People who lose all their teeth – whether it’s on the top of the mouth, the bottom of the mouth, or both top and bottom – face many challenges. These people have difficulty in chewing food adequately, which negatively affects their digestive systems. And the types of food they can eat are very limited, which means that it’s virtually impossible to have a well-balanced diet. It’s difficult to speak clearly when you’re missing teeth, not to mention the anxiety you feel in social situations. And while many people choose conventional dentures as a tooth replacement option, there is another method available that is most definitely worth considering: full mouth dental implants. In this article, we’ll provide complete information about this remarkable technology, as well as listing which patients are good candidates for full mouth dental implants.
What Are Full Mouth Dental Implants?
A dental implant consists of a tiny metal rod that is inserted into the jawbone of the patient. After a period of time, the metal (usually titanium) fuses with the bone tissue. This creates an artificial tooth root. Once the implant is fused to the jawbone, the dentist affixes a crown to the top. The result is an artificial tooth that looks and functions just like a natural tooth. Many patients who need to replace a single tooth or a few teeth choose dental implants because of all the benefits they bring. But this technology can also be used for people who have lost all of their teeth.
Getting full mouth dental implants involves having a few dental implants placed in strategic locations throughout the patient’s mouth. But rather than simply attaching a crown to the top of the implant, as is done for people replacing a single tooth, with the full mouth implant procedure the dentist uses the implants to support dentures. These dentures, however, are different than the traditional appliances that need to be removed and soaked each night. The dentures that are attached to these dental implants can’t be removed by the patient. Instead, they are permanently placed and cared for in exactly the same way as natural teeth. These amazing prosthetic devices look and feel just like natural teeth. But full mouth dental implants (also referred to as implant-supported dentures) don’t slip out of place inside the patient’s mouth. That means you’ll be able to enjoy whatever foods you’d like, you’ll be able to chew your food thoroughly and completely, your ability to speak clearly will never be in question, and you can feel completely confident in any type of social situation. Let’s sum it up this way: for people who have lost their teeth, full mouth dental implants can literally be a life-changing solution!
Two Types of Full Mouth Dental Implants
When it comes to full mouth dental implants, there are actually two types available to dental patients. We’ve already briefly described the process involved for full mouth dental implants (i.e., implant-supported dentures. This process takes some time since the implants require a period of a few months to fuse to the bone tissue. But there is another type of full mouth dental implants that some dentists offer to their patients: all-on-four.
The process involved with all-on-four implants is much faster than the traditional implant-supported denture procedure. With this alternative method, the dentist inserts a smaller number of implants at strategic locations inside the patient’s mouth. And just like with traditional implant-supported dentures, these implants will need to fuse to the bone tissue. But with all-on-four implants, the dentist can provide the patient with a set of temporary dentures that they can wear while they’re waiting for their implants to fully fuse to the bone and while their permanent dentures are being prepared. That means that you can have your implant procedure done and walk out of the dentist’s office on the same day with a full set of teeth!
What You Should Know about Bone Grafting
One of the many difficulties in living without teeth for a period of time is that your jawbone will begin to weaken. That’s because bone tissue needs to be stimulated in order to maintain a healthy density. Normally, the roots of your teeth would provide that stimulation. But when you lose your teeth, there’s nothing there to stimulate the jawbone tissue and it loses density. For that reason, many patients who choose full-mouth dental implants require a bone grafting procedure beforehand.
Bone grafting may sound complicated, but the procedure is actually one that is commonly performed by dentists and oral surgeons. The process involves transplanting healthy bone tissue in areas of the jawbone that are weakened, then allowing that bone tissue time to fuse with the jawbone and create a strong, solid base for the implants.
Are You a Good Candidate for Full Mouth Dental Implants?
There is no doubt that full mouth dental implants offer some patients a new lease on life. In fact, these amazing appliances are very much like getting a brand new set of natural teeth. But it’s important to keep in mind that they may not be the best choice for everyone. Generally speaking, if you fall into one of the following categories, you are most likely a good candidate for full mouth dental implants:
- You are currently missing all of your upper teeth, your lower teeth, or both your upper and lower teeth.
- Your overall health is good.
- Your jawbone is strong enough to support the implants and/or you are capable of undergoing a bone grafting procedure beforehand.
- You practice good oral hygiene habits on a daily basis (this will be important with full mouth dental implants since you’ll need to be diligent in order to prevent gum disease).
- You currently wear conventional dentures but are unhappy with your appliance.
Of course, no one can tell you for sure whether or not you are a good candidate for full mouth implants except your dentist. If you fall into one of the categories above, contact your dentist today and schedule a consultation and an oral exam. Your oral health care provider can assess your current oral health and determine whether this incredible dental technology is the right choice for you.