Dental implants offer a far superior tooth replacement option when compared to traditional dentures or bridges. Dentures often slip and move around, which is uncomfortable, reduces chewing power, and increases bone loss. Dental implants, on the other hand, provide patients with a secure foundation to maintain removable dentures or to secure permanent dentures or crowns.
Unlike implants, dentures can cause gum irritation and accelerate deterioration of the jawbone. A traditional bridge requires healthy teeth to be filed, causing permanent damage.
Dental implants are positioned in the jaw like a natural tooth root, stimulating the jaw bone and preventing deterioration. Implants are also precisely placed, which keeps the adjacent teeth safe from damage.
Caring for dental implants is very similar to caring for natural teeth. However, dental implants, like any form of dental restoration, require care and attention to achieve long-lasting results. While traditional dentures typically last 5 to 7 years and conventional bridges last 7 to 10 years, implants can last a lifetime with proper dental care.
Dental implant patients must understand the type of dental implant used in their restoration process and follow aftercare instructions closely to receive the maximum return on their investment. The good news? It’s really quite easy to take care of implants!
The Two Types of Dental Implants
Dental implants adhere directly to the jawbone and look and function like a natural tooth. Implants are permanently integrated titanium anchors set into the jawbone to provide a solid base for customized crowns, bridgework, or dentures, which are attached to the implants. Titanium is biocompatible, light, and strong.
Dental implants do not slide or slip while the patient is talking or eating. Implants that an experienced, specially-trained dentist places are typically very successful. Dental implants usually fall into two categories: permanent implants and implant-supported dentures.
All implants are permanently placed into the jawbone. Crowns, dentures, and bridges may be permanently affixed to the implants and are not removable. Permanent implants offer the best solution for patients with seriously damaged, decaying, or missing teeth.
Implant-Supported Dentures or Bridges
The natural teeth support traditional bridges. Standard dentures require adhesive to stay in place. Implant-supported dentures are similar to conventional dentures, but the restoration is supported by implants placed in the jaw. Implant-supported dentures or bridges are removable but do not come loose and do not require adhesives.
Caring for Permanent Implants
Brushing Permanent Implants
Brushing permanent dental implants is much like brushing natural teeth, and a soft-bristle toothbrush with non-abrasive toothpaste is recommended. Patients should brush at least twice a day, preferably after each meal. The dentist may also recommend a specific type of toothpaste based on the patient’s unique needs, like gum inflammation or early gingivitis.
Flossing Permanent Implants
Flossing is a primary self-care task that patients should perform daily. Permanent implants may require a slightly different flossing approach, and the implant dentist will explain the recommended technique during an in-person consultation.
Implants rely on healthy, strong bones, and it is essential to provide the body with enough nutrients and vitamins to promote a healthy body. It is vital to minimize acidic beverages, sugary foods and beverages, and simple carbs. A diet rich in green vegetables, healthy natural fruits, and essential proteins is necessary for healthy teeth and implant care.
Caring for Implant-Supported False Teeth
Examine the Denture or Bridge
Implant care involves an examination of the dentures or bridges, often. Implant-supported devices utilize different series of attachment devices such as, abutments, clips, locator caps, and O-rings to secure the implant-supported dentures or bridge. Examine these devices daily for cracks or damage. Patients should contact their implant dentist immediately if they notice an issue.
Brushing Implant-Supported Teeth
Patients should brush their teeth twice daily, and it is essential to brush the underside of the implant-supported restoration. A denture brush is a good option.
Soaking Implant-Supported Dentures or Bridges
Dentists recommend that the products used to clean implant-supported dentures and bridges are approved by them directly before use. The type of dental restorations are not removable by patient therefore any foreign products used can cause more damage than good. Most traditional dentures are soaked nightly, but some dentures may have different instructions for overnight care depending on the type of denture. Soaking dentures helps the devices retain their shape so that they consistently fit.
Maintaining Implant-Supported Teeth
Implant-supported dentures and bridges provide solid and beautiful teeth. However, the hardware under the appliance may require replacement to maintain the shape of the tooth. The implant dentist will provide more information on the maintenance of implant-supported dentures and bridges based on the type of dentures used.
Rinse Implant-Supported Teeth
The final step of daily care is rinsing the restoration before placing it back into position over the implants.
