Denture Stabilization

Denture Stabilization
For aging adults in the United States, tooth loss is a common experience. In fact, millions of American adults are missing most of their natural teeth. Regardless of how common it is to have missing teeth; it doesn’t mean anyone should struggle with tooth loss. Fortunately, there are many dental treatments available for the replacement of missing teeth. A single dental implant is the most effective way to replace a single missing tooth. However, when someone needs to replace several missing teeth, replacement treatments can get very expensive. Conventional dentures are a popular treatment approach to replace several missing teeth quickly and cost effectively. However, dentures can lead to issues with fit, discomfort, and eating and speaking. Denture stabilization is a treatment option that allows for patients to take advantage of the affordability of conventional dentures, while avoiding some of the common drawbacks. Below are more details on how the denture stabilization treatment works.

What is Dental Stabilization?
For the denture stabilization treatment, dental implant posts are surgically placed in the jawbone to provide a stable foundation for dentures. One of the biggest drawbacks with conventional dentures is that they sit on top of the gums, allowing them to shift and slip if the fit is not perfect. This slipping can cause irritation and discomfort. Dental stabilization is a treatment that was designed to eliminate the slipping and sliding problem that occurs with conventional dentures.

Benefits of Denture Stabilization
Patients who wear conventional dentures commonly struggle with not being able to eat everything, speaking clearly, and with dental adhesives. Denture stabilization treatment was designed to address many of these common struggles. Benefits of denture stabilization over conventional dentures include:
* Improved ability to chew food, resulting in better digestion and nutritional benefits
* Superior comfort
* Easier daily maintenance that only includes daily brushing and flossing
* Eliminating mouth sores caused by the rubbing of conventional dentures
* Improved ability to speak clearly

Why Replace Missing Teeth
Many adults who are missing teeth often do not seek out tooth replacement treatment immediately due to financial barriers or time constraints. Often these individuals plan to replace their missing teeth at some point in the future. What these individuals may not realize is that having missing teeth can lead to many future oral health issues. Some of the issues that can occur when an individual has missing teeth include:
* Shrinking of the facial structures, including the jaw and mouth
* Difficulty eating which can result in negative effects on diet
* Premature aging: when the mouth structure starts to shrink it can make individuals look older than they are
* Reduced self-esteem
* Tooth decay: if tooth loss is caused by tooth decay, the decay and disease in the mouth will continue to spread to other teeth, which eventually may lead to the loss of more teeth

How Does Denture Stabilization Work?
Denture stabilization, also called implant-supported dentures, is a dental treatment where dental implants are surgically placed into the jawbone. The dental implants create a secure and stable foundation for the artificial dentures to attach to in the mouth. Conventional dentures are designed to sit on top of the gums and are not attached to anything in the mouth. Many patients interested in implant-supported dentures do not have teeth in the jaw but have enough bone in the jaw to support dental implants. The dental implants offer many added benefits, such as helping prevent bone loss and maintaining the shape of the jaw. Once the dental implants are placed in the jaw and the dentures are attached to the implants, the dentures will be firmly rooted in the mouth. Patients commonly prefer to have either dentures that clip in and clip out, or more permanent dentures that are fixed in place. Once securely fixed, these permanent stabilized dentures cannot be removed, while clip-in or snap-in dentures can.

The denture stabilization treatment occurs in three primary steps:
Step 1: the dental implants are surgically inserted into the jawbone.
Step 2: Once the implants have been installed, the next step includes a required several month healing period that allows time for the implants to fuse to the bone.
Step 3: The last step is for the dentures to be fitted and attached to the implants.

Types of Stabilized Dentures
There are two common types of stabilized dentures that are not permanently fixed: ball-retained and bar-retained dentures.

Ball-retained dentures, also sometimes called stud-attachment dentures, include an implant with a metal attachment on the top where the denture clips in. They are called ball-retained dentures because the implant attachment is in the shape of a ball and the denture attachment is designed like a socket. The ball simply fits into the socket to clip the dentures into place.

For the bar-retained denture design, at least two to five implants are needed in the jawbone for the dentures to attach to. A metal bar is attached to the top of all of these implants and curves around the jawbone. To attach the denture to the implants, the denture goes over the bar, and the denture clips into place.

Choosing the Right Tooth Replacement Treatment For You
When individuals begin their battle with tooth loss, they often think “why replace my missing teeth”? This is because major barriers to replacing missing teeth are the cost of replacement treatments and the time investment that is required to schedule dental visits and to find the right tooth replacement treatment. However, without teeth in the mouth, the facial structure will begin to change, aging the face and reducing the ability to eat and speak well. Additionally, missing teeth can cause dental hygiene issues, such as tooth decay and tooth loss.

Thanks to advances in dental technology, there are many tooth replacement options to choose from. If you are interested in replacing your missing teeth but have ruled out conventional dentures, you should look into denture stabilization treatment. A great place to start is to have a conversation with your dental provider to help you find the right treatment option for you.