Why Dentures Are Better With Some Implanted Assistance

When a dental professional tells you that dental implants are superior to dentures, they're not misleading you. However, when you have multiple missing teeth, it's natural to lean towards dentures. They're less expensive than dental implants, and while implant surgery is a minor, perfectly straightforward procedure, it's still surgery. Yes, implants require more effort on your part, and even when dentures are edging ahead of implants as far as your own tooth replacement needs go, the benefits of implant-supported dentures should be explored.

The Same Outcome

You might wonder why dental implants are promoted over dentures. After all, both methods lead to the same outcome—the replacement of your missing teeth. But it's about more than the teeth themselves and your body's inevitable efficiency. 

Bone Loss

The portion of your jaw that holds your dental sockets changes when these sockets are empty. When a tooth is lost, the bone that anchored it undergoes some modifications. Since this portion of your jaw no longer supports a tooth (and no longer has to withstand the pressure the tooth was subjected to), this bone loses density, and its nutrients are redirected elsewhere in your body. This is certainly an efficient way to deal with a missing tooth and is inevitable once a tooth has been lost. The trouble is that the process is an ongoing one, and has some unfortunate side effects.

Facial Shrinkage

This loss of density literally shrinks the jaw. It's not exactly weakened, but this shrinkage will ultimately become obvious. There can be a loss of vertical dimension in the lower half of the face. This can prematurely age a person's appearance, and the only way to prevent this change is by replacing a tooth's anchor with an artificial substitute, essentially forcing your jaw to maintain its previous density. Dentures cannot achieve this, since they simply sit atop the gums, and have no interaction with the underlying bone.

Implant-Supported Dentures

While implants are the only way to prevent this bone resorption, you still might be unconvinced. Aren't implants intended for individual teeth? While this is true, implant-supported dentures halt bone resorption. The denture implant procedure involves a series of implants being placed in your upper or lower dental arch, with a dental bridge (the dentures) then attached to these implants. Typically, as little as four implants are all that are needed to support an entire dental arch worth of prosthetic teeth, with your jaw remaining perfectly robust.

Implant-supported dentures essentially occupy the middle ground between implants and dentures. They're infinitely stronger than traditional dentures while keeping your jawbone intact, and you won't need an individual implant for each tooth that's to be replaced. For more information regarding a dental implant procedure, contact a dentist.