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From Dentures to Dental Implants: Q & A

Many denture wearers are unhappy with their dentures, especially cheap dentures prone to poor fit, poor function, and significant discomfort. If that’s your experience, you might be considering upgrading to dental implants with implant dentures. Here are some common questions we get from people considering transitioning from traditional dentures to implant dentures.

What Benefits Can I Expect from Dental Implants?

senior woman relaxing at home on her couch, smiling
Implant dentures are a much better replacement for lost teeth than traditional dentures. When you upgrade to dental implants, expect to enjoy:

  • Secure replacement teeth
  • Better biting and chewing
  • Less damage to remaining teeth
  • Less jawbone shrinkage

One of the biggest complaints people have about dentures is that they don’t stay in place. Talking, laughing, chewing, and more minor jaw movements often dislodge traditional dentures. But implant dentures stay secure–you can count on them to always be where you want them. You don’t even have to use denture adhesive to keep restorations in place with dental implants.

Having replacement teeth securely in place makes it easier for you to bite and chew. You will have a stronger bite force and chew more easily with dental implants than with dentures. This lets you eat more different and nutritious foods.

If you have partial dentures, these rely on your natural teeth for support. This can cause wear on your remaining teeth or, potentially, increase your risk of cavities and gum disease impacting these teeth. Dental implants support themselves, so they don’t cause damage to your remaining teeth.

When you lose your teeth, your body begins to remove bone from your jaw. Since the bone is used to support your teeth, your body thinks this bone isn’t necessary anymore. Losing jawbone can make your face shrink, leading to hanging jowls, turkey neck, sunken lips, and more signs of premature aging. It also means you have to refit your dentures regularly. Plus, it can increase your risk of jawbone fracture. Dental implants stimulate your jaw so that you don’t experience as much shrinkage.

Am I a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?

Most people are good candidates for dental implants. The ideal dental implant candidate:

  • Has healthy gums
  • Has enough bone to secure dental implants
  • Is not a heavy smoker
  • Doesn’t have diseases that can impact dental implants
  • Is committed to caring for implants

Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss, and it can also lead to lost dental implants. To avoid this, we will evaluate your gums before placing dental implants. If necessary, we will treat gum disease before placing dental implants.

As we noted above, your body starts removing jaw bone as soon as your teeth are gone. If it’s been a long time since you lost your teeth or if your jawbone was damaged by trauma or gum disease, we might recommend a bone graft before getting dental implants.

Smoking makes it hard for your body to incorporate dental implants into your bone. If you are a smoker, we will ask you to quit smoking for some time before and after your procedure. For best results with dental implants, it’s best to quit smoking altogether.

Some diseases can impact the success of your dental implants. Immune deficiencies can increase the risk of dangerous infections, and connective tissue disorders can increase your risk of dental implant failure. In addition, some medications can affect your odds of success with dental implants. Steroids, antidepressants, and medications for osteoporosis are a few examples. We’ll talk about your medications before deciding to proceed with dental implant surgery.

Finally, it’s essential to be committed to caring for your dental implants. Implants don’t need much care, but you need to brush and floss regularly to keep your implants secure in your jaw. Plus, continue to make regular dental visits.

Can I Keep My Current Dentures?

Some people with full dentures hope to keep their current dentures when getting dental implants. They might like some aspects of their dentures, such as the appearance, but want to improve their function.

In many cases, your current dentures might be adaptable for use with dental implants. We’ll evaluate the quality and fit of your existing dentures and help you understand whether this is a good option for you.

How Long Will It Take to Get Implants?

The dental implant procedure can be very short–you can get your new smile almost immediately–or it might take six months or more, depending on your oral health and other factors.

Before placing your dental implants, we might need to treat gum disease and place a bone graft. This might take several months.

After your jaw is ready, we will extract any teeth that need to be removed to make room for implants. Then we will place the dental implants. After placing your implants, Dr. Clancy will evaluate them. If they are very secure, he might attach replacement teeth on top of the implants immediately.

If your implants aren’t secure, we will put your gums back over your implants, letting the bone secure the implants. Then, after several months, when your implants are healed, we will place the abutment to attach implants to restorations. After letting your abutments heal, we will attach your replacement teeth to the abutments.

Will I Still Need to Remove My Dentures for Cleaning?

Many people hope that getting dental implants means keeping their teeth in all night. However, this depends on the type of implant denture you get.

Some implant dentures are for long-term wear. These you can’t remove–they’re screwed in. You will brush and floss these,  but you’ll wear them permanently.

Other implant dentures are removable. With these implant dentures, you will still want to remove them every night for cleaning. Which type is best for you depends on your condition, goals, and preferences.

Get All Your Dental Implant Questions Answered in Woburn, MA

Do you still have questions about dental implants? Let implant dentist Dr. Ryan Clancy answer all your questions in person. Please call (781) 396-8558 or use our online form to schedule your appointment with Dr. Clancy at Divine Smiles in Woburn, MA.

By Ryan M. Clancy, DMD, MAGD, LVIF, FPFA, FIAPA | January 27th, 2022 | Dental Implants, Dentures

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