Dentures are no longer the only option for replacing all of your teeth. If your teeth are badly decayed and need to be extracted, or you're replacing your old dentures, your dentist might also discuss full mouth or full arch dental implants as an alternative.
Read more about the pros and cons of both treatments to get an idea of which might be the best way to replace your missing teeth.
What are full mouth dental implants?
Unlike traditional dental implants that support an individual tooth or a bridge of several teeth, full arch implants work like dentures to replace a complete arch (row) of teeth at once.
The procedure is also less invasive than for standard implants, with fewer appointments needed and fewer clinical risks.
How do full arch implants work?
Depending on the condition of your jaw, your dentist may use 4 or 6 implants to support all of your upper or lower teeth. These are inserted at an angle, so they don't go as deep into the jaw as standard implants and require less surgery.
In some cases, the procedure may be completed in just 1 or 2 visits. Unlike traditional implants, you don't need to wait months for the implant to fuse with the bone before your new bridge or dentures can be placed.
Pros and cons of full mouth implants
- A stable foundation for replacement teeth
- May be completed in a single visit or several visits
- You don't have to give up your favourite foods
- Dental implants can last a lifetime with good care
- Involves surgery
- Initial cost is higher than for dentures
Am I eligible for implants?
Most people are candidates for full arch implants, as long as you have good oral health. If your dentist spots signs of gum disease or an infection, this will need to be treated first, as it could affect the success of the implant treatment.
Unlike traditional implants that require a strong jaw for support, full arch implants are positioned at angles and may also be supported by the skull. This means you could be suitable for full mouth implants even if you're not a candidate for standard implants or bone grafting.
Are there any risks?
Dental implants have a high success rate, but every surgical or invasive procedure has risks. Your dentist will explain the possible complications of implant surgery to make sure you have all the information you need to make your decision.
These risks may include infections or damage around the surgical site or sinus problems for upper jaw implants that enter the sinus cavity. You can lower the risk of complications and improve your chance of a speedy recovery by following your dentist's advice, eating soft foods, keeping the site clean and not smoking.
How much do dental implants cost?
Permanent dental implants cost more than removable dentures, but they're likely to last longer. As long as you take good care of your oral health, implants could last a lifetime.
The cost of dental implants depends on how many you need, whether you're replacing just your upper or lower teeth or all of your teeth and other considerations. Your dentist can give you a quote during your initial consultation and discuss the payment plans they offer, so you can decide if implants are the right choice for you.
Modern dentures look just like natural teeth. They're designed by your dentist to be a perfect fit for your mouth.
Full dentures replace a whole arch of teeth. If you only need to replace a few teeth, partial dentures can fill the gaps between your remaining teeth.
How do full dentures work?
Your dentist can design your dentures to look like your old teeth, or you can modify your smile. No surgery is involved in placing dentures, but you may need extractions if you have some teeth remaining. Your dentist will wait until your gums heal before they measure your mouth and create your new dentures.
Full dentures are attached to the mouth by suction, with upper dentures attaching to the roof of the mouth and lower dentures resting on the gum. You can combine implants and dentures to provide a more stable foundation, if you prefer removable dentures over a fixed bridge of teeth.
Pros and cons of dentures
- No need for surgery
- Cheaper than implants
- Easier to repair if damaged
- