Cosmetic dentistry is used to improve a flaw such as crooked or missing teeth or misalignment of the jaw. It is also used to enhance a person’s smile. This later reason is probably what you’re likely to equate with cosmetic dentistry. You’ve seen the rich and famous touting their enhanced pearly white smiles. Cosmetic dentistry is more than making, well cosmetic, alterations. Cosmetic dental procedures can provide the dental enhancements needed to better the lives of a patient. Cosmetic dentistry can help correct bites and teeth, allowing people to chew and provide additional support of teeth and gums allowing patients to keep their teeth and avoid gum disease.
An example of where cosmetic dentistry is used for restoring the health and stability of a person’s mouth is cosmetic denture implants. Most people don’t consider dentures as a cosmetic procedure nor do they associate denture wearers as candidates for cosmetic dental procedures. Advances in cosmetic dentistry has allowed for more opportunities to use it to better patient’s dental treatment.
What Are Denture Implants?
Dentures are toothlike overdentures placed over the gums where there are no teeth. There are partial dentures are dentures placed only on one jaw (upper or lower). Full dentures are those that are placed on both the upper and lower jaws. While many associate dentures with advanced age, significant tooth loss can occur at any age. Dentures have evolved from their early days. Dentures today are more natural-looking, fit better and are more comfortable. Even with modern technology that makes today’s dentures a lot more secure and stable, there is still risks of them getting lose and becoming detached.
This is where cosmetic dentistry comes in.
Implants are titanium posts inserted into a patient’s jaw. They are accompanied by a tooth-like crown that is inserted on top of the implant. Most implant recipients have the procedure done when they are missing one or a few teeth. When multiple teeth are missing, bridges are inserted onto the implants rather than a single crown.
Dentures are required when a substantial number of teeth are missing.
Denture implants combine the use of dental implants and dentures. Dentures are inserted onto the tops of implants. These denture implants provide the wearer with substantial stability, more so than that of the dentures by themselves.
Candidates for denture implants need to have enough bone structure in the gums for the implants. Most denture implants are inserted onto the lower jaw as it is the lower jaw where traditional dentures have the least stability and adherence.
Though dentures are attached to implants, they are removable for cleaning. Unlike traditional crowns and bridges that don’t come detached from the implants, the dentures have fittings that snap them on and off the implants.
The Denture Implant Procedure
There are two types of denture implants: ball-retained and bar-retained.
Ball-Retained Denture Implants
Ball-retained dentures or stud-attachment dentures involve implants that have a ball-shaped fitting on the end which fits into the socket on the dentures.
Bar-Retained Denture Implants
Bar-retained dentures involve a thin metal bar that goes along the curve of your jaw. Implants are inserted to anchor the wire in place. Detachable clips attach the dentures to the wire. The dentures fit over the bar that they are fastened to.
The Implant Process
The implants usually are placed in the jawbone at the front of your mouth because there tends to be more bone in the front of the jaw than in the back. This usually is true even if teeth have been missing for some time. Once you lose teeth, you begin to lose bone in the area. Also, the front jaw doesn’t have many nerves or other structures that could interfere with the placement of implants.
The time frame to complete the implant depends on many factors. The shortest time frame is about five months in the lower jaw and seven months in the upper jaw. This includes surgeries and the placement of the denture. However, the process can last a year or more, especially if you need bone grafting or other preliminary procedures.
There are two surgeries involved in getting denture implants inserted. The first surgery is when the titanium implants are inserted into the jaw bone. Three to six months later, the patient returns to have the dentures attached.
The dental implant procedure has a high success rate and greatly increases the smiles and confidence of the recipients.
If you think denture implants may be right for you, contact us today. We’d be happy to help you get the smile you’ve always wanted.