17 March 2023
In the past, people who were missing all or most of their teeth would often wear dentures to achieve a full smile. With modern advancements in oral surgery, however, there are new ways to replace missing teeth, such as dental implants and bridges.
Dental implants are now considered to be a more preferable, effective way to restore your smile. A common concern for patients seeking implants is whether denture use will impact their ability to have the procedure.
There are several factors to consider when it comes to how dentures affect dental implant treatment.
Before you can understand how dentures might affect dental implants, it is important to know exactly how dentures work.
A denture is a removable dental piece that can replace missing teeth and gums. There are complete dentures, which are for patients with total tooth loss, and partial dentures for patients who are only missing a portion of their teeth.
Dentures were once made of materials like porcelain or plastic, but most dentures are now often made with hard resin. The supporting structure of the dentures, which resembles a natural gum line, is made of the same material or sometimes a flexible polymer.
Since these materials are not known for their durability, dentures can be prone to cracking or chipping if not well cared for. With relatively poor longevity, most patients have to replace their dentures about every five years.
Dental implants are dental restoration pieces that are fixed in place. Dental implants replace either one or more missing teeth. Each dental implant is fused to the surrounding structures with a post that integrates into the jawbone over time.
Dental implants can be placed as individual units or entire sets of teeth. These are called All-on-4® implants, which are a complete set of teeth that are fused to the jawbone with as few as 4 implants for each arch.
Unlike dentures, most dental implants are made entirely of titanium. This makes them highly durable and unlikely to chip, crack, or break. Since they are made of stronger material than dentures, dental implants can last as long as 25 years or more.
Your restorations — the crowns attached to the implants — will also be custom-made to match the size, shape, and shade of your existing teeth.
Do Dentures Impact Your Ability to Have Implants?
Patients who have been wearing dentures often find that they want to transition to dental implants. They may be concerned that having worn dentures could impact their ability to have implants placed.
As it turns out, dental implants can be placed after wearing dentures and while still wearing partial dentures.
Patients who have been wearing complete dentures for a long time may have significant jawbone deterioration that has altered their bite and facial appearance. These patients require bone grafting before having their dental implants placed. Otherwise, placing dental implants in patients with dentures can be a relatively simple process.
Sometimes, dental implants are actually used as support structures for partial dentures. In these cases, implants are placed adjacent to where the partial sits. This can help secure the partial denture in place for a more complete smile without loose, shifting teeth.
Signs You May Need Dental Implants
Whether you have been wearing dentures for several months or many years, you may benefit from dental implants as a replacement or additional structure. Some signs that your dentures are not providing the complete smile support you need can include:
- Loose full or partial dentures
- Discomfort when wearing your dentures
- Difficulty chewing or speaking
- Ill-fitting dentures
- Cracked, chipped, or broken dentures
- Gum inflammation from wearing dentures
The only way to know if you can have dental implants placed after denture use is by consulting with an oral surgeon. An oral surgeon can assess your existing teeth, jawbone, and gums to determine whether you can have dental implant surgery.
How Are Dental Implants Placed?
Dental implants on their own are a straightforward procedure. First, a titanium post is used to fuse the implant to the surrounding bone and other tissues. When you have been wearing dentures, the process can be more complex.
If you have jawbone deterioration from your denture use or from previous periodontal disease, you will likely require bone grafting.
During a bone grafting treatment, bone matter is placed beneath the gum line wherever deterioration is present. This bone matter provides additional support for your implants and stimulates new bone growth in the jaw.
Some patients have dental implants placed alongside a partial denture. This is called an “implant-assisted partial denture.”
In this process, a titanium stud is used to fuse dental implants on each side of the partial denture. The partial denture then uses these implants for added support. The implants will keep the partial denture from wiggling or becoming loose. They can also help strengthen your bite when wearing the partial denture.
The Benefits of Dental Implants over Dentures
Are you interested in replacing a full set of dentures with dental implants? The All-on-4® treatment concept presents a variety of benefits over a complete denture. The following are just some of the benefits of having dental implants instead of dentures:
- Stronger bite
- More durability
- Increased longevity
- More natural-looking teeth
- Improved facial structure
- Custom-made to match existing teeth
- No need for adhesive
Many patients find the biggest benefit of having dental implants over dentures to be their permanency. When you have dental implant surgery, your implants can last for decades. Dentures, on the other hand, usually need to be replaced every five years, even if they are well-maintained.
Where to Get Dental Implant Treatment
Have you been considering dental implants after wearing a complete or partial denture? To begin your implant journey, you can schedule a consultation with Dr. Joshua S. Brandner at The Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Center of South Louisiana.
Dr. Brandner brings years of experience to every treatment, helping patients restore their full and healthy smiles while making them feel like family. The OMS Center works with patients throughout Covington, LA, and surrounding cities. Find out more about dental implant surgery by visiting us online or reading our patient reviews today.