Denture Stabilisation using Dental Implants

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Dental implants are one of the most important provisions of modern dentistry, offering people who would otherwise suffer from the discomfort and inconvenience of tooth loss an alternative which, in many ways, mimics the structures and functions of natural teeth. In this article we look at how dental implants achieve their primary and most important function, the stabilisation of artificial teeth.

Dental implants

Each implant acts as an artificial tooth root, mimicking a structure that we don’t see but is nonetheless vital to a healthy mouth. Each tooth in your mouth has a root which runs beneath the gum to the jawbone beneath, and the root plays a number of vital roles. It has a structural part to play, anchoring the tooth and giving it the capacity to bite with strength and withstand tougher foodstuffs. It is also innervated with blood vessels and nerves, both of which are needed for good health.

Losing a tooth and its roots can have far reaching consequences on the function of the mouth, how it feels, and its overall health. When a tooth is replaced, whether by a crown or by dentures, the use of an implant can provide stability, durability, and perhaps most importantly, a level of comfort and ease of use which can make replacement teeth feel far closer to the natural original.

Dental implants also preserve the jawbone by mimicking the action of a natural tooth root. Interestingly enough, the jawbone is actually a dynamic structure which responds to pressure exerted through the tooth and root when we bite and chew. These actions, and more specifically the pressure they exert on the jawbone, act as a signal that maintains the amount of bone therein, also referred to as bone density. When we lose a tooth, the loss of this signal can result in a process called resorption, where signals indicating that the same density of bone is no longer needed trigger a process which breaks down bone and reabsorbs it into the body. This loss of bone density can be prevented with dental implants, which transmit a ‘maintenance’ signal through artificial teeth to the bone beneath.

Implants are used to support a range of different prosthetics, most typically crowns and dentures. There are a wide range of different implants available, and prominent examples include all-on-4 implants (which make use of only 4 implants per arch of teeth), and there is perhaps a more extensive selection of prosthetics which can be fixed to these implants.

Implants are typically made out of titanium, a robust but lightweight metal which is used in a variety of different implant or replacement procedures like replacement knees and hips. The use of these has proven extremely effective, and similarly titanium dental implants have proven an invaluable tool. Titanium is also popular as it does not react with living tissues and cells to cause adverse reactions, an important safety consideration whenever an implant of any type is being installed.

Dental implants are an extremely important part of modern dentistry, offering people with missing or lost teeth access to more reliable, comfortable, and functional prosthetics. Dentures used without implants have restricted their users’ comfort and diet, and need to be removed regularly for cleaning and maintenance. As such the use of dental implants can offer huge benefits to users from all walks of life.

Why do artificial teeth need to be stabilised?

Prosthetic or false teeth have been used for many, many years now, and in the technology’s early days many prosthetics were limited in terms of their function and longevity. These early fittings, which include many full and partial dentures, would need to be removed regularly for attentive cleaning and maintenance.

These dentures would also often slide off their positions on the gums, particularly when in contact with foods that are harder to chew. This was a major limitation and discomfort that would restrict the dietary habits of patients bearing these dentures. Moreover this instability would cause discomfort, and in some cases pain, as the dentures would rub against the gums underneath.

These dentures wouldn’t counteract one of the major problems associated with tooth loss: the resorption of the jawbone. Our bones are actually fairly dynamic structures, and without regular use they are subject to a process called resorption, where the body harvests bone material for use elsewhere, leaving a structure like the jaw with diminished jaw density.

The loss of a tooth results in the loss of a signal indicating to the body that the jawbone is being used. This signal is essentially transmitted through regular use of the tooth, which results in a pressure being exerted on the jawbone indicating that it is being used.

How are artificial teeth stabilised?

Dental implants essentially act as artificial roots, anchoring dentures or crowns to the jawbone, and thereby keeping them stable and alleviating a lot of the discomfort and limitations associated with older dentures and prosthetics.

Key to this is the process by which dental implants are placed into the mouth. Each implant is placed in a pre-drilled socket in the jawbone, where it will be left for several months until the site has completely healed and the implant has undergone a process called osseointegration. This term describes the fusion of the titanium implant to the surrounding bone to form a stable structure to which dentures and crowns can be attached.

There are a variety of different implant techniques, but all of them aim to form a stable implant-bone structure which can hold dentures in place for long periods of time. The stability offered by this technology can last a lifetime if properly maintained, and has provided countless people with missing teeth access to a more comfortable and natural feeling dental prosthesis.

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