Thinking of getting full-mouth dental implants? Dental implants have become the gold standard for replacing missing teeth. This applies not only to one single missing tooth but to multiple teeth and even a full mouth.
You probably remember watching your grandparents wearing dentures that would fall from their mouths. This usually happens at the most inconvenient moments. Although it might seem funny as little kids, it is something that you don’t want to experience.
Luckily, I can help you prevent these moments with full arch permanent teeth replacements. I specialize in full-mouth dental implants here in San Diego.
Read more: Complete Guide to Missing Tooth and Teeth Replacement Options
Using dental implants to anchor a denture or prosthetic restoration helps to make it more comfortable and stable. Meaning that it won’t move or dislodge from your mouth while eating or talking.
However, it is not as simple as placing some implants and sitting the denture on top. There are different implant placement techniques and types of dentures. And knowing the difference between each of them is a crucial element in deciding which is your best option.
Therefore, today I will talk about each of your options, going through their characteristics, general information, and procedures so you can decide what is best for you.
What is a Denture?
As the name suggests, dentures are prosthetic restorations that replace all the teeth in a dental arch.
Traditionally, an acrylic base and artificial teeth make up these prostheses. Their base is designed to mimic the gums and hold the prosthetic teeth in place. On the other hand, the teeth can be made of different materials, such as acrylic or resin.
These prosthetic appliances are aesthetic solutions that allow you to smile, eat, and speak naturally after losing all of your teeth.
However, its biggest flaw is how it sits in your mouth. Dentures are not permanently fixed; instead, you can easily remove them with your hands. Each prosthesis is tailor-made to fit your mouth. The base follows the same shape as your gums.
Placing the prosthesis over your gums creates a vacuum suction effect that helps it stay in place. Unfortunately, the shape of the gums and underlying bone changes over time. This causes the prosthesis to loosen, making it harder to remain in place.
Furthermore, some patients even rely on special glues to prevent the dentures from falling. This is a big problem, especially with the lower prosthesis.
The reason behind it is that the anatomy of the jaw bone doesn’t allow for good suction. As a result, dentists constantly face challenges when dealing with these situations.
However, placing dental implants under the prosthesis became a practical solution to this frequent issue among denture users.
How Do Implants Work With A Denture?
The concept is quite simple. The teeth implants act as anchors for the prosthesis instead of the suction effect.
Although this can increase cost and the time it takes to deliver the final product, it gives more stability and prevents it from falling off.
Read more: Your Ultimate Guide to Cost of Dental Implants in San Diego
Prostheses over full-mouth dental implants are designed differently. They possess special appliances on the base to attach or screw to the dental implants.
Furthermore, the base doesn’t have to cover as many gums as a regular prosthetic denture. This is because mostly the retention is given by the implants.
Lastly, the type of prosthesis placed on full-mouth dental implants can be made of different materials, such as resin and zirconium.
Types of Prosthetic Dentures to Use with Full-Mouth Dental Implants
It is essential to understand that different types of dentures or restoration can be placed over full-mouth dental implants.
They can be divided into 2 major groups:
- Type 1: Overdentures
- Type 2: Fixed Bridges
Moreover, fixed bridges can be divided into 4 subtypes:
- Fixed hybrid bridge
- All-on-4 dental implants
- Zirconia fixed bridge
- Pekkton fixed bridge
Understanding these alternatives will help you determine which one will suit you better and why.
Type 1: Overdentures
You could think about denture implants as an upgrade to traditional prosthetic dentures. This type of denture is commonly known as snap-in denture or overdenture, and they usually rest on top of four dental implants.
The term snap-in denture comes from the specialized property that allows it to be freely removed. This type of prosthesis acts similar to a snap button. It possesses special appliances at the base that plugs into the dental implant to fix them while you wear them.
Usually, this type of prosthesis is supported by a locator. The locator is a clip attachment that sits on top of the implant and over the gums. This attachment plugs in the connection on the base to snap.
Therefore, you can enjoy the benefit of having a more stable prosthesis while also being able to remove it whenever you want. This makes the cleaning process easier and simpler.
However, it is essential to understand that the clip attachment on the dental implant must be replaced. This process is usually performed once a year and happens because the attachments wear out due to constant snapping.
Why Choose Overdentures?
There are multiple benefits to opting for a snap-in denture.
