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Fixed Dentures

Implant supported fixed dentures vs removable dentures.

If you have lost an entire arch of teeth (top and/or bottom), or are soon to have your remaining teeth removed because they are too unhealthy to save, you may be able to replace them with fixed dentures supported by dental implants. Doctors and patients alike prefer fixed over removable dentures because they:

  • Look, feel and function just like natural teeth
  • Don't slip when you eat or talk
  • Prevent bone loss in the jaw
  • Last a lifetime

How It Works

Dental implants serve the same purpose as the roots of natural teeth: anchoring the replacement teeth to your jawbone. Just like natural tooth roots, they lie under the gum line and therefore are not visible in the mouth. Only the lifelike prosthetic teeth attached to them (the fixed denture) can be seen by you or anyone else. Because dental implants are made of titanium, a metal that has the unique ability to fuse to living bone, they are extremely stable and reliable. How many implants are needed? The number varies because each individual has unique conditions: Depending on the volume and density of the bone in your jaw, you will need as few as four implants or as many as six for your new teeth to function as well as a set of healthy, natural teeth.

What to Expect

All-on-Four.The surgery to place dental implants that support a fixed denture is a simple, routine procedure carried out in an office setting, under local anesthesia in most cases. (If you need to have failing teeth removed, that will be done first, often the same day your implants are placed). After numbing the area, the appropriate number of implants will be placed in your jaw at precisely planned angles and positions to maximize support and avoid anatomical structures such as nerves and sinuses. Depending on how many implants are needed, the surgery can take anywhere from one to three hours. Most people who have dental implants placed find that any post-operative discomfort can be managed with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Some don't even need to take that.

What happens immediately after surgery will depend on what's best to promote healing in your individual situation. Sometimes a set of temporary teeth can be attached immediately, so that you can leave the office with new teeth. A few months later, your permanent replacement teeth with be installed. In other cases, the implants will be left to heal for several months before any teeth are attached. Sometimes that is the best way to insure that the implants remain undisturbed as they go through the process of fusing to your jawbone, which is known as osseointegration.

In either case, you will need to go easy on your newly placed implants during the crucial healing phase following surgery. You will be advised to eat a softer diet and avoid hard, chewy foods until the process of osseointegration is complete — about three months. While this may seem like a long time, keep in mind that people who wear removable dentures often avoid these foods permanently. The good news is that once your implants have fused to your jawbone and your new permanent teeth are attached, you will be able to eat anything you want. In fact, you are likely to forget you even have dental implants!

Related Articles

Dental Implants - Dear Doctor Magazine

Dental Implants – Your Best Option For Replacing Teeth Dental implants have many advantages over older methods of tooth replacement like bridges and dentures — from the way they function and feel to the way they look and last. Vigorous research has documented and confirmed that in the right situations, dental implant success rates are over 95%. It is no exaggeration to say that they have revolutionized dentistry. They may even change your life... Read Article

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What Our Clients Say About Us

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    "I would give her ten if I could. Dr. Williams has been my dentist for over twenty years. In that time, she has never broken an appointment with me. I am pretty type A when it comes to my teeth, and I like her because she always has great tips about how to take care of them. She is uber professional but has a good sense of humor. Her sense of humor is actually a pretty big deal when you have to sit with someone for an extended period of time. I've been in her chair for over an hour a couple of times. Once to get braces done and another time for a teeth whitening. Uncomfortable to say the least, but she went out of her way to ease the pain. I have not considered another Dentist ever since."

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    "Excellent Dentist"

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    "Dr. Williams is an excellent dentist! It's pretty evident that she cares about her patients and she always goes the extra mile. Every visit to her practice is pleasant...she's truly such a patient and kind doctor. Highly recommend!"

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    "Dr. Williams is the best dentist ever! Not only does she take her time but she cleans your teeth personally. I love her individualized patient services."

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