Denture wearers most often have problems with looseness of the fit. In the vast majority of cases this is because, while dentures do not change dimensions, bone and gum do. This soft and hard tissue shrinkage is further accelerated by the forces of mastication and bruxism (common habit of grinding and clenching the teeth). Over time, the gap between the denture and the underlying gum and bone increases. Some patients have the ability to adapt to this looseness, sometimes with the help of denture adhesives. Others develop “denture sores” that persist and simply limit their diet to soft, nutritionally deficient foods. Poor nutrition can lead to a cascade of common health problems, such as obesity, high blood sugar and diabetes, osteoporosis and cardiovascular disorders. Emotional and self-esteem issues are often the result. On the other hand it is amazing how new; well-fitting dentures can elevate the mood and sense of well-being in the patient who had been suffering with ill-fitting dentures.
Recent advances in implantology have allowed denture patients to have existing, functional dentures to be attached to “one-stage, immediate loading implants” in one visit. The best news is that these “mini-permanent implants” are substantially less costly than conventional two-stage implants.
Through a procedure, called “minimally invasive micro-surgery,” your dentist can place an implant that measures 1.8 mm (less than one tenth of an inch) in diameter and one-half inch in length at appropriate locations in the jaw. No incision or stitching is needed. Generally four implants are required for the lower denture and six for the upper denture. Discomfort is minimal and patients generally can eat immediately afterwards.
Where the current dentures are serviceable, there is no need to make new dentures. If necessary it is possible to “reline” the denture when the implants are being done.
There is also welcome news for gaggers or anyone who prefers not to have anything covering the roof of the mouth. With upper implants holding the denture in place, the roof of the denture is no longer necessary, and can be removed.
Discuss your denture needs with your dentist and see whether you are a good candidate for mini-implants. You will be pleasantly surprised at how easy this can be done.
If you would like more information about dental implants, call Dr. Chao in Alhambra, CA at (626) 308-9104 or visit www.alhambradental.com.
Dr. Chao proudly serves Alhambra and all surrounding areas.