Implant-supported dentures are a modern alternative to conventional dentures and can provide a number of significant advantages for those who choose to wear them. This type of denture is held in place by titanium screw-like posts which are inserted into the jawbone offering greatly improved stability, aesthetics, and comfort as well as preventing facial collapse due to the absorption of the jawbone following tooth loss.
Conventional dentures rely on suction between the base of the denture and the gum tissue, along with muscle control and correct positioning of the tongue. While the retention and stability of conventional dentures can be unpredictable, implant-supported dentures are extremely well retained giving the wearer a level of functionality that is close to that of a full set of naturally healthy teeth. This is partly due to the fact that titanium – of which the implants are made – has unique properties that prevent rejection by the body’s immune system and enables bone to fully integrate with it providing an immensely secure fixture for the denture to be attached. With implant-supported dentures, the wearer can experience approximately 75% of the chewing capability of natural teeth as compared to around 15% for regular dentures.
Sore spots can occur due to the movement of conventional dentures; this happens as the denture moves slightly and rubs against the gums or due to uneven pressure distribution when chewing food. Because implant dentures are securely retained, sore spots rarely occur and pressure points are prevented as bite forces are transmitted directly to the implants.
One of the main long-term problems which occur following tooth loss is a reduction in the amount of bone in the jaw. This happen because the bone which once held the tooth root is no longer being stimulated following tooth loss. The bone then absorbs (or resorbs) into the body resulting in an appearance of premature aging due to facial collapse which causes the sinking of the cheeks, excessive wrinkles and a protruding lower lip. Research has shown that approximately 50% of the bone which surrounded extracted teeth will disappear within 2 years of the teeth being removed. Although the appearance of this problem can be partly rectified by the fitting of replacement bulkier conventional dentures it is not the perfect solution.
By inserting dental implants soon after the teeth have been extracted, absorption of the jaw bone and facial collapse will be avoided. The implants act as healthy teeth and help to continue to stimulate the bone preventing the appearance of premature aging. Even if only 2 dental implants are used to support the denture they will have a significant effect in reducing facial collapse. If 4 or 6 implants are used the problem does not occur. It is possible for seniors who have been wearing conventional dentures for a number of years to switch to implant-retained dentures despite suffering from some degree of facial collapse. In such instances, a bone graft is often carried out to rebuild the jawbone prior to the implants being placed.
The only real disadvantage of locator implant supported dentures, when compared to conventional dentures, is the cost. What does a Locator Implant Supported Denture cost? An upper or lower locator implant supported denture will cost $2800-$3400 per denture plus the cost of the implants. This is compared to $3000 for a standard set of conventional dentures. Insurance plans rarely cover the complete cost of implant retained dentures but most policies will cover part of the cost of the denture itself and some may also cover the cost of the attachments which attached the dentures to the implants. A number of our patients apply for financing through Dentalcard iFinance which offers affordable payment options for implant denture patients. Please visit the Financing link at the top of the page for additional information.