What Are Implant Supported Dentures?

close up smile red lipstickAn implant-supported denture is a type of overdenture attached to and supported by implants. This makes them much more stable than regular dentures because they don’t rest on the gums.

Implant-supported dentures are often recommended for patients who no longer have any teeth, but have enough bone in their jaws to support the implants.

While implant-supported dentures can be made for both the upper and lower jaws, they’re usually only made for the latter. This is because the lower jaws are where regular dentures tend to be less stable.

Different Types of Implant-Supported Dentures

The two different types of implant-supported dentures are bar-retained and ball-retained. They’re both made of an acrylic base to look like gums, to which natural-looking teeth made out of either acrylic or porcelain are attached to.

  • Bar-Retained Dentures – Two to five implants are placed in your jawbone. Then, a thin metal bar that’s curved the same way as your jaw is attached to the said implants. Fitted are clips and other types of attachments to either the denture or the bar, sometimes to both. The attachments then ensures the proper and secure fit of the denture over the bar.
  • Ball-Retained Dentures – Also known as stud-attachment dentures, these dentures are composed of metal attachments in the jawbone that’s fitted onto another attachment on the denture. The attachments are ball-shaped and are fitted onto the sockets found on the denture.

The Process

Implants are usually placed in the jawbone at the front of your mouth. This is because there’s usually more bone in the front jaws than in the back, even if teeth have already been missing for a long time. There’s also not as many nerves and other structures that could be damaged in the front jaw.

The whole process can take as short as five months, but can also last for more than a year. This is because of the many factors that could affect the whole process, such as surgery, placement of the denture, bone grafting and other preliminary procedures.

There’s usually two surgeries involved in the process. The first one is for the placement of the implants in the jawbone. The second, which comes three to six months after the first, then exposes the tops of the implants.

In rare cases, a one-stage procedure is applicable. In this procedure, the dentist places both the implants and supporting bar in one step, significantly cutting down on the treatment time. Although the one-stage procedure sounds quite risky, the success rate is surprisingly quite high.

What to Expect from Implant-Supported Dentures

Fortunately, implant-supported dentures are much more stable than regular dentures, making them well worth the risk. They’re also more comfortable to wear and less likely to interfere with how you speak or eat. You also don’t have to make as many adjustments to what you can or cannot eat as well. However, hard or sticky foods are still prohibited to prevent damage to the denture.

If you feel that you may benefit from implant supported dentures,  contact Dr. Ted Haines, DDS in Snohomish, WA at 360-568-8577 or visit www.tedhainesdds.com for additional information.

Dr. Ted Haines proudly accepts patients from Monroe, Lake Stevens, Everett, Mill Creek, Woodville, and surrounding areas.

Is Tooth Decay and a Cavity The Same Thing?

ThinkstockPhotos-464323669No, tooth decay is not the same as a cavity. However, tooth decay can cause cavities.

Tooth decay, or also referred to as dental caries, start as plaque, the sticky film that builds up on your teeth. The bacteria found in plaque produces acid that, if left unchecked, can destroy the surface of your teeth. The acid can eventually cause your tooth to decay, which can also lead to it creating a hole in your enamel and this is how you get a cavity.

Fortunately, decay and its effects are both preventable and reversible. Of course, that only is true if it is caught early enough, or if you practice good oral hygiene at home. The former requires the help of a dental professional, as only they can help stop the decay from progressing further and allow your teeth enough time to repair itself.

Tooth decay is often treated or prevented via any one of the following methods:

  • Fluoride gel or varnish may be applied to the teeth to help boost remineralization and help the affected teeth repair itself.
  • Powerful antiseptic gel or varnish may also be applied to reduce the levels of cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth, which can help slow down the demineralization process.
  • Liquid composite sealants can also help by creating a physical barrier between your teeth and the bacteria.

Unfortunately, once tooth decay has caused a cavity to form, the emphasis of treatment changes from prevention to restoration. This is because cavities are irreversible and the tooth simply just cannot repair itself anymore. The only option is for the dentist to repair the tooth by cleaning out the affected area and filling the hole.

Prevention Is Better Than Cure

While dental technology certainly has come a long way over the years and dentists are now better equipped than before to handle tooth decay and cavities, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t just allow yourself to have any one of the two.

Cavities, for one, are irreversible. Even though it can be treated via fillings, crowns, and root canals, having cavities puts you at risk of having a tooth extracted, which only creates even more problems for you to deal with.

As such, it’s important that you start taking better care of your teeth and gums by making sure that you do the following:

  • Brush your teeth properly. Do it gently, do not be overly aggressive and switch to a soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • Brush at least twice a day, floss at least once, rinse after every time you brush and/or floss your teeth. Repeat.
  • Avoid going for many hours without brushing your teeth. If you’re going to go more than half a day without brushing your teeth, keep yourself hydrated and chew sugarless gum. Doing both helps stimulate saliva production in your mouth, which is your body’s natural means of cleansing itself of bacteria and plaque.
  • Visit your dentist every 4-6 months, not when you’re just feeling pain in your mouth and/or teeth. Doing so helps make sure that your teeth are properly and thoroughly cleaned often, as well as monitored carefully. Also, since you visit the dentist often, any possible dental problems are caught and treated early on, preventing any possible irreversible damage to your teeth.

Follow these tips and your teeth are sure to be well-protected from tooth decay and cavities.

If you feel that you may be suffering from a cavity or tooth decay,  contact Dr. Ted Haines, DDS in Snohomish, WA at 360-568-8577 or visit www.tedhainesdds.com for additional information.

Dr. Ted Haines proudly accepts patients from Monroe, Lake Stevens, Everett, Mill Creek, Woodinville, and surrounding areas.