What are the options for replacing all of my teeth?


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There are many different options for full arch replacements (replacing all the teeth in one jaw).  The options are conventional dentures, implant supported dentures, and implant supported full bridges.

The conventional dentures are the least expensive option, the implant supported dentures considerably more, and implant supported bridges most expensive.  You can choose the most convenient option for you, taking in consideration costs, time and what makes you feel better.

Conventional Dentures

Conventional dentures are a good economical option for replacement teeth.  There are some very natural looking options these days, as well as flexible rubber-base dentures that are much more comfortable to wear than traditional dentures.  However, dentures can be uncomfortable to wear, especially initially, and are difficult to eat certain foods with.  Also, the loss of bone that accompanies conventional dentures leads to recession of the jawbone and a collapsed, sunken looking smile over time.

Typically, following extraction of your teeth, temporary or "healing dentures" will be given to you, though they should not be worn all the time so the gums can properly hear.   Temporary dentures can be worn long-term; some patients wear them for several years, but you will want to return to have the better quality permanent dentures crafted, which can only be made when the gums are fully healed after several months.

Implant Supported Removable & Fixed Hybrid Dentures

Implant-supported dentures provide several advantages over conventional dentures: they look and function more like natural teeth and are designed to be long lasting.  Implant-supported dentures also are much more comfortable and far more stable than conventional dentures, allowing you to retain a more natural biting and chewing capacity.  Typically, implant supported dentures are fixed with 2-4 implants for the lower arch, and 4-6 implants for the upper arch.  The dentures can be either removable or a fixed hybrid denture.  The removable dentures require fewer implants and are less expensive.  Fixed hybrid dentures generally require more implants and are more expensive that removable dentures but are also more stable, comfortable and natural looking.

Implant Supported Full Arch Bridges

Implant supported bridges are the most aesthetic option, have the greatest stability and strength, and are fixed in place just like normal healthy teeth.  They are very strong and allow for full chewing capacity of all foods.  They are meant to last for a lifetime with proper care and maintenance.  Typically, implant supported bridges are fixed with 4-8 implants for the upper and lower arches.  

With implant-supported full bridges and implant supported dentures, the bone is better preserved since the implants will replace some of your tooth roots.  This keeps the bone healthy and intact and preserves the structure of your face and your natural smile.  In a typical case, implant supported dentures or bridges can be finished in two separate trips about 4-6 months apart. The first visit, extractions are done if required, the implants placed, and temporary dentures given. This usually requires a stay of about 7-9 days.   After the 4-6 month period during which time the implants heal and solidify themselves into your bone, you would return to have the bridges and permanent dentures with attachments fitted.  This trip generally takes about 7-14 days.

However, in order to be a candidate for implants, there needs to be enough bone in the jaw to support the placement of the implants.  Bone grafts can be done to replace atrophied bone for implant placement, but this does add time and expense.  In order to determine the best options for your case as well as the potential costs and time required, you will need to be examined in person at the clinic. However, you can have a preliminary determination of your case if you are able to send over full-mouth panoramic x-rays for evaluation.

Rossarin Phinyowan

My passion is travel and researching my next destination. I am a medical/travel writer and currently write content for Dental and Medical Departures.
To get in touch with this author, or for more info regarding this article, please contact us at author@dentaldepartures.com

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This article is meant for information purposes only and is not intended to be dental advice or instructions for dental diagnosis or treatment. Please consult with your dentist or a qualified dental professional before starting or changing dental treatment