Snap-in dentures can be freely removed anytime you want. This allows you to remove it to clean it thoroughly outside the mouth such as after every meal.
You can wash it using fresh water, soap, and a brush while ensuring every portion of the prosthesis is clean. Moreover, you can clean the base properly and your gums around the implants to prevent peri-implantitis.
Peri-implantitis is a condition caused by bacteria that affects the tissues around the dental implant. It can destroy said tissues and make your full-mouth dental implant treatment fail.
Easy to fix:
Snap-in dentures are made of the same acrylic as traditional prosthetic dentures. As a result, if a tooth on the prosthesis breaks or pops out, I can effortlessly fix it.
I once received a patient who called me on a Sunday night because the frontal tooth on his denture broke after biting a caramelized apple. The next day, I just took off the broken tooth, mixed some acrylic, and replaced it with a new one. He walked out of the office with his prosthesis fixed after a few minutes.
I can also place a couple of extra implants to replace your snap-in denture with a fixed bridge afterward.
Healthy for your bone:
Losing your teeth causes the bone to begin a resorption process. This means that it loses density, and its size constantly decreases. Therefore, reducing the amount of bone in your jaw.
However, the acrylic at the prosthesis base acts as a cushion. When you bite with your snap-in denture, your full-mouth dental implants and the acrylic base receive the forces. This helps the bone remain healthy and prevents resorption from happening.
Lower cost alternative:
Although you constantly need to pay for a clip attachment replacement as they wear out, it is still the cheaper alternative. The cost of full-mouth dental implants widely varies among the different types of prostheses. This is determined by the materials used in each case.
Snap-in dentures are mainly made of acrylic. Although it is a resistant material and offers natural-looking results, they are made from less expensive material than the ones used on fixed bridges. Therefore, the cost is usually lower.
Is Overdentures The Correct Choice For You?
Snap-in dentures are a great alternative if you just want a slightly upgraded version of a traditional prosthetic denture. You are still able to remove them to clean them. Also, you get the stability the implant offers.
On the contrary, the other alternatives are better if you want your prosthesis to be permanently fixed.
Those options are more expensive. However, you can get snap-in dentures as a starting point if you can’t afford them. Afterward, you can upgrade it to a fixed bridge once you save money.
Type 2: Fixed Bridges
As the name suggests, fixed bridges on full-mouth dental implants are permanently fixed in your mouth. However, it doesn’t mean it is forever. A dentist can take them off in the office at any given time. It only requires unscrewing the screws that keep the fixed bridge in place.
As a result, it feels more natural since you don’t have to take them off. Furthermore, it is impossible to accidentally dislodge it from your mouth.
However, it also means that you have to be more cautious with your oral health. You have to clean it inside your mouth like you used to brush your teeth. You also need to make sure to use special floss to clean the inward portion of the denture. Food and plaque can build up between your gums and the denture.
Although the implant can’t develop cavities, the surrounding tissues are vulnerable to bacteria present in dental plaque. These bacteria can affect your dental implants.
Therefore, flossing is mandatory to prevent issues with the implant.
As I mentioned before, there are 3 types of fixed bridges. Each one possesses unique characteristics that must be understood before deciding which one to get.
Fixed Bridge Option 1: Hybrid Fixed Bridge
One of the key differences between fixed bridges and snap-in dentures is their structure.
Hybrid fixed bridges are called this way due to the mixture of materials in the elements they possess. And, unlike traditional prosthetic dentures, these prostheses have a metallic frame inside the base. Additionally, they are made entirely of plastic materials, such as resin and acrylic.
The elements present in a hybrid fixed bridge are the following:
First, we design and create a resistant metal alloy or titanium body. This last material is highly biocompatible. This means that it is unlikely to cause an adverse reaction, such as a metal allergy.
The metallic frame is like the skeleton of the denture. It binds the base and the teeth together and anchors them to the full-mouth dental implants.
Fake gums or base:
This is the portion that is in contact with your gums. It is designed to mimic your gums to create a natural-looking result.
Besides, it also covers the metallic frame to prevent any gray elements from showing while smiling or speaking. Artificial gums are usually made from acrylic or composite resin, the same material used in fillings. However, this type is not tooth-colored but pink.
Teeth are the most essential element of the denture. They can be made out of composite resin or acrylic and, in some cases, porcelain.
These teeth are usually not custom-made like a typical dental crown. At Blyss Dental, we select top teeth manufacturers that have the right size, color, and shape for your facial features.
