June 25, 2015
Lapalco Family Dental in Marrero, LA is a full-service dental practice; we have consolidated all our treatment capabilities into a one-stop shop for all your oral health needs, and this includes dental implants. Unlike many practices that only claim to offer dental implants but instead only refer patients to oral surgeons, and may only place the crowns (or artificial teeth, the visible portion of implants), we offer a truly comprehensive, under-one-roof dental implant experience. This is of course much more convenient for you, our patients, but it also means you will be getting your dental implants placed by a dentist and staff that you’re familiar with and who knows your specific oral health needs and goals (in terms of health and aesthetics).
Dental implants are a life-changing solution for those who have lost teeth. We offer both standard dental implants (read previous posts for more information) and implant retained dentures; this allows us to help more people in our community.
If you’ve been living with the misery (both physical and emotional) caused by the loss of one or more teeth, you should come in for an evaluation to see if you’re in good enough health to receive dental implants. You don’t have to live with the compromises in performance and appearance caused by lesser, more conventional solutions (conventional dentures and bridges)!
Understanding Implant Retained Dentures
Dentures are a type of prosthesis, and have long been used to solve the problems caused by tooth loss. Dentures are still effective, and if it does turn out that you are among the minority of patients who can’t ever receive dental implants, they are still a viable option, along with dental bridges (neither requires surgery for placement). Conventional dentures are also still quite popular, because they are perceived to be less expensive than dental implants. Perception is often different from reality, however: while dentures have a lower upfront cost than implants, they require continuous maintenance (otherwise you risk serious infections), and they must be replaced frequently, usually because they no longer fit in your mouth (for a number of reasons, and poorly fitting dentures can create a number of embarrassing and even dangerous complications for the person wearing them).
However, dentures are an effective way to replace multiple lost teeth; it isn’t practical, and is usually very costly, to replace each tooth with an individual implant if you have several missing teeth. Combining the best elements of conventional dentures and the reliability of dental implants, we offer implant retained dentures.
What Are Implant Retained Dentures?
Implant retained dentures are used primarily for the replacement of multiple teeth on the lower jaw; in many cases, a conventional denture for the upper jaw provides sufficient performance, and are less likely to lose their fit than lower dentures (loss of fit causes dentures to slip out of place, which can lead to humiliation or infection).
Implant retained dentures eliminate the slippage issue. Instead of depending on fit i.e. how the dentures interact with your oral tissues and certain teeth to stay in place, implant retained dentures use as few as two, or as many as four implants in the gums and lower jaw. The implants that are used are somewhat different from standard implants in that they are smaller, and usually don’t have the threading of standard implants (however, they are just as reliable). These are mini dental implants, and they are used for both implant retained dentures, and they can also be used in place of standard implants if you have too little bone density to support a standard implant, or if you simply have a jaw that is naturally more narrow than most.
Also unlike standard implants, implant retained dentures don’t always require multiple appointments; the implants can be placed along with the dentures on the same day. The dentures “snap” into place on the exposed “middle” part of the mini-implant known as the abutment, which is responsible for holding the anchor (the “artificial root” that is actually implanted in your jaw, and is not visible when in your mouth). The benefit of this is a marked increase in your bite strength: you will be able to eat more of the foods you’ve always loved, your ability to speak will be improved, if not totally restored to what it was before your tooth loss. Because the denture is held firmly in place by hardware and the implants, the slipping that causes so many problems for those who wear conventional implants is no longer an issue.
Finally, because implants are used, your bone density will also recover more quickly and with greater robustness. This is especially noteworthy when you consider that conventional dentures actually can contribute to the loss of jawbone density (which is already degraded from the initial tooth loss).
Are Implant Retained Dentures as Effective as Standard Implants?
Implant retained dentures are much more effective than conventional dentures across the board: you will get back most of your ability to chew and speak normally, your risk for infections will be greatly reduced, if not entirely eliminated (relative to conventional dentures), and you won’t have to deal with the often embarrassing accidents that are caused by poorly fitting conventional dentures.
However, it should be noted that implant retained dentures still have some limitations. You won’t have to change your entire diet or lifestyle, but you will want to avoid very sticky foods, or foods that require a lot of effort to chew. In addition, while they do take advantage of the reliability and strength of dental implants, implant retained dentures are still dentures. They must be cleaned frequently, regularly, and thoroughly to eliminate potentially harmful bacteria which can cause a range of complications and even very serious diseases.
Are You Ready for Dental Implants?
If missing teeth are a constant source of pain and shame, or if you’re dissatisfied with the performance of conventional dentures or bridges, call us to make an appointment for a consultation with your dentist.
Your dentist will help you gain a better understanding of all your options, as well as give you a comprehensive examination to determine if you are healthy enough (or could be healthy enough) for dental implants or implant retained dentures.
Dial 504-264-6461 to reach our front desk, or click here to reach our online appointment form, where you can book your visit right now!