How Do Dental Implants Stabilise Dentures?

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Prosthetic teeth are an important provision for people who have lost teeth, allowing them to regain more usage of their mouth and counter-acting some of the negative effects of having missing teeth.

Dentures in particular are widely used and popular as they act as prosthetics that can replace several teeth, as many as a full arch where necessary. Traditional dentures did carry with some restrictions however, and these detracted from the functionality offered by these otherwise effective artificial teeth. Dental implants were developed as tools with which dentures can be stabilised to overcome some of the issues associated with their use, and in this article we look at those limitations and how dental implants can overcome through the provision of added stability.

Drawbacks of dentures and the need for stability

It has been many years since the development of early dentures, and since then countless variants on the original technology have been developed. Dentures are now available in a number of different designs, shapes, and materials, each with their own benefits to make for a market rich in choices for anyone looking for dentures.

Dentures provide artificial teeth which are supported against the gums and can be used to chew a lot of foods. Unfortunately, they are not fully stable when applied on their own, which restricts the range of foods a person with dentures has available to them. Without stability, dentures will slip and slide when harder or chewier foods are masticated, and this detracts from the overall experience provided by dentures.

This sliding and slipping is also known to aggravate the gums, causing a discomfort characteristic of dentures if inappropriate foods are eaten.

Moreover while dentures are fixed to some extent to the gums, they do not have any access to the jawbone beneath. This is important because our natural teeth have an important role in stimulating the jawbone through their regular use. The pressure transmitted to the jawbone from teeth and through their roots is part of a signalling process that prevents the body from scavenging what it would consider unused bone.

Without regular stimulation of the jawbone then it will undergo a resorption, a bodily process which harvests what the body deems as ‘unused’ bone for use elsewhere.

These drawbacks of dentures are addressed by the stabilising effect offered by dental implants, and this will be discussed in the following section, as well as how this important effect is achieved.  

Dental implants and their stabilising effect on dentures

The stabilising effect of implants is provided through a linkage between implant and denture. The implants themselves are embedded into the jawbone, acting as ‘roots’ for dentures. The two will be linked through abutments of some kind, and once in place, the denture will benefit from having a solid linkage to the strong framework of the jawbone. This prevents any excessive movement of the denture through chewing or biting, and grants it greater functionality. This stability also prevents the discomfort caused by dentures rubbing against the gums discussed in the previous section.

Implants can also address the aforementioned issue of bone resorption. By mimicking tooth roots, dental implants transmit signals to the jawbone that sustain the bone and prevent its resorption. This has the added benefit of contributing to the overall stability of denture, implant, and jaw as the jawbone is reinforced, or at the very least, prevented from losing important structural bone.

Dental implants provide dentures with a very important functional role in stabilising dentures. Through their actions in this regard, dentures can be used more extensively and will feel more comfortable. The procedure is costly and time consuming however, and so the decision to pursue dental implants should be taken with time and consideration. Talking to your dentist about the option and its suitability for you is a great way to find out whether implants can really benefit you.

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