Dentures were once the only solution to the problem of missing teeth. Invented as early as 700 BC, dentures did allow a person who was edentulous (had no teeth) to eat.
However dentures have a number of significant disadvantages. Today, you have a much more modern and satisfactory solution – the All on 4 Dental Implant.
Dentures – sometimes called plates – are made of a hard plastic form to which prosthetic teeth are attached. The teeth may be made of porcelain or resin composite, which is a different material than the denture itself. Each piece is made to cover and fit over the upper and lower jawbone. They are removable and are typically taken out at night and for cleaning. They must be placed in a special soaking solution overnight to keep bacteria from growing. Dentures are often held in place with an adhesive material.
Denture wearers report a number of disadvantages. If the plates are not perfectly fitted, they may slip, causing sore spots on the gums or at the corners of the mouth. It is not unusual for dentures to cause speech problems, introducing clicking, whistling or smacking sounds into your speech. Although the adhesive material holds them in place for normal eating and speech, many denture wearers cannot eat certain foods, like corn on the cob, or bite into an apple. The dentures must usually be replaced every five to seven years. If dropped, the plates can break.
From a health perspective, dentures can result in a number of problems. The surface of the denture has many small pores, which can trap food particles and bacteria. This may result in bad breath or promote gum disease. Preventing this problem requires thorough cleaning at least twice a day. The bone under the gum requires the stimulation and pressure of chewing, which is provided by healthy teeth. Dentures don't stimulate the bone. Eventually, this can lead to deterioration and shrinkage, which makes the dentures fit poorly and can make you look older.
The All on 4 Dental Implant is a unique new system that allows people to have the appearance of healthy, natural teeth while solving the problems inherent in dentures. Dental implants, as the name implies, are literally implanted into the bone of the jaw. The implant is made of titanium, a metal that will bond strongly to the bone as it heals. If necessary, any problems with receding gums can also be corrected at the time of surgery. Prosthetic teeth made of porcelain or resin composite are then attached to the implant.
At one time, a full mouth replacement required multiple implants, as no more than two or three teeth could be attached to the metal implant. With the All on 4 Dental Implant, only four posts are required for either the upper or the lower jaw. The other advantage of the All on 4 system is that the implants can be placed at a slight slant – conventional implants must be placed straight into the bone. This allows the implant to have the maximum bone contact and makes the implant much stronger than the conventional system.
Having dental implants placed is a minor surgical procedure that takes place in the office of a dentist or periodontist. Local anesthetic and intravenous sedation are used to prevent discomfort, and although you must have a driver to take you home, you can otherwise resume your normal activities within a day or so. It takes about three months for the implants to fuse to the bone and for healing to occur. During that period, you will have temporary prosthetic teeth. You'll eat a soft diet for the first six to eight weeks to prevent the implants from being dislodged. After the bone is healed, you'll go back to have your permanent prosthetic teeth attached.
Taking care of dental implants is much easier than caring for dentures. Once you have your All on 4 Dental Implants in place, it's pretty much like having your own teeth back. You'll need to brush twice a day and floss daily, just as you would with natural teeth. See your dentist for regular preventive care and go in for periodic teeth cleaning. Your dentist may suggest some specific products or strategies to care for your new implants. There are no dietary restrictions (even corn on the cob is OK).
Unlike dentures, which require regular replacement, dental implants are permanent. Properly placed and cared for, dental implants will often last a lifetime. If a prosthetic tooth wears or cracks, it can be easily replaced. Dental implants provide the same bone stimulation as natural teeth, so the bone in the jaw remains healthy. They also provide the necessary support for facial structures so the lower half of the face doesn't sag, and they won't shift with eating or negatively affect your speech.
Talk, whistle, sing, kiss someone; improve your smile and your oral health, eat the foods you love and look younger. What's not to like? See your dentist today so you can toss those dentures and move up to the All on 4 Dental Implant.