For thousands of years, dentures have been allowing people to chew foods harder than mashed bananas and flash some teeth when they smile. However, denture wearers know how unstable, irritating, embarrassing, and inconvenient they can be.
Today, Anchorage residents with missing teeth are fortunate to have a tooth replacement choice that is far better than both traditional dentures and dental bridges. A dental implant provides the total package, so to speak. An implant replaces the visible part of the tooth and – this is key – also the root.
The dental implant process works like this: A super-strong post, typically made of titanium, is anchored directly into the jawbone. In most cases, an abutment is then attached to the post. Finally, a crown or denture is attached to the abutment. Dental implants provide the following benefits:
- Bone Retention
- Healthy bite
- Reduce or eliminate denture discomfort
- No need for denture relines
- No denture adhesive needed
#1 Dental Implant Stability
Dental implants attach to your jawbone. This makes them as stable as natural teeth. Actually, dental implants are more stable than natural teeth. Natural teeth connect to your jawbone with a ligament that allows some stretch and flexibility. However, dental implants bond directly to the bone in a process called osseointegration. The implant essentially becomes part of your jawbone.
This provides a stable platform for your replacement teeth. Bite forces pass directly from the replacement tooth into the jawbone. This means that you can use your dental implants to eat all the foods you enjoyed with healthy teeth, even some you might have given up once your teeth became decayed or infected.
You will also be able to speak clearly. You’ll never have to worry about whistling or clicking sounds that come from dentures, and your dentures won’t come flying out of your mouth when you laugh or sneeze the way they might have in the past.
#2 Retain Bones for a Youthful Appearance
Our bodies are very frugal when it comes to your bones. Bones are full of useful minerals, so if a bone doesn’t need to be there, the body will harvest those minerals, shrinking or softening the bone. This happens in your jawbone after you lose your teeth. The body will remove the bones whose only function was to support your teeth. This can cause the lower portion of your face to collapse, leading to an aged appearance.
Dentures don’t stop this process. Dentures rest on your gums and put pressure on the gums. In fact, unbalanced forces from dentures can make your body remove bone more quickly to eliminate pinch points between your denture and your bone. Dental implants transmit force into the bone. The body reads this force as a reason to keep the bone and strengthen it. This helps you retain your jawbone, reducing the risk of fractures and helping you retain your youthful appearance.
#3 Keep a Healthy, Balanced Bite
When you have dentures, you have to learn to chew differently. If you have a partial denture, it doesn’t bear the same level of chewing force that your natural teeth can. If you try to chew on it the same way, you will likely dislodge the denture, damage it, and/or hurt your gums, cheeks, and tongue. Many people take out a partial denture for eating. Others just avoid chewing on it.
Either way, you end up chewing using your remaining natural teeth. This is an adaptation that can quickly become painful for your jaw muscles. Worse, it can develop into bite dysfunctions like temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ/TMD). That can cause jaw pain, headaches, neck pain, and more problems that might require the help of an Anchorage TMJ dentist to address.
If you have a full denture, you also have to learn to chew differently. This isn’t as unbalanced an approach to chewing, but it can still cause some people to experience muscle pain and other problems as they adapt to the new chewing style.
With dental implants, you can chew normally.
#4 Get Rid of Denture Pain
Dentures are a bad solution to the serious problem of lost teeth. The problem is that dentures put pressure on your gums, which are too soft to bear the pressure. Although gums toughen up to some extent, they will never be as good a platform for teeth as your jawbone is. Instead, you’re likely to experience pain in your gums, especially if your dentures are poorly fitted.
Dental implants direct the force of biting and chewing into the jawbone, not the gums. This can reduce denture pain. An Anchorage implant dentist can give you a denture that’s fully supported by implants. One example is the All-on-4 implant system, which puts no pressure on your gums, so it can eliminate denture pain completely.
#5 Never Reline Dentures
Denture relines are a necessary evil when you wear traditional dentures. As your jawbone shrinks (see above), the fit of your dentures will change. A denture reline fits your old dentures to the new shape of your jawbone.
Implant-supported dentures don’t need relines because they fit to your dental implants, not to your jawbone. Since implants retain jawbone, there’s generally no need to change the fit of your denture. While you might need to visit an Anchorage denture dentist every few months for a reline, a quality implant denture might just need an adjustment or repair once a decade or so.
#6 Never Rely on Denture Adhesive
Denture adhesive is an unpleasant accessory for most denture wearers. It tastes bad, feels gross, is hard to clean off, and barely works to hold dentures in place. Plus, if you use too much, it can be toxic. The main function of denture adhesive is not to actually “glue” your dentures in place. Instead, the denture adhesive helps to maintain a seal between the denture and your gums to improve suction, which is the actual force that holds dentures in place.
Dental implants anchor in your bones, so they never need denture adhesive to hold them in place. This makes your replacement teeth easier to deal with, and more pleasant.
Upgrade to Implants in Anchorage
Are you intrigued by the potential benefits of upgrading from dentures to dental implants? Let the Anchorage implant dentists at Excellence in Dentistry help. We can assess the current state of your jawbone to see if you’re a good candidate for dental implants and help you understand what the procedure will be like for you.
If you want more information about dental implant costs in Anchorage or cosmetic dental financing, call (907) 349-0022 or use our online form to request an appointment at Excellence in Dentistry.