Category Archives: Dental Implants

Benefits of Implant-Supported Dentures (Overdentures)

Full mouth dental implant replacement options:

So long as you have a few teeth left, your dentist can make you a partial denture. Partial dentures anchor onto your remaining teeth to stabilize and hold them in place. While not your best option, they seem to work okay in most cases and hold up quite well. However, once you have no more teeth left in your mouth a full denture (complete denture) is your only option. Many people are unhappy with their full dentures and have problems with them. If you’re one of those unhappy denture wearers then you probably have been researching dental implants. There are two basic dental implant options available to you when it comes to replacing all your teeth: Implant-supported dentures or implant retained bridge. One involves a denture anchoring onto implants and the other is a bridge secured onto several implants:

Implant-supported dentures (overdentures)

One option to replace all of your teeth is known as implant-supported dentures or overdentures. This treatment involves placing several dental implants, 2 to 4 per arch, to anchor your false teeth. A denture is then fabricated which locks onto these implants and is secured by the implant in place. The denture will have a few lock and keys to attach to the implants. It will also be much smaller than your current set of dentures since it doesn’t rely on attaching to your gums any longer.

Implant-retained bridge (all-on-fours)

A second option to replace all your teeth is known as implant-retained bridge or an all-on-fours. This involves placing about 4 to 8 implants per arch to anchor your bridge. A bridge is then fabricated and screwed or glued permanently on top of these implants. The term all-on-fours refers to the minimum need for four implants to secure the bridge. Although occasionally more than four implant is needed to perform this treatment.

So what benefits does each treatment option offer you? And which one works better for you?

Advantages of implant-supported dentures (overdentures)

Implant-supported dentures is basically a set of dentures anchored onto dental implants. These are the benefits that they offer you:

Implant-supported dentures (overdentures) are much more affordable than other implant treatment options

Implant treatment options are generally quite expensive as you would imagine. Implant-supported dentures typically cost several thousands dollars, ranging in between $3,500 to $5,000+ per arch. So you could get a full set of upper and lower implant-supported dentures for well under $10,000. The majority of people only receive this treatment for their lower arch which is typically the more problematic one.

On the other hand, implant-retained bridges cost several tens-of-thousands of dollars. Treatment for upper and lower arch can approach six-digits for the entire procedure. There are several reasons why implant-retained bridges are so much more expensive:

  • They require more implants as well as more expensive types of implants than implant-supported dentures do.
  • Placement of dental implants has to be very accurate and precise. The implants must be spread out and relatively parallel to one another to provide a good support for your permanent bridge.
  • Teeth fabrication process is much more difficult and costly for a bridge as compared to a denture.
Implant supported dentures (overdentures) are a much easier all around treatment option

Implant-supported dentures is a much easier all around treatment than implant-retained bridges are. Typically only very experienced and skilled dentists or prosthodontists perform this treatment as it is both complex and time consuming. On the other hand, many more dentists offer overdenture treatment due to its relative ease:

Easier to qualify for overdentures

You can qualify for overdentures even if you have very weak jawbone. This is because your dentist only needs to place a few small, skinny implants to anchor your dentures. On the other hand, all-on-fours treatment requires much greater bone presence for larger and sturdier implants.

Easier to place implants

Your dentist or oral surgeon only needs to place two to four small implants for overdenture treatment. Additionally the implants can be placed anywhere you have good enough jawbone. Usually dentists place the implants in the front region of your jaws which has better bone. On the other hand, implant-retained bridges requires larger dental implants. The implants must also be spread out evenly throughout your entire jaw. This makes it much more challenging and not everyone qualifies for this treatment.

Easier to place teeth on top of implants

Making a denture that sits on top of your implants is not that much more difficult than making a regular set of dentures. It only requires a few visits to make and is relatively straight forward. On the other hand making a bridge for implant-retained bridge treatment is very challenging. Getting the bridge to fit and look perfect is difficult work. Everything has to be performed very precisely and accurately for you to be happy with the final results. These treatments typically require numerous visits and take much longer to complete.

Repairing or replacing false teeth is much easier with implant-supported dentures (overdentures)

This is a fact that is commonly overlooked. Once dental implants are placed and healed properly they rarely cause a problem. However your false teeth, whether in the form of a denture or bridge, are susceptible to problems. They can break, lose a tooth or crack in half just like any other dental prosthesis would.

If overdentures get damaged, repairs are usually easy and straightforward. The acrylic can be glued back together or a tooth can be added to it with relative ease. Your dentist can send them to the lab to have them repaired within a few days. In fact occasionally you might even be able to go directly to the denture lab and have them fixed in one day.

