What to expect with full dentures and implant-retained dentures
Some patients have worn full dentures for many years. In this time, they may have worn down, are looking too short, or simply don’t work as well as they could.
Some patients require full or complete dentures because their remaining natural teeth have reached the end of their healthy and comfortable lives. They work as tooth replacements when patients are in the later stage of tooth decay and terminal periodontal disease.
The features of full dentures
Our full dentures are all designed and fabricated by the latest techniques of 3D printing in major dental laboratories, which aim to give our patients the most accurate and predictable results.
These people will require an immediate denture which is constructed before the last of the teeth are removed, and are inserted immediately after the teeth are removed, so there are no times of having no teeth. For many, these dentures may be their final dental solution, while others will decide they want dental implants to assist in stabilising either a removable overdenture or a full fixed denture.
What to expect with full dentures
There are various things patients should expect when they receive full conventional dentures, with several stages being involved in the process. These stages include:
- Initial consultation and planning appointment, including the desired colour, shape and position of your new denture teeth. Old photos showing your smile in earlier days are often useful.
- A full-mouth OPG X-Ray.
- If you have numerous teeth requiring removal, frequently you will be booked in to see our Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon (OMF Surgeon) for the final removal and new denture insertion under a general anaesthetic (GA)
- Initial impressions or digital scanning of your teeth.
- Frequently we will require a secondary set of impressions or scans.
- A recording of how your upper and lower teeth will meet.
- A 3D printed plastic denture is made and tried on.
- Your appointment for your GA for removal of your teeth and insertion of your new Immediate Dentures. This is a day-surgery procedure requiring a period of fasting for at least 6 hours and you will need to have someone drive you home and someone to supervise your home recovery. You will be advised to leave your new dentures in.
- The next working day, we will see you to ease the dentures out of your mouth and address the likely rubbing and sore spots which have appeared.
- You will be asked to contact us frequently during the first few months for adjustments and to limit the discomfort and inconvenience. These adjustments are at no cost to you except when we place temporary and permanent relines of your dentures.
- From the moment your natural teeth are removed, the gums will continue to change shape and shrink over time. This is a normal occurrence.
- The only way to halt that gum atrophy (shrinkage), is through placing implants in your jaws which help to preserve the jawbone and facial muscles.
- At 8 weeks after the removal of your teeth, you will need a provisional soft reline to take up the significant spaces left under your dentures by this gum atrophy.
- At 16 weeks, you will need the permanent relining of your dentures which should then continue serving you for about 2 years until again relining may be required.
- Some people will have planned to have implants placed within the first few months of having their new dentures fitted.
There are some dentists who will recommend a method called “all on four”, which is done by placing implants at the time of removing the last of your natural teeth and fixing your full denture to these implants.
Why do some practices offer “all on 4” treatment?
The all on four treatment option is frequently offered as a convenient solution for the patient, and it is marketed as a major benefit to the patient. Generally, it is claimed you will have immediate function just like healthy teeth. There are times when this may occur, but there are significantly greater risks for the patient. It is seen as a competitive marketing advantage by the stated benefits of immediate fixed teeth.
Unfortunately, this service is not offered at Future Dental. This is because if the natural teeth are extremely unhealthy, there will be areas of infection in the bone that can cause an implant to fail to integrate into the jaw bone. No OMF Surgeon would place an implant into an infected socket and not even into the mouth where there is still gum disease or infection in the jaws from badly degraded teeth.
Why all on 4 is not offered everywhere
When your entire fixed denture is placed on 4 implants into a jaw where implant failure is already higher because of broken-down teeth, the risk of just one implant failing is significantly higher. The result of losing one of the four implants means “all on four” can very quickly become “none on three”. This means starting all over and great inconvenience and additional cost duplication to you.
Having worked with our OMF Surgeon for decades who has placed far more implants than any dentist, we’ve determined it is not worth putting patients through the failure risks of using All on Four. Waiting for the gums to heal, and eliminating all sources of infection from the jaws before placing implants is a far safer, more predictable and more reliable practice, albeit a less convenient one.
Any full fixed implant-retained denture is a major expenditure and frequently equates to the cost of a new small to medium car. It is crucial that you have private health insurance if choosing this treatment path.
A second and very popular option is to make an implant supported denture known as an overdenture that clips onto just 2 implants in your lower jaw. This is frequently commenced at about 6-8 weeks after the teeth have been removed and for the same reasons of not placing them into the jaw where infected teeth are.
An overdenture, while still quite costly, is far less expensive than a full fixed denture on any number of implants and is a very good compromise where costs are a necessary consideration. Small abutments called locators are fixed to the 2 implants and a corresponding clip-on housing inside the denture attaches the denture to stabilise it. They tend to function far better than full lower dentures by the addition of just 2 implants. The clips that fasten the denture to the locators require replacement once or twice a year due to wear usually.
Can you use your original immediate denture to convert them to an overdenture?
Yes, frequently. In some cases, it may be advisable to make a new reinforced denture with a titanium or similar internal frame for people who are very strong at chewing and grinding.
The transition to dentures
We are very aware as to the difficult transition from your own teeth to wearing dentures or implant-retained dentures and are sure you will want to ask for a lot more details before you start this journey. We encourage you to list out all these concerns and ask us all these questions if you are contemplating these services, for which we have many decades of experience and expertise.
Dentures in Cairns
If you are looking at replacing your smile with a full set of dentures or an implant of some description, we recommend that you contact Future Dental. With over 45 years of experience in dentistry, they can provide the perfect denture solution for you, and provide you a comfortable oral health solution for the long term.
If you are interested in the denture options which are offered at Future Dental, look at our range.
Get in touch with Future Dental today and see the difference they can make for you.