Implant dentures have a lot of advantages. You don't have to worry about your dentures slipping out of place, your diet is less restricted because your dentures are firmly anchored to your jaws, and the lack of a palate plate can greatly increase your comfort.
However, they do require a good foundation for the implant posts. If you're considering replacing your traditional dentures with implant dentures, here are three questions to ask yourself.
Do You Suffer From Osteoporosis?
According to the National Institutes of Health, over 40 million Americans have osteoporosis or at high risk of developing it. If you have osteoporosis, the chances that you've lost bony material in your jaw are high. Depending on just how much bone loss has occurred, your jaws may not have sufficient support for implant dentures without first getting a bone graft.
How Long Have You Been Wearing Traditional Dentures?
The second common cause of bone loss in the jaws is missing teeth, and unfortunately, traditional dentures don't stop this problem. When you lose your teeth, your jawbone no longer receives signals from the roots of your teeth that spur it to regenerate bony material. Traditional dentures, since they don't involve replacing the roots of missing teeth, won't send these signals to your jawbone either. This means that bone loss accelerates without roots.
This is one reason why getting implant dentures sooner rather than later is a good idea. The implant posts used in these dentures are, in some ways, like replacement roots. While most implant dentures rely on four or six posts rather than a post for every tooth, their presence still allows your jawbone to receive some signals, slowing down bone loss. And the earlier you replace traditional dentures with implant dentures, the less bone loss will have already occurred, making it less likely that you'll need bone grafts.
Are You Willing To Get Bone Grafts?
Bone loss, through osteoporosis or through missing teeth, can mean that you can't get implant dentures right away. But it doesn't mean that they're off the table completely; it just means that you may need a bone graft first. By grafting more bone into your jaws, a strong foundation for your implants is created.
When you consider whether or not you would be willing to get bone grafts, there is one important thing to keep in mind. Bone grafts are not rejected by your immune system like organ transplants, so there's no need to take immunosuppressant drugs. The only way in which bone grafts are "rejected" is when they simply fail to grow into your natural bone; if this happens, the graft can simply be removed and a new graft implanted.
If you have any questions, consider contacting a local specialist, such as Bellingham Denture Clinic, to discuss your concerns and determine what's right for you.