On other hand, implant-retained bridges are very difficult to repair should they get damaged. Repairs are hard to do and typically take a long time. Often times a repair is not even an option and you will require a whole new bridge. This means that you may have to spend another few months redoing your entire bridge. This can be a major nuisance but unfortunately there’s not much you can do about it.

NEXT >> What are the advantages on implant-retained bridges (all-on-fours)?

8 Questions to help decide your best full mouth dental implant replacement option


Benefits of Dental Implant over Root Canal

Should I get a dental implant or root canal?

You might’ve broken a tooth so badly that you’re left wondering whether it could be saved or not. Typically, when a tooth breaks below your gum lines it has very poor prognosis. There just isn’t enough tooth structure to support a crown any longer. As such, you most likely need to remove teeth which break below the gumlines. However, when teeth break above the gumline they might be salvageable. Your dentist can best determine if your tooth can be saved or not. In these cases you’re usually faced with two treatment options: A dental implant or root canal. So which is the better treatment option for your broken tooth? Is it worth saving your tooth with a root canal? Or are you better off removing the tooth and placing a dental implant over root canal?

What are the benefits of a dental implant over root canal?

A root canal is when your dentist removes and replaces the tooth nerve with a filling material. Dental implant on the other hand involves removing the entire tooth and replacing it with a screw and fake tooth. When you perform a root canal you get to keep the actual tooth, however with an implant your original tooth is completely removed. Lets review the benefits of dental implant over root canal first:

Dental implants are less likely to fail than root canals

Neither a dental implant nor root canal have a 100% success rate. There is always a risk of failure with any dental procedure, including both dental implant and root canals. Dental implants may lose their supporting bone structure, a condition referred to as peri-implantitis, and become loose and fail over time. Root canals can develop a recurring infection or break and fail as well.

A successful dental implant rarely ever creates a problem. Most well placed dental implants tend to last you a lifetime. On the other hand, many root canals run into issues and need to be removed and replaced with a dental implant years later. Root canal failure is much higher than dental implants. In fact in some cases root canals fail almost immediately and the tooth must be removed and replaced with a dental implant right away!

Dental implants are sturdier than root canals

Teeth that receive root canals usually also require a post and crown to restore the original tooth structure. However, each of these treatment come with their own risks and complications. Here are some reasons why root canal treated teeth are likely to face more problems over time:

Root canal treatment dries up teeth

Root canal treatment removes the tooth nerve along with its blood vessels. Lack of blood flow makes teeth become dry. As a result root canal treated teeth turn fragile and brittle over time.

Dental posts fracture teeth roots

Your dentist usually has to place what’s known as a dental post after completing a root canal. Dental posts help re-enforce the missing tooth structure subsequent to root canal treatment. Unfortunately, dental posts also place a lot of stress on teeth roots. This can lead up to root fracture over time.

Crowns further weaken tooth structure

Your root canal treated tooth will also require a crown to protect the tooth. This means that your dentist has to shave down substantial tooth structure to make a proper fitting crown for your tooth. This additional removal of tooth structure further weakens your tooth and makes it more likely to fail over time.

As you can see, root canal treatment makes your tooth much more likely to break and fail. A dental implant on the other hand that has a much lower failure rate. Since dental implants are fully synthetic material, they tend to hold up better over time than root canal treated teeth.

You get a more definitive outcome with implant over root canal

Root canal treated teeth may always be lost due to infection or fracture. If this happens, you most likely have to remove the tooth and replace it with a dental implant. Very seldom can anything be done to save teeth with a recurring root canal infection. You’re probably throwing good money after bad money trying to save a failing root canal treated tooth. Most likely it’s just a matter of time until your tooth fails again.

When is it best to go with an implant over root canal?

Whenever there’s very little to no tooth structure left above your gum lines, it’s better to go with a dental implant over root canal. Root canal treated teeth require sufficient tooth structure to hold up a crown over time. Badly broken teeth don’t have enough tooth structure to support a crown. Additionally, teeth with very advanced infections usually respond better to a dental implant over root canal. When a gross infection surrounds your tooth, chances or root canal failure increases significantly. It might just be a better idea to remove these teeth and go for a dental implant right away.

Some people avoid dental implants and choose to receive a risky root canal treatment for all the wrong reasons. Maybe they are scared of implants or they don’t want to spend as much on the tooth. Keep in mind that if your tooth is severely compromised, then it’s very likely to break within a few months or years. You will have no choice but to receive a dental implant sooner or later in these circumstances. Don’t let fear or price be the determining factor in these situations. After all a root canal, post, crown that fails and needs to be removed ends up costing the same, or even more, than a dental implant!

