Denture wearers have always had to suffer with pain, instability and poor function which lead to poor self-esteem, insecurity and a diminished quality of life. Dental implants, titanium anchors place in the upper and lower jawbones, can easily be used to support or attach removable dentures with snaps, clips or other locking mechanisms. Without these implant-retained attachments, dentures only hold in place by suction on the upper jaw and gravity on the lower jaw.
Implants with attachments greatly improve a denture’s function, comfort, stability and retention. In some patients, a well made denture can be an effective method of tooth replacement, but even well made dentures often will fail to demonstrate the qualities a patient desires. Regardless, with conventional dentures bone deterioration or ridge atrophy continually occurs constantly changing the dentures fit. Implant placement prevents the ridge atropy from occurring.
Dentures can cause many problems when they fit poorly. Often times, denture wearers have a limited ability to eat a diet other than softer, more refined and processed foods which are often higher in fat and carbohydrates and low in protein and dietary fiber. All of these dietary changes can lead to health risks like obesity, diabetes, stomach and intestinal disorders and many forms of heart disease. The dentures also cause a loss of taste and the feel of foods.
Many denture wearers are very self-conscious because their teeth move or shift while eating, speaking or singing. This can certainly lower self-esteem, ruin social encounters and can often lead to withdrawal, isolation and depression.
The field of removable dentures has been revolutionized by dental implants. In the lower jaw, 2 to 4 implants are used to anchor lower dentures. Even patients with advanced bone deterioration are typically still good candidates for this treatment. Generally, the more implants used, the more secure and stable the denture will be.
In the upper jaw, it is often possible to make a “horseshoe” shaped denture, eliminating the plastic covering the roof of the mouth, with the placement of 4 to 6 implants that are spread out to improve retention. Patients experience better taste sensation and avoid gagging this way also. They also gain a security and satisfaction in hearing a “snap” when these overdentures are seated on the implant anchors.