Types of Dental Implant Restorations
A fixed implant restoration requires more financial investment than a removable implant restoration, and it necessitates both your restorative dentist and your periodontist working hand in hand during the entire treatment process. Generally a patient’s dentist will indicate to the periodontist the location of the dental implants to support the fixed restoration. Models are fabricated by taking molds of the teeth and sending them to a dental lab. Next, a surgical implant guide is fabricated to help the surgeon place the implants in the exact location the dentist requests. Typically six or more implants are used per jaw for a fixed restoration.
Good home care and follow-up care are essential to ensure that the implants are being cleaned properly. Patients with fixed restorations are usually placed on a recall rotation with both the dentist and the periodontist.
Most patients who have an upper and a lower denture rarely complain about the top denture feeling “loose.” This is generally due to the upper denture covering the entire roof of a patient’s mouth, which causes suction for retention.
Sometimes patients request implants to hold their upper denture in place. These patients usually want to correct a sensitive gag reflex, or they want to be able to taste their food better. The entire middle section of the denture can be removed to correct these problems, as shown in these photos.
Most of the taste buds are on the tongue and the roof of the mouth. By removing the middle section of an upper denture, more of the patient’s palate is exposed, thus allowing for a more natural sense of taste.
Denture wearers are more likely to complain of an uncomfortable and loose lower denture. This is due to the U-shape of the denture. Each time a person talks or chews food, the tongue and the muscles of the cheeks move. This contraction and movement of the muscles can cause the lower denture to move. Usually patients who have a loose denture will use either glue or powder to help retain the denture.
There is nothing worse than a denture falling out of someone’s mouth while talking or eating. To avoid the possibility of being embarrassed, usually two to four implants can be placed in the front part of the lower jaw to help retain the denture. This allows the denture to be taken in and out and cleaned daily.
Can you be too young or too old to get implants?
That is a great question. Let’s first discuss being too young. Girls typically stop growing between the ages of 16 and 17. For boys it is 18 to 21. During the growing phases, the jawbone grows too. We typically wait until all growth is completed before placing implants. Usually a growth analysis can be determined by using a wrist X-ray or a lateral cephalogram (taken and read by a radiologist or an orthodontist, respectively) to determine if a child’s growth plates are fused and growth is completed.
We are often asked, “Am I too old for implants?” We have yet to read a study citing age alone as a determining factor for successful dental implants. Our office routinely treats patients in their 80s and 90s with dental implants with very successful results.