Category Archives: dental implants

Understanding the Differences Between Traditional and Implant-Supported Dentures

For centuries, dentures were the only solution for missing teeth. Yet denture wearers are all to familiar with the pinching, slipping, and difficulty chewing that dentures often present. Today, there is another option. Here are the major differences between traditional and implant-supported dentures.

Senior woman studio portrait

Traditional Dentures

The earliest dentures were used around the 7th century BC. By the early 19th century, they were common among those who were able to pay for them. The 20th century brought prices down through mass production, while advances in technology created a far better-fitting and more realistic appearance. Today, highly life-like dentures placed by a skilled dentist can be reasonably comfortable and provide a good deal of chewing ability. They are affordable and many patients find them acceptable.

Still, traditional dentures have a number of problems. Since they rest on your gums, bite force is limited, and slippage is always a risk. Upper dentures are more stable than lower dentures, as an acrylic palate uses suction to adhere to the roof of your mouth. But this palate affects the taste and texture sensations of food and can feel irritating. Some people even find that their gag reflex is triggered by the palate.

In addition, when tooth roots are lost, the body begins to lose bone density in the jaw through a process known as resorption. This can cause facial sagging and wrinkles, and lead to a constant cycle of denture readjustment.

Implant-Supported Dentures

Instead of resting on the gums or relying on an acrylic palate, implant-supported dentures are anchored by titanium dental implants. These tiny screws actually integrate into the jawbone, taking the place of tooth roots. This provide a strong, stable foundation for the dentures, virtually eliminating slippage and restoring nearly full bite strength. In addition, the implants reverse the process of bone loss, ensuring that the jawbone remains strong.

Implant-supported dentures are available in two main types. Removable overdentures, also known as implant-retained or snap-on dentures, can be supported by as few as two dental implants. Using clasps or similar devices, the denture snaps onto the supports. You can remove the denture for cleaning or sleeping, but while it is in your mouth, the implants help to provide stability and bite force. This is a cost-effective solution for many patients.

Fixed implant-supported dentures, or fixed implant bridges, are permanently attached to implants. This type of denture is somewhat more expensive, as it requires more implants to secure the bridge. However, it is also the most similar to natural teeth. It will restore nearly all of your original bite force, is not removed for cleaning or sleeping, and is virtually indistinguishable from natural teeth.

Benefits of Implant-Supported Dentures

Whether you choose a fixed or removable implant-supported denture, you will notice the difference right away. Your teeth will feel strong and stable, and you will regain the confidence to speak and laugh naturally. You will be able to eat foods you might have long since given up on, and your face will appear younger and fuller. While traditional dentures are certainly better than missing teeth, why not consider investing in a solution that is more comfortable, more natural, and more secure?

Married dentists Chad and Alexandra Schnabel welcome you to Savannah Dental Solutions. From caring children’s dentistry to high-tech cosmetic procedures and even full-mouth reconstruction, we blend the latest technology with traditional customer-oriented values. To start your journey to better oral health, call us today at (912) 354-1366.

All-On-4 Immediate Load Dental Implants: What You Should Know

All-On-4 immediate load dental implants have revolutionized the field of dentistry. While dental implants have been growing in popularity since the early 1990s, replacing an entire upper or lower arch of teeth with individual implants is time consuming and expensive. A traditional implant-supported fixed bridge is a more cost-effective solution, but it still requires a series of appointments. With an All-On-4, sometimes referred to as Teeth in a Day, you can have an entire mouthful of teeth replaced in one sitting. Here’s what you should know.

3D rendering : lower teeth and dental implant transparent render

Benefits Over Dentures

Although dentures have been replacing teeth for centuries, even modern technological advances cannot overcome their basic limitations. A lower denture sits on the gums, while an upper denture uses suction to attach a plastic plate to the roof of the mouth. Both are prone to slipping, severely reduce bite force, and can be both physically uncomfortable and socially embarrassing.

Dentures also do nothing to halt the resorption process, in which gum and bone tissue is slowly lost following the extraction of tooth roots. Even the best-fitted dentures must be periodically re-fitted to account for this loss, and resorption is a major contributor to the physical aging process of the face and mouth.

Dental implants replace the tooth roots, halting and even reversing resorption. Because they are integrated into the jawbone, they provide stability and restore better than 90% of the bite force of the natural teeth. No longer will you need to avoid biting into apples or chewing tough steak. And because your replacement teeth are stable, slipping is a thing of the past.

