With the advancements in dental technology and treatment methods, patients faced with losing all of their teeth are no longer limited to traditional dentures. One of the main concerns for these patients is that they will have to go without teeth for an extended period of time. Several methods now exist to allow patients to go from having their teeth removed to having a functional, non-removable appliance in a short period of time. Several options for these cases exist and are being done here at Pottstown Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.
The situation that the patient initially presents with will determine the possibilities. And the initial planning stage for these patients is very important. The first appointments allow for coordination between the surgeon, general dentist and dental laboratory as well as to discuss the various options available. Three main options exist that vary in terms of speed, restoration and price. The three main options are:
- Implant supported overdenture- In this case the patient’s existing teeth are removed and 2-4 implants are placed at the same time. A denture is worn over the healing tissue and implants for several months. After the healing phase is completed the denture is either attached to the implants or a new denture is fabricated with attachments to the implants. These implants are used to prevent the denture from being easily dislodged, improving overall chewing and function and in some cases allows for a smaller, more easily tolerated denture.
- Fixed hybrid prosthesis- In these cases the patient’s existing teeth are removed and 4-6 implants are placed. The option then exists to attach a modified denture directly to the implants on the day of surgery. This is done through the coordinated efforts of the patient’s general dentist and the dental laboratory. The implants totally support the new teeth and are not removable by the patient. The patient is instructed to eat a soft food diet during the healing phase and the area will be monitored by the surgeon and general dentist. Once the healing is completed the teeth do not rest on the gum tissue and are fully functional.
- Traditional fixed bridge- Once again the teeth are removed and implants are placed the same day as above and an attached temporary prosthesis is inserted. Once full healing is completed as in option two a final restoration is fabricated utilizing traditional crown material and attachment system to the implants. The biggest difference here is that the teeth are made of stronger material that is more resistant to wear over the long term function.
Although traditional dentures are still an option, patients are becoming more and more aware of the advancements in dentistry and are achieving a highly satisfying result in a shorter amount of time. If you are interested in discussing any of these options a consultation with Pottstown Oral Surgery will help explain the intricacies of these procedures and help you on your way to a new smile.