The number of teeth that a hybrid fixed bridge can hold depends on your case condition. However, they usually possess between 12 and 14 teeth.
Moreover, I usually require several dental implants to be able to withstand a denture this long. Therefore, full-mouth dental implants with a hybrid fixed bridge traditionally involves placing between 4 or 8 implants per jaw.
They are also referred to as All-on-6 dental implants (6 implants per jaw) and All-on-8 dental implants (8 implants per jaw).
Why Get A Hybrid Fixed Bridge?
Getting hybrid fixed bridges in Del Mar city in San Diego gives you many advantages, such as:
Having an All-on-6 or All-on-8 dental implant permanently fixed can make you feel like having your old teeth. Also, having the prosthesis permanently fixed is enough to make it feel more natural and helps you get comfortable with them faster.
Furthermore, they possess thinner artificial gums due to the vast number of implants placed inside the bone.
Better food taste:
A significant advantage of fixed bridges is their lack of a palate portion. Therefore, leaving taste buds on the palate uncovered.
Traditional upper dentures possess an acrylic layer that covers most of the palate. However, this layer is unnecessary on fixed bridges since they are retained with implants. Therefore, these dentures are designed with a horseshoe shape without the palate layer.
This is relevant because taste buds are not just present on your tongue. They are also on your palate. Therefore, leaving them exposed while wearing a denture allows you to taste your food better.
Is Hybrid Fixed Bridge The Best Option For You?
If you want comfort and your prosthesis to be permanently fixed, then a hybrid fixed bridge is your best option.
The amount of implants that we can place to support this type of prosthesis allows you to have a complete set of 14 teeth. This makes the prosthesis feel more natural and similar to your original teeth.
You can think of hybrid fixed bridges as an intermediate version that combines and balances good aesthetic properties, durability, and stability. This is the right choice if you have good bone quality and don’t want to spend extra money on a zirconia fixed bridge for its extra benefits.
Thinking of getting a fixed bridge? Book your complimentary consultation with us now.
Fixed Bridge Option 2: All-on-4 Dental Implants
All-on-4 dental implants have the same structure as hybrid fixed bridges. Moreover, this full-mouth dental implant alternative is highly requested due to its characteristics.
It consists of placing a fixed bridge on top of 4 dental implants. However, this is a specialized technique, and not every denture over 4 implants can be considered All-on-4.
The difference resides in the position of the implants. Usually, the quality of the bone in the back of the mouth is not optimal for placing implants. Therefore, some procedures such as bone grafts are often necessary before dental implant placement.
However, on All-on-4, the implants are placed closer to the front of your mouth. Moreover, the back implants are not placed in a vertical position but inclined at a certain angle. This allows fixing a prosthesis without the need for a bone graft.
It is vital to understand that All-on-4 dental implants usually have only 10-12 teeth per jaw due to the implant positions.
Read more: Top Dental Implant Brands in San Diego
Why are All-on-4 Implants Popular?
All-on-4 dental implants possess a few unique features that turn them into a great alternative:
Teeth in a day:
One of its main benefits is the “teeth in a day” property. Unlike the other alternatives, with All-on-4 dental implants, I can attach an immediate denture to the implants right after placing them.
An immediate denture is a temporary denture that you can wear while your gums and bone heal after the implant surgery.
Usually, with the other types of full-mouth dental implants, you need to use a regular denture through the 3 to 4 months healing process. However, All-on-4 allows you to wear a temporary prosthesis already fixed on your implants.
Yet, it is worth mentioning that you must keep a soft diet throughout the first month after the surgery to avoid harming your implants.
No need for extra surgery:
You often don’t need to perform a bone graft on the back of the mouth. All thanks to the characteristics and position of the implants. This saves you from additional surgery and time.
Is All-On-4 What You Need?
Before choosing an All-on-4, there are a few things to consider.
All-on-4 is your best option if your bone quality and quantity on the back of your mouth are not ideal. This allows you to get prostheses without extra surgery. Furthermore, you can also get full-arch prostheses attached to the implants on the same day.
But, this also means that your prosthesis will only have 10-12 teeth instead of the full 14 per jaw. This can make them feel less natural and be less comfortable while chewing.
Nonetheless, consider that some implant alternatives are stronger than others. Fixes hybrid prosthesis implants, for example, have more stability and resistance due to their vertical design. All-on-4 implants, on the other hand, are placed at 30 to 40-degree angles.
