02 Aug Switching from Dentures to Dental Implants: What You Need to Know
You’ve had your dentures long enough to know they’re not working for you. You were unsure about dental implants at first, but now you think they might be exactly what you need. Is it possible to switch from dentures to dental implants? How does it work?
Whether you’re just now exploring the idea or you’ve been giving it a lot of thought, here’s what you need to know.
People choose dentures over dental implants for a variety of reasons. They’re easier to get and use and usually require a lot less recovery time than a dental implant procedure. And, let’s be honest, the cost is much lower. That alone makes that extremely attractive to most patients.
But it doesn’t take long until you become annoyed by your dentures. They slip or require extra adhesive. Taking them out at the end of the day can hurt because your denture cream doesn’t want to let go. Cleaning them is a pain. You may have even noticed that the shape of your face is starting to change. No matter how great dentures sound, they have some definite problems.
Dental Implant Improvements
Switching from dentures to dental implants improves not only your dental health but also your quality of life.
- Dental implants don’t slip around in your mouth or feel like they’ll fall out at any second. No more clacking.
- Food won’t get trapped in implants the way they can with dentures. No more sore gums or raw spots.
- You’ll be able to eat all the foods you like, even foods that are difficult to bite into or that have little seeds.
- Dental implants are cared for and cleaned much like your natural teeth. No more fighting your denture adhesive, pulling your teeth out at the end of the night, or soaking them in a glass.
Dentures are definitely better than not having any teeth, but dental implants are the next step up. You’ll feel like you have your permanent teeth again.
One thing you need to know if you decide to make the switch from dentures to dental implants is that you may need a bone graft first. When your teeth are removed from your gums and jaw and aren’t replaced with anything, your jawbone begins to shrink in size. This can change the shape of your face, but also make getting dental implants a longer process.
If you don’t have enough bone for the implant to be attached to, you won’t have a positive implant procedure. Talk to your dentist so they can assess your situation and let you know whether bone grafting will be needed. This simply means that new bone is added to your existing bone. You’ll need about four to six months recovery time for the new bone to fuse to your existing bone before you can have your dental implant procedure.
Using Your Old Dentures
Patients often ask if their old dentures can be used with their new implants. In some rare cases this might be possible, but typically this won’t work. Most basic dentures aren’t constructed of good enough material to withstand what you can do when you have implants like chewing certain foods. Most patients will have a crown or bridge instead, although implant-supported dentures may also be an option.
If you’re considering using implant-supported dentures instead of a bridge or crown, there are a few things you should know:
- You lose some of the benefit of dental implants primarily normal care and being able to treat them like natural teeth.
- Your dentures still have to be removed from your mouth to be cleaned.
- You’ll still need to take them out when you go to bed.
While you’ll get stronger dentures and be able to toss the adhesive, using dentures with implants still comes with a few inconveniences.
The majority of patients are good candidates to make the switch from dentures to dental implants. Even if you need bone grafting, having the procedure done can be a big improvement on your current quality of life. Talk to a dentist who has experience helping patients transition from one to the other, and ask lots of questions. You’re not stuck with dentures for the rest of your life, and you won’t believe how much your life will change once you have dental implants instead.