Say the word dentures and most people think of something old-fashioned, but dentures have gone uptown. They’re now frequently attached to dental implants, a much newer invention.
Denturist Robert Knight, who owns Peninsula Denture Clinics in Sidney and Victoria, says that implants have been the most successful and innovative procedure of the past few years.
“We can attach a floating lower denture to the implants and then you have a stabilized denture – that’s the peak of denturism,” he enthuses. “It can be taken to a permanent stage – the appliance (prosthesis) is screwed to implants placed in the jaw. We’re steadily getting these requests and referring people to dentists for implants.”
Placement of the implants is done by dentists certified in the procedure. An office visit and local freezing is all that is required. After a healing period, attachments are placed onto the implants to allow the denturist to attach the appliance.
Implant-based treatment for complete tooth loss is most commonly done on the lower jaw. Upper jaw implant-secured dentures allow patients to uncover their palate. This is greatly appreciated by most people because it enhances the ability to taste and enjoy food.
Many people are fearful initially of the pain and cost. Most pain is easily managed and is minimal, says Knight.
The costs are also more affordable than people think, especially in comparison to regular dentistry. Not every lost tooth needs an implant; a lower denture can be stabilized with as few as two. Another concern people often have about these procedures is that they’ll have a mouthful of steel – “a fear of the invasion of titanium pieces,” as he describes it. But the process is similar to a hip transplant where bone tissue and titanium grow together.