Benefits Over Traditional Implants

A traditional full-arch implant bridge requires you to have implants placed and then topped with a healing cap. You will then wear a traditional denture for several months until your mouth fully heals. At that time, you will return to the dentist to have abutments and a fixed bridge placed.

Although this process works well, it is slow. Coping with a traditional denture for several months can be challenging, causing you to severely curtail both your diet and your social life.

An All-On-4 removes the waiting period. As soon as your teeth are extracted, your dentist will immediately place 4 implants at strategic spots along your upper or lower arch. These implants are ready for a fixed bridge immediately, with no waiting period required. Your dentist will place an acrylic fixed bridge during the same appointment, allowing you to eat normally as soon as you feel up to it, which is usually within a day or two.

If you want even more natural-looking teeth, you can switch the acrylic teeth for porcelain teeth in just a few weeks. There is no maximum time limit, so you are welcome to live with the acrylic teeth for a while, and then switch to porcelain at some point in the future if desired.

Is All-On-4 Right for Me?

Like any dental procedure, All-On-4 is not right for everyone. It is a bit costlier than dentures, though less expensive than a traditional implant-supported fixed bridge or individual implants. In addition, those with certain underlying medical conditions may need to get their physical health under tight control before undergoing the procedure. Your dentist will closely examine your current oral and overall physical health and your goals for treatment, and make a professional recommendation.

Married dentists Chad and Alexandra Schnabel welcome you to Savannah Dental Solutions. From caring children’s dentistry to high-tech cosmetic procedures and even full-mouth reconstruction, we blend the latest technology with traditional customer-oriented values. To start your journey to better oral health, call us today at (912) 354-1366.

What to Expect From a Dental Implant Procedure

In modern dentistry, a dental implant is considered the gold standard to replace a missing or failing tooth. Individual dental implants can be used to replace any number of teeth from one to an entire arch. Implant-supported overdentures and fixed bridges are more cost-effective solutions for spans of missing teeth. Regardless of which procedure you choose, however, the general process is very similar.

What to Expect From a Dental Implant Procedure

Evaluation and Planning

The first step is to determine whether you are a good candidate for implants, and what steps need to occur before you are ready for the implant placement. Your dentist will take detailed X-rays and scans to learn the current condition of your mouth. You will then work together to develop a plan of action. At this stage, it is very important to ask questions and express your concerns to ensure that you end up with the best possible plan for your unique needs.

Extraction and Repair

The success rate for dental implants is extremely high, but they need to be given the best possible chances for success. To guard against infection and possible failure, they must be placed in a healthy mouth. Therefore, if you need other dental work such as fillings or root canals, your dentist will take care of those projects first.

Since dental implants replace teeth, your failing teeth must be extracted. In most cases, this is a simple matter that needs only local anesthesia. However, if your extractions are complicated or you are nervous, you can opt for sedation. Discuss this with your dentist during your planning appointment to learn exactly what your choices are and whether you will need someone to drive you home.

Possible Bone Grafting

Most people do not need bone grafting, which replaces jawbone that was lost due to severe decay or trauma. If you need it, though, you must have it done, as the implant must be able to fuse into bone. This procedure is relatively simple, but it requires several months of healing time.

Implant Placement

Dental implants are usually placed under local anesthesia. After thoroughly numbing your mouth, your dentist will cut a precise flap in your gum tissue, and then use a series of drills to gently open a hole in your jawbone. The implant is then screwed in and secured, and the gum tissue is stitched back together.

The implant may be topped with either a cover screw or a healing cap. A cover screw is a flat piece that protects the implant during healing. A healing cap is similar, but is shaped like an abutment, which is the piece that eventually connects the implant to the crown. This allows your gums to heal in just the right position for your final restoration.

Depending on how many teeth were extracted, and where they are positioned in your mouth, you might receive a temporary partial or full denture to wear during healing. This ensures that you are never without teeth.

Abutment and Crown

After your mouth heals for a few months, you will be ready for an abutment and crown. This is a relatively minor procedure in which the dentist will reopen the gum tissue and replace the healing cap or cover screw with an abutment. The final crown is then fitted on top.

For those who are having multiple teeth replaced, the dentist will have placed two or more implants at strategic spots in your mouth. You will receive abutments for all of the implants, along with a dental bridge or overdenture, at this time.

All-on-4

All-on-4 is an excellent alternative to the traditional implant process for those who need an entire arch of teeth replaced. After your teeth are extracted, your dentist can immediately place four implants at key points along your upper or lower arch. These immediate-load implants are capable of taking the pressure of regular eating and chewing with no waiting period.