Also, keep in mind that All-on-4 is the only option that allows you to wear a fixed bridge instead of a regular prosthetic denture through the healing process.
Fixed Bridge Option 3: Zirconia Fixed Bridge
This type of prosthesis is made entirely of zirconia, a ceramic material used in implants and other prostheses.
Zirconia is an exceptionally durable and resistant material. But, as with other aspects of life, this also means the cost is higher.
Still, zirconia fixed bridges offer excellent aesthetic properties and customization. I can design the teeth and adjust all the little details on a computer.
However, it comes with a downside. Zirconia is strong, but also heavy. Therefore, you require excellent bone quality for your full-mouth dental implants to carry the weight of the denture.
Why Pay More For A Zirconia Fixed Bridge?
Resistance and hygiene are some of the benefits of zirconia fixed bridges:
Protection against bacteria:
Zirconia offers a glass-like finish with fewer micropores than other materials. This prevents bacteria from building up around it and makes it easier for you to keep it clean.
You should be able to keep your zirconia denture for a long time as long as you practice good oral care.
Zirconia doesn’t only have a superior finish, but it is also less likely to stain.
Therefore, you can eat more food rich in dark pigments such as coffee, red wine, and beets without the risk of discoloration or stains in your denture. But this doesn’t mean that you should not clean it after eating.
Zirconia is a durable material that can withstand impact without breaking or chipping. Therefore, you can eat with a zirconia denture for a long time without the teeth wearing out.
Should you get a zirconia fixed bridge?
This type of prosthesis is the most expensive option, but also the best quality one.
When it comes to dentistry, getting a zirconia fixed bridge can be compared to buying a luxury car. If you want the best alternative with the best characteristics overall, then this is the right option for you.
I will design it to perfectly match your facial characteristics and offer the most natural results possible. It can be tailor-made to perfection since it is highly customizable.
However, luxury comes with a price and this option is more expensive than the other ones. Also, not everyone is a good candidate for these prostheses due to the need for optimal bone quality.
Therefore, you should opt for the other alternatives if your bone is not strong enough to withstand the weight of the prosthesis, even if the cost is not an issue.
Fixed Bridge Option 4: Pekkton Fixed Bridge
This is the newest alternative for implant-supported prosthetic dentures. It is made using high-end materials.
These fixed bridges replace the metallic frame of the hybrid fixed bridge with one made of Pekkton.
Pekkton is a high-performance polymer. This means that it can withstand forces without suffering any damage. Moreover, it has been recently added to the list of available materials for multiple implant procedures.
In addition to its great mechanical properties, Pekkton works as the prosthesis base and frame. Despite its original gray coloration, we use a special resin to cover the base to mimic the gum’s color perfectly.
Why Is This New Material Special?
Pekkton is a versatile material that offers many benefits when used as a frame for a prosthesis, such as:
This material behaves and has similar characteristics to the human bone. This allows it to withstand the biting forces and absorb them without damaging the underlying tissues or causing discomfort.
Pekkton is extremely light when compared to other fixed bridge alternatives such as fixed zirconia bridges. This provides a more natural result as the prosthesis doesn’t feel heavy on the mouth.
Should You Go For This New Trend?
Pekkton fixed bridge combines the best characteristics of each type of fixed bridge into one.
This is a great alternative if you want the stability of a fixed hybrid bridge without additional metals. The teeth on the frame can be made of zirconia. This provides an outstanding aesthetic result while still being lightweight due to the lack of a metallic or full zirconia frame.
Lastly, your dentist can place it on 4-6 implants depending on the case.
If you want the latest technology, then a Pekkton fixed bridge is what you need.
If you have lost all your teeth, you can replace them using full-mouth dental implants. There are multiple options, and you can choose the one that suits you the best according to your case and needs.
You can opt for All-on-4 dental implants if the bone quality in your molar areas is not the best. You could choose a zirconia fixed bridge if you want better aesthetics. Furthermore, you can also select a snap-in denture if you do not desire your denture fixed. Opt for a Pekkton fixed bridge if you want the best of all features for whole mouth implants.
Regardless of the case, our team will be more than ready to provide you with the best treatment and the most natural results.
If you are looking for the best full-mouth dental implants in San Diego, contact us at Blyss Dental to choose your best alternative.
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