A distinct disadvantage of dentures is that the devices lose their fit over time as the shape of the jaw changes following tooth loss. Unfortunately, an ill-fitting appliance can cause sore gums as well, making denture wear a very uncomfortable experience.
Dental implants can help patients overcome this problem. When a denture is supported by dental implants, the shape of the jaw remains more consistent over time, reducing the likelihood of gum pain.
Dental implants have this quality because the devices act like artificial tooth roots and help to stabilize the jaw. Therefore, it is less prone to atrophy, as is the case when the root structures are not replaced after tooth loss.
Patients may opt for implant-supported dentures initially for tooth loss, but even patients who have been wearing conventional dentures for many years can still qualify for implants with a procedure known as All-on-4.
With this technique, the oral surgeon places four dental implants toward the front of the jaw, where the bone is slower to atrophy following tooth loss. The denture is then designed to slip into place over the implants. The outer two implants are angled underneath the jaw so that they can support the weight of the denture’s entire rear portion.
This treatment timeline is quite brief. The patient receives all four dental implants in a single outpatient appointment and is fitted with at least a temporary appliance at the end of that session. Some patients may need to return to the office after implant osseointegration is complete in order to receive the permanent appliance.
In addition to reducing potential discomfort, All-on-4 patients are able to benefit from more security and stability of their appliances. Implant-supported dentures also are more effective at processing food, so these patients may not need to eliminate so many foods from their diet.
If you are interested in reducing or avoiding gum discomfort due to denture wear, contact the office of Steven Koos DDS, MD at 312-328-9000 to schedule an All-on-4 consultation. Learn if this procedure can meet your needs.