You will receive a fixed set of acrylic teeth immediately, so you can begin eating normally as soon as you feel ready, which is typically within a day or two. You have the option of having the acrylic teeth replaced with porcelain teeth in a few weeks or months for an even more natural look and feel.

Dental implants are considered the gold standard in modern tooth replacement. Many people are afraid or unsure of the process, but we are confident that you will find it quite simple and easy. We encourage you to ask as many questions as you like to ensure that dental implants are the right choice for you.

Married dentists Chad and Alexandra Schnabel welcome you to Savannah Dental Solutions. From caring children’s dentistry to high-tech cosmetic procedures and even full-mouth reconstruction, we blend the latest technology with traditional customer-oriented values. To start your journey to better oral health, call us today at (912) 354-1366.

Dental Implants vs. Dentures: Which Should I Choose?

Choose implants or dentures?

For many years, the only solution for failing or missing teeth was a partial or full set of dentures. Today, however, most people have another option. While dentures rest on the gums and can be unstable, dental implants actually replace the tooth roots, giving the final restoration a strong, supportive base. Yet dental implants are not right for everyone. When deciding between dentures and dental implants, keep the following considerations in mind.

Existing Dental Health
Dental implants can only be placed inside a healthy mouth with strong gums and bones. For this reason, many patients undergo a period of wearing dentures, even if they plan to move on to implants in the future. This allows you to break up extensive dental work over time, and allows your mouth to heal between the time diseased teeth are removed and the time implants are placed. This is not always necessary, depending on your individual situation and your dentist’s preferences.

If you have lost a significant amount of jawbone to dental disease, you might need bone grafting before your new dental implants can be placed. In addition, some people need a sinus lift or other oral restructuring. In this case, you might temporarily wear dentures until your procedures are completed.

In rare cases, the existing structures in the mouth simply do not allow for the placement of dental implants. If this happens, your dentist will work hard to craft dentures that fit perfectly into your mouth and allow you to regain as much functionality as possible.

Cost
Although prices are coming down and more insurers have begun to cover dental implants, they remain a more expensive option than dentures. If cost is a concern, talk to your dentist about a mid-range solution such as implant-supported removable dentures. These require far fewer implants, and thus have a lower price tag, than fixed solutions, while restoring most of the functionality of natural teeth.

Aesthetics
Although surprisingly lifelike dentures are now available, many people feel that anything removable in the mouth takes away from the natural aesthetics of real teeth. In addition, dentures that are unsupported by implants can shift and slide when you chew, laugh, or talk. If you have a partial denture, the clasp that connects it to your existing teeth can show. For these reasons, the aesthetics of implants are considered far superior to those of traditional dentures.

Comfort
Dentures sit on the gums with no additional support, which can be quite uncomfortable. Many people find that their dentures slip and rub, creating sore spots. These problems are worsened when eating tough foods such as steak, as well as crunchy or chewy foods. Dental implants are integrated into the jawbone, providing a secure base for the final restoration that vastly improves comfort.

Strength and Stability
From corn on the cob to taffy, many people find that they have to give up favorite foods when they get dentures. Traditional dentures provide only 25 percent or less of your natural bite strength. Chewing can be difficult, especially if the dentures slip. With stable, secure implants, you can regain more than 90 percent of your bite strength, without the fear of a tough or chewy food causing your teeth to slip.

Future Oral Health
When teeth are removed, the underlying structures that supported those teeth begin to resorb into the body. Over time, this process can cause severe loss of gum tissues and jawbone. This can give the face a sunken appearance, promote wrinkles, and cause even the most carefully crafted dentures to become loose.

In addition, dentures can cause sores in the mouth, and even lead to chronic inflammation known as denture stomatitis. These conditions can make wearing the dentures uncomfortable, add challenges to your daily oral hygiene routine, and even increase your risk for gum disease underneath the dentures. Dental implants solve these problems by providing a secure, stable foundation that closely resembles the natural tooth structure.

Each person’s dental situation is unique, and what is right for one person may not be the best choice for another. Your dentist will carefully assess your mouth and make a professional recommendation. In many cases, however, whether to choose dental implants or dentures is left up to the patient to decide.

Married dentists Chad and Alexandra Schnabel welcome you to Savannah Dental Solutions. From caring children’s dentistry to high-tech cosmetic procedures and even full-mouth reconstruction, we blend the latest technology with traditional customer-oriented values. To start your journey to better oral health, call us today at (912) 354-1366.