Advantages of Dental Implants
Dental implants are considered the best form of tooth restoration because they require minimal care and offer multiple benefits. As patients think of different options for tooth restoration, it’s important to remember the many advantages provided by dental implants. Dental implants look and feel like natural teeth and are used to replace single or multiple missing teeth using state-of-the-art replacement technology.
Dental implant patients experience complete chewing power restoration. Most patients report no difference when chewing using their natural teeth versus their dental implants. Patients can eat, floss, and brush normally after having a permanent implant or implant-supported dentures.
Dental implants made with titanium are non-toxic and offer a powerful replacement tooth that can last a lifetime with proper daily care. Patients who were formerly told that dental implants were not an option may now benefit from modern innovations, such as bone restoration.
When patients postpone tooth replacement, the jaw bone begins to deteriorate in the space due to lack of stimulation. Bone loss of up to 25% is experienced during the first year and continues over the following years. While traditional dentures can accelerate bone loss because they rub against the bone, dental implants stimulate natural bone growth by replacing the root and the tooth.
Dental implants also help prevent facial sagging and can reduce signs of premature aging due to missing teeth. The lower third of the face is an integral part of cosmetic beauty, and missing teeth can allow the area between the nose and chin to close, creating excess wrinkles, thinning lips, and a more pointed chin. Implants permanently transform this area and help decrease the signs of aging experienced by missing teeth or traditional dentures.
Are Dental Implants a Good Option for You?
Dental implants are the number one choice for most patients and are recommended for many individuals, including patients with problem teeth, gum disease, or bone loss. Patients with missing, broken, or decayed teeth may choose dental implants to secure dentures, a partial denture, or a bridge.
The dentist examines each patient and reviews their medical records to determine their candidacy. Patients with insufficient bone, specific health conditions, or habits like smoking may have been denied dental implants in the past. Still, advances in bone reconstruction now provide most patients with the option to receive implants.
Implant replacement is usually deferred in children until bone growth is complete, but a dental implant may be included, in some cases, in an orthodontic treatment plan. Dental implants may be used along with removable dentures, fixed implant dentures, single cosmetic tooth replacement, multiple teeth replacement, removable bridge replacement, and full-mouth restoration.
Implant Care Vs. Denture Care
Implant care is significantly easier than denture care. Permanent implants do not require special care because they are cared for just as natural teeth are. Implant-supported dentures and bridges require additional care, but this care is significantly easier than caring for conventional dentures or conventional bridges.
Patients considering implants versus dentures should consider the following:
- It is difficult for dentures to clasp onto the gums properly, and as a result, their chewing capability is often reduced as time goes on. Many patients have to limit their diets because they cannot enjoy certain foods that require substantial chewing with their dentures. Dentures typically require adhesive, which is reapplied after each meal. Implant-supported dentures and bridges do not require adhesive.
- Dentures are removed daily for cleaning and the application of adhesive. Permanent implant dentures are not removed for cleaning, and although implant-supported restorations require daily removal, the care is similar to that of natural teeth.
- Dentures cover the roof of the mouth. But, the top of the mouth remains open with implants, which is essential for the sense of taste and everyday activities. Implant-supported dentures also offer an open roof.
- Dentures can slip noticeably in front of others while the patient is chewing or speaking. Implants and implants supported dentures or bridges are securely anchored and do not slip or move while the patient is chewing or speaking.
- Traditional dentures may make a clicking sound while the patient is eating. Implants do not create any sound.
- Dentures reduce the patient’s chewing power, and many foods can be challenging to chew. Dental implants and implant-supported bridges and dentures provide substantial chewing ability, and patients can enjoy eating the foods they love.
- Dentures do not provide the stimulation needed to prevent bone loss, and as a result, patients can experience signs of aging and collapse as their jawline reduces. Implants encourage stimulation of the jaw bone and prevent bone loss. Dentures play a role in progressive aging by creating sagging skin, thinning lips, jowls, and a sunken appearance.
Learn More About Dental Implants
If you’re considering your tooth restoration options, reach out to us with your questions about dental implants. At Uptown Cosmetic and Implant Dentistry in Houston, TX, we specialize in natural-looking, functional tooth restoration. Call 713-960-9623 to make an appointment.