Chances are that either you or someone you know has a dental implant. That is to be expected because implants are, more and more frequently, becoming the treatment of choice for a variety of dental issues. There are two main reasons that people undergo dental implant therapy: to replace single teeth, and to increase denture stability. These two treatments have, over the years, not only changed how we practice dentistry, but have also brought about an equally profound change in the lives of patients around the world.
Let me explain. But first, let me put out a disclaimer that I truly enjoy this subject, and I could go on about it for a long time. Really, it is that cool. Therefore, in order to keep this article down to a publishable size, I will just focus on implant dentures. In two weeks, I will do a follow-up article all about single-tooth replacement. I know- the anticipation is killing you. Be patient.
So…implant dentures. What is the big deal? Well, if you have ever had a lower denture, you probably do not need to ask that question. That is because wearing dentures- especially lower dentures- can be an extremely frustrating experience. Sometimes it seems that they just do not get along well with our mouths, and we find ourselves fighting a losing battle trying to get them to just stay in place. Then, just when things seem to get settled, our body changes and we go through the same frustrating experience all over again. Does this sound familiar? If so, take solace in knowing that you are not the only one. And know that there is an answer.
There is a very simple reason for why dentures do not fit well over time. Basically, the bone under your gums was meant to support teeth- not dentures. When teeth are not there, the bone goes away- often leading to ill-fitting dentures. Sometimes there comes a point when there simply is not enough bone to support a denture. As simple as that explanation sounds, it took dentists all the way until the mid 60s to predictably find a way to fix the problem. The solution? Dental implants.
A few implants placed in the gums send signals to the bone telling it that it needs to stay in place. These same implants also anchor the denture in place while it is in your mouth. What does this mean? Well, for starters it translates to a 60-200 percent increase in chewing efficiency. Another great advantage is that the denture sits solidly in your mouth and does not move around. It can also mean no more clicking when you talk, no more embarrassing moments when you cough or sneeze, no more mishaps at the dinner table, and no more fighting with adhesive creams and powders on a daily basis. Is it enough to be life changing? That, of course, depends on the patient, but it could be. I have seen it.