Five ways dental implants can help increase comfort
Dental implants are fixed and secure
If you are missing one or more teeth, you might choose partial or complete dentures to replace them. Conventional dentures rest on the gums and hook around remaining teeth. Suction, adhesive and the muscles in your tongue and cheeks play a part in holding your dentures in place. When the mouth and gums become tired, dentures can rock and move. This makes them uncomfortable to wear. The bone beneath a denture plate can shrink (resorb) because it is not being stimulated and chewing pressure transferred from the plate on to the gums can reduce blood supply. If your jawbone has shrunk significantly, the denture may become loose and adhesive may be the only way to help retain it. Irritation of the gum tissue may add to the discomfort.
If you currently wear loose-fitting dentures, they can be replaced with implant-supported teeth. The options include dentures retained or supported by implants, a full arch bridge or individual implants. The replacement teeth are connected to tiny titanium posts which act like the root of the tooth. The posts, which have a thread pattern and a tapered shape, fuse with the jawbone with no need for clasps or messy adhesives. Dental implants stimulate bone growth and help prevent the deterioration of your jaw, keeping your teeth stable and comfortable.
Teeth implants help restore full chewing power
You can lose the ability to bite and chew certain foods if you have failing or missing teeth. Depending on where the gaps are in your mouth, consuming meat may be a problem because it involves a lot of chewing with the back teeth. Biting into an apple may be painful or not possible, if you have failing or missing teeth at the front. You may find you do not chew well enough and what is swallowed is difficult to digest.
Joe, a 56-year-old product manager, went to see Dr Sarab Oberai of the Ashford Village Dental Practice after losing seven teeth in his upper jaw. Dr Oberai advised Joe to consider having a total of five teeth implants. Treatment would involve four implants placed at the back of his mouth, two each side to support two three-unit bridges. The fifth implant would replace his central incisor. Joe is glad he had dental implant treatment. The implants have restored his ability to eat what he wants. He comments, “I ate peanuts for the first time in years recently. I can eat normally. I’m not afraid of biting into an apple . Implants have given me confidence.”
Dental implants protect your healthy teeth
If you have a gap from a missing tooth, adjacent teeth may begin to move or drift into the space. Tooth movement can negatively affect your bite – a condition called malocclusion. Teeth out of their normal position can also be harder to clean and, therefore, more at risk from decay and gum disease. Tooth implants can prevent your remaining teeth from shifting into an empty space left by a missing tooth. Implants offer support by filling the gaps, providing a solid structure and reducing the load on remaining teeth.
If you opt for a conventional fixed bridge to replace missing teeth, it will require an anchor to secure it. This involves the shaving down of teeth on one or both sides of the gap to prepare them for the supporting crowns. Preparation will remove a considerable amount of tooth structure and results in the healthy teeth being damaged. These teeth can then become more susceptible to decay. A bridge may also put more force on the adjacent teeth. Dental implants are usually placed in the spot where you lost your original tooth and don’t impact on existing teeth.
Tooth implants feel and function like natural teeth
If you wear a removable denture, you probably have to choose what you eat with care. Foods such as nuts, berries and seeds are best avoided. Small bits can get under the plate, making dentures painful and unstable. Sticky foods, like peanut butter, chewy meat, hard fruit and vegetables such as apples, carrots and corn-on-the-cob can also be a problem. Denture wearers have to avoid biting at the front of their mouth, as this can cause the dentures to become unstable. Wobbly dentures can make the gum line sore as they move around. Implant-supported restorations don’t shift and slip. They can help you regain the ability to eat your favourite foods with comfort and without a second thought. Dental implants are fixed in place and fuse naturally with your jaw, so you can bite, chew and eat with as much confidence as having natural teeth.
David, a patient of Dr Alan Carter, Dentistry No.3, Dunfermline, disliked having to wear a partial denture after losing two teeth at the front. Food would become trapped behind the denture plate. David had two linked teeth fitted to two implants and has no regrets about having had the treatment. He concludes, “Implants have helped me to eat, bite and chew without hesitation. Previously the plate would have moved. I don’t think twice about eating anything and putting pressure on the implants.”
The fitting of dental implants is easier than you think
Many patients are surprised at how straightforward dental implant placement can be and how they experience very little discomfort during treatment. Technological advances and detailed preparation means that implant placement is a relatively minor surgical procedure. Patients have reported that having dental implants placed can be far less inconvenient than having a tooth removed or root canal treatment. Dental implant treatment is usually carried out under local anaesthetic. Patients are normally awake throughout the procedure. If you are a nervous patient, your dentist might offer sedation to relax you. This helps you to be in a deep, but conscious, state of relaxation. The procedure is generally easier and more comfortable than most people imagine. It is one event in a very well planned, organised process.
Want to find out more about teeth implants? Ask your local implant dentist a question.