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What You Need To Know About Switching From Dentures To Implants

Missing teeth can have several negative consequences, particularly on self-esteem and overall health. Most opt for dentures as an initial solution, but some will later notice that it’s no longer beneficial in the long run. If you’re looking for a better option, you might consider dental implants. 

Dentures or implants can help restore confidence in your smile and keep your mouth healthy. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Dentures are removable teeth replacements, whereas dental implants are a permanent option that has grown in popularity in recent years, especially as a suitable alternative to dentures. 

Whether you’re still exploring the idea or you’ve already considered it, here are a few things you need to know before switching from dentures to implants:

Learn if implants are a good option

Any person who follows good oral hygiene may be suitable for a dental implant. Hence, if you’re planning to switch from dentures to implants, you should generally have a healthy mouth, including sufficient bone density, so the implant will stay in place.

Individuals who smoke heavily or are diagnosed with chronic conditions, such as heart disease or diabetes, will require further assessment. If you intend on getting implants soon, consider talking to your dentist to determine if they’re right for you.

Dental implant evaluation

Setting an appointment with a dental professional for an evaluation involves reviewing your dental, medical, and prescription records. It also entails a comprehensive examination of your teeth, gums, and the area where dental implants are to be placed.

Generally, the assessment involves taking a three-dimensional (3-D) and cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) scan.

A CBCT scan is important for various reasons, including detecting any oral health issues, revealing the bone structure and any areas of low bone density, pinpointing suitable implant locations, as well as assisting in developing a treatment plan.

The need for bone grafting  

If you decide to switch from dentures to dental implants, you might need a bone graft first. Once a tooth is removed from the gums and jaw, the jawbone will start to shrink in size. In the long run, you’ll notice a change in the shape of your face, which could lengthen the process of getting dental implants.

If you lack enough bone for the implant to affix to, it might result in implant failure. Consult your dentist for an assessment, so you’ll know whether bone grafting is necessary, which involves adding new bone added to your existing bone. Generally, it might require four to six months of recovery for the new bone to fuse to the existing bone before you can proceed with a dental implant procedure. 

The process of acquiring dental implants

The first step in the placement of a dental implant is to create a treatment plan customised to your specific condition based on the results of a CBCT scan. Depending on your current oral condition, tooth extraction and bone grafting might be necessary.

The dentist will place the titanium root implant into the missing tooth’s bone socket. As your jawbone heals, it starts to grow around the implanted post, anchoring it securely in the jaw. The healing process can range from six to twelve weeks.

After the implant has fully fused to the jawbone, the dentist will attach a small connector post, or an abutment, to the post, securing the implant. The dentist creates a new tooth by making an impression of your teeth and creating a model of your bite. The colour of the tooth will blend in with your other natural teeth. The replacement tooth will feel, look, and function just like your natural teeth because the implant is secured within the jawbone.

The time frame to get dental implants will vary for every person. Remember that each person has specific requirements regarding the number of appointments, procedures, and healing time.

After the dental implant surgery

Once your dental implant is successfully in place, the healing process starts. As mentioned, the implant and jawbone will fuse over the next few months. Your oral surgeon will give you detailed post-operative instructions to promote healing.

Length of recovery and lifespan of dental implants

After receiving a dental implant, the recovery time is usually two to four months. Generally, the bone and implants fuse to form a solid foundation during the healing phase.

Dental implants typically last up to 20 years or longer. Compared to other tooth replacement options, such as dentures, implants have a longer lifespan. Although implants have a high success rate, some fail. Some contributing factors to implant failure include poor oral hygiene habits, smoking, uncontrolled diabetes, chronic gum inflammation, and low bone density.

Dental implant improvements  

Switching from dentures to dental implants improves dental health and quality of life. Dentures can slip out of place, but dental implants cannot. Aside from staying in place, other advantages of implants include a better eating experience since you can eat all your favorite foods, even those that are difficult to bite into or have small pieces.

Additionally, implants will ensure hassle-free maintenance since you can care for and clean them just like natural teeth.

Final thoughts  

Many individuals are suitable candidates to switch from dentures to dental implants. Even if bone grafting is part of the process, getting a dental implant may be a significant improvement in your current quality of life. Now that you know what to expect when switching from dentures to implants, it might be time to consider getting the procedure soon.

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