surgical specialist. The second phase of the implant treatment is performed after an appropriate period of healing. Bone heals slowly. A period of approximately 3-6 months is required for the process of osseointegration to be complete. The second phase of treatment consists of the placement of abutments or small metal posts to the implanted fixtures. The third phase of treatment consists of the restorative phase. In this phase the new replacement teeth are fabricated and placed on the implants and abutments.