NEXT >> What are the benefits of root canal over dental implants?

10 Questions to help you decide between a dental implant or root canal

Replacing a Missing Tooth: Dental Bridge

If you already have a missing tooth or about to have a tooth removed then you are faced with the dilemma of how to replace this tooth. You will have four options after removing a tooth.

  • You can leave the space alone and do nothing. Of course this may mean your teeth may shift and become crooked especially if you are younger, so consider if this is something that will work for you.
  • You can make a removable tooth, a partial denture. Since these can come in and out, they are the considered the least desirable solutions.
  • Place dental bridge which involves shaving down the two teeth next to the gap and connecting them together via the dental bridge, essentially several attached crowns,  supported by the neighboring teeth.
  • Place a dental implant which involves inserting an implant into the jaw bone in place of the missing tooth and once healed adding a connector and crown on top of the implant to replace the original missing tooth.

If you want to have a fixed replacement, the best solution, then you have to go with either a dental bridge or a dental implant. So what are the advantages of each one? And which option makes more sense for you?

Pros of a Getting Dental Bridge

1. Getting a bridge is easier for you and probably easier for your dentist too. A dental bridge is nothing more than several crowns connected together to close the gap created by the missing tooth. Preparing a crown or a bridge is an easy task for most dentists as it is the bread-and-butter of dentistry and most dentists have generally performed hundreds or thousands of these throughout their careers.

On the other hand many dentists are not as comfortable placing or restoring dental implants. Many will refer you out to an oral surgeon or a specialist and this will delay their profits or risk them losing you as a patient altogether. You might find your dentist not offering you a dental implant as an option or trying to discourage you from getting one for all the wrong reasons.

Don’t let the determining factor in making a decision which will affect the health of your teeth be whether or not your dentist performs a certain procedure. A good dentist should always present a dental implant as an option when eligible and allow you to make a well informed decision based on what’s best for you.

2. Bridges are a quicker fix with better temporary optionsA dental bridge connects to your adjacent teeth. This means there is no healing period required. It also means it is pretty easy to make a similar temporary bridge as you wait for your permanent one. A dental bridge holds the upper hand over the dental implant here.

  • To receive a dental bridge you only need a few visits and it is usually completed within a month or so. The dental implant will require substantial healing times and you have to allow it to heal between 4 to 6 months before a crown can be placed on top of the implant.
  • There is no need for a surgery, CT scan or any other major planning in preparation for a dental bridge as opposed to an implant.
  • Making a temporary tooth for a dental bridge is much easier and with typically nicer results. And of course you only need to wear the temporary for a few weeks rather than months.

If you are missing a front tooth your dentist can usually make you a very nice temporary fixed bridge to close the gap as you wait for your permanent bridge to arrive, so you can have a reasonable temporary tooth in place the entire time.

Making a temporary tooth for a dental implant can be much trickier. Sometimes the dentist can can place a temporary tooth on top of the implant right away (known as immediate load) but the majority of times this is not an option as the implant is not strong enough to support the tooth just yet. You may have to wear a removable false tooth, known as a denture/ flipper, for the next few months as the implant continues to heal. Alternatively you may leave it alone and go toothless for a short while but if you are missing a front tooth this may not be a very fun choice!

helpful hint – If you already have or require multiple crowns on the teeth adjacent to the missing tooth it may just be easier to simply do a dental bridge over a dental implant. For instance you may have lost a tooth in an accident and also broken a few adjacent teeth. By placing a bridge you can fix the broken teeth as well as close the gap while saving thousands on the implants and not needing an additional surgery. After all the main advantage of a dental implant is that it spares the neighboring teeth from being shaven down, but if these teeth are already slated to receive crowns then it might just be worth it to just consider doing a dental bridge after all and saving the extra headaches and bucks.

3. Bridges cost less. Most dentists charge a lot more for a dental implant over a dental bridge mainly because dental implants are more costly and much more time consuming to complete. Dental implants consist of three components that you have to pay for.

  • The implant screw
  • The connector (implant post)
  • The crown

And most dental implants typically require a bone graft, soft tissue membrane placement, sinus lift or some other additional surgical procedure to yield successful results which further adds to the price of the dental implant. As a result the dental implant will typically cost you about 50 to 100% more than a dental bridge would.

NEXT >> Replacing a Missing Tooth: Dental Implant

Replacing a Missing Tooth: How to Decide