If you have dentures you may find yourself frustrated with them. A recent study reports that over half of denture wearers feel their dentures place limitations on their professional and personal lives, their diet, and reduces their confidence in their smile. Furthermore, these statistics aren’t limited to older adults; many adults with dentures were under the age of 45 years old when they got their first pair of dentures. Fortunately, there are alternative treatment solutions for missing teeth. Permanent dentures are another tooth replacement treatment option that offers a permanent solution to missing teeth. But what are permanent dentures and how do they work? Below is more information on the treatment option and the benefits of permanent dentures that should be considered.
What are Permanent Dentures?
Permanent dentures, also known as denture implants, are prosthetic artificial teeth that are attached to implants securely placed in the jawbone. Unlike conventional dentures, permanent dentures are not removable and remain securely in place in the mouth. This security provides patients with a tooth replacement that feels exactly like natural teeth. This attachment also means that permanent dentures do not shift and slide around in the mouth like conventional dentures, improving comfort as well as speaking ability.
Who is a Good Candidate for Permanent Dentures?
Due to the dental implants being placed in the jawbone, the best candidates for permanent dentures are patients who are in good physical health with healthy jawbones. Permanent dentures are a good treatment option for patients who are missing more than one or many teeth. Additionally, in order to keep permanent dentures healthy, it is important patients are committee to good oral hygiene habits.
Benefits of Permanent Dentures
Permanent dentures offer many benefits over conventional dentures and were designed to solve many of the common problems reported by patients with conventional dentures. The technology of conventional dentures has not changed for decades and dentures are considered by many dentists as an outdated solution to missing teeth. Here are just a few of the many advantages permanent dentures offer over conventional dentures:
- Reduced pain: Many patients with conventional dentures commonly report pain. This pain is often caused by poorly fitting dentures. Without teeth in the mouth, the shape of the mouth will change over time, requiring dentures to be refitted time and again to avoid issues with fit.
- No dangerous ingredients: It is common for patients with removable dentures to use adhesive gel or paste to help hold their teeth in place. These adhesive agents sometimes have ingredients in them that may be dangerous, such as too much zinc.
- Maintaining face shape: Permanent dentures are attached to dental implants securely placed in the jawbone. Dental implants can stimulate bone health in the jaw and act like natural teeth, reducing the changing in the shape of the jaw and fact that occurs when teeth are missing. This means that permanent dentures will help the face maintain its shape and prevent the skin and lips from slacking.
Improved eating abilities and more eating enjoyment: Permanent dentures allow patients to return to eating any foods they want, even foods they may have had to give up when they had conventional dentures, such as crunchy or sticky foods or fresh fruits. Additionally, chewing is easier with permanent dentures.
The Permanent Denture Treatment Procedure
The permanent denture treatment procedure is not a quick one. The treatment will likely take several procedures, and likely include the following steps:
- Step 1: All damaged teeth will be removed, and the jawbone will need to be prepared for dental implants. For some patients this may mean bone grafting is necessary.
- Step 2: The next step is the dental implant installation surgery. This is when the metal posts are placed into the jawbone. Prior to the surgery, a local anesthetic may be given to minimize any pain or discomfort.
- Step 3: After the implants have fused successfully with the jawbone, which will likely take several months, the permanent dentures can be fit on top of the implants.
Preparing a Treatment Plan
Prior to committing to a permanent denture treatment plan, a dentist will want to conduct a full dental exam, get an x-ray of the jawbones, and take impressions of the mouth. The dentist will also want to discuss the patient’s oral health history and current medications. Once the treatment plan is set, the dentist will make sure the patient is fully prepared for the procedures involved, including having information on fasting before the appointment, planning to take it easy, and setting up a safe ride home.
Planning for Post-procedure Recovery
The dentist will also help the patient feel prepared for the recovery period after the multiple procedures. Common symptoms experienced after surgery include swelling and bruising in the face, minor bleeding in the mouth, and some soreness and pain.
Most patients are encouraged to take over-the-counter pain medications and cold compresses to help with pain. Rinsing the mouth with salt water can help to prevent infection. If any symptoms last for more than a few days and appear to be getting worse patients are advised to contact their dentist for a quick check-in. After any dental procedures, only soft foods should be eaten and hot or cold food or beverages should be avoided for a few days while the mouth is tender.
Deciding on Permanent Dentures
If you currently have conventional dentures, or you are just about to get dentures for the first time, you should consider investing in a more permanent solution. Permanent dentures were designed to solve many of the frustrations reported by patients with conventional dentures. It should be noted that there are many factors to consider when deciding if permanent dentures are right for you. Upfront, permanent dentures will require an investment of not only money, but time. The treatment process will take several months to a year in total, depending on the procedures needed. Additionally, each dental implant will increase the total costs of the permanent dentures. However, conventional dentures can cost more than expected overtime with necessary refitting and maintenance. If you are interested in permanent dentures, you should have a conversation with your dentist and discuss if the treatment is the right solution for you.