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Questions About Full-Arch Restorations

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At Implant Dentistry of Florida, we’re all about dental implants, as you may have noticed from our practice title! They’re simply the best dental prosthetic. A dental implant replaces a missing or extracted tooth, and it feels and functions just like a natural tooth. Plus, a dental implant is likely to last the rest of the patient’s life.

We also love implants because they provide anchors for our full-arch restorations at Implant Dentistry of Florida. When a patient’s entire arch of upper or lower teeth are some compromised that any remaining teeth need to be extracted and the entire arch replaced, we use four to six implants to anchor the prosthetic. We call this Teeth in a Day or a full-arch restoration. They are also known as implant-supported dentures.

In these two springy March blogs, let’s answer a few questions about full-arch restorations/Teeth in a Day/implant-supported dentures.

What are the differences between traditional dentures and implant-supported dentures?

Traditional dentures and implant-supported dentures both consist of full arches of artificial teeth. It’s their anchoring, or lack thereof, that is the big difference.

Traditional dentures replace all the upper and lower teeth. The upper arch suctions to the roof of the mouth, while the lower arch rests on the gums to allow room for the tongue. The problem with both methods of adhesion is that they allow slippage of the dentures. This often happens when eating, but it can happen during conversation and other embarrassing circumstances.

Traditional dentures also have the unfortunate side effect of creating a loss of taste due to the upper denture covering some or most of the palate on the roof of the mouth. People assume their tongue provides all of their sense of taste, but the palate also plays a role.

Traditional dentures don’t provide any energy downward into the jawbone when biting or chewing. This is unlike natural teeth or dental implants, where the energy in biting and chewing (known as bite force energy), transfers down through the teeth/implants into the jawbone beneath the tooth/implant. This energy triggers the jawbone to continually shed old cells and replace them with new bone cells. This is how the jawbone stays healthy and strong. Traditional dentures don’t provide this, and that’s why people who’ve had dentures for a long time (or who have been missing their teeth for a long time without using dentures) can appear as if their jawbone is collapsing backwards. It basically is.

When you support the full arch of artificial teeth with dental implants, this changes everything. The implants anchor the denture either through ball-and-socket connections or through screw down posts, and this gives the denture incredible stability. These dentures cannot slip because they are strongly anchored into the upper and lower jaws through the implants.

It usually takes four to six implants on each arch for implant-supported dentures, and these anchor locations help to keep the jawbone strong. That’s because the bite force energy travels down through the eight or 12 implants into the bone beneath, just as it does with natural teeth.

Also, because implant-supported dentures deliver that energy into the jawbone, the jawbone won’t shrink. This means you won’t have to get an implant-supported denture relined, as you do with traditional dentures every year or so (this is because your jawbone is losing mass under these dentures).

That’s a start. In March’s second blog we’ll get into a couple other questions. Until then, is it time for your twice-yearly professional cleaning and exams with Dr. Brown and our team at Implant Dentistry of Florida? Call us at (321) 372-7700 to make your appointment.

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