By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert
While traditional dentures are an effective solution for some patients, they also can come with a few downsides. Because the bony support that holds the dentures in the mouth changes over time, traditional dentures tend to move while patients eat or talk.
Luckily, when it comes to choosing dentures, our patients have more options than ever. Patients who are looking for a stronger, more tooth-like restoration solution may consider either Implant supported dentures or the All-on-4 technique.
While both of these options rely on dental implants to support the denture, these solutions have key differences as well. Below, we’ve compared each to help you decide which treatment option is right for you.
Implant Supported Dentures
What are they?
Implant supported dentures are a more stable, modern version of regular dentures. Just like traditional dentures, implant supported dentures can replace a full set of upper or lower teeth. Unlike traditional dentures, however, the dentures have much better anchorage as the implants are stabilized into the jaw bone. Usually, the denture is attached to 4-6 implants that act like tooth roots and help them stay in place.
Dental implants are artificial tooth roots, often made of titanium, that are surgically implanted into the jaw after a tooth has been removed. During the healing process, the implant will fuse with the jawbone, creating a permanent replacement for the missing tooth. Implants keep bone intact, therefore preventing the bone loss that’s common with traditional dentures.
The Implant supported dentures snap onto the implants, which hold them securely throughout the day. This significantly decreases denture movement, and gives them a greater biting force than traditional dentures, putting crunchy foods like apples and granola back on the table for patients with these dentures.
Who Can Get Them?
The best candidates for Implant supported dentures are patients who’ve recently lost their teeth since these patients still have better bone density to support the dental implants. The longer a patient is without teeth, the more bone loss will occur and it is difficult for implants to integrate successfully.
Patients who have been wearing traditional dentures may still be able to switch to Implant supported dentures if they haven’t yet experienced major bone loss. These patients will need to discuss their options with Dr. Elizabeth Eggert or Dr. Jeff Eggert to see if their jawbone can still support this type of denture. Occasionally, it is possible to place bone grafts to improve the chance of a successful outcome.
What is it?
The All-on-4® technique is a revolutionary method that offers full-arch replacement on as few as four implants. The All-on-4 technique is similar to Implant supported dentures in that it uses implants to secure the prosthesis. However, this implant technique is designed to maximize the existing jawbone and stays fixed in the mouth, which helps to make everything look and work much more like natural teeth.
Who can get them?
The best candidates for the All-on-4 technique are patients who need a full arch dental replacement option and that want the prosthetic to look and function the most like their natural teeth.
What is the procedure like?
The All-on-4 technique requires digital pre-planning so the surgery can be completed virtually first. Because of this pre-planning, the surgery goes smoothly and most often a temporary version of the prosthetic is placed onto the implants on the same day as the surgery!
What is the recovery period?
The recovery period is the same as it would be for Implant supported dentures, with the initial post-surgery recovery including 72 hours of rest, and the full recovery period lasting anywhere from 6-12 months.
Have Questions About Dentures?
If you’re still unsure whether you’re a candidate for Implant supported dentures or the All-on-4 technique, call Eggert Family Dentistry and schedule an appointment to talk with Dr. Jeff or Dr. Elizabeth Eggert about your unique dental situation. We’ll be happy to walk you through all your options and help you choose the treatment that best suits your needs. Contact us today or call us at 651.482.8412 to schedule your next appointment. We look forward to helping you have a smile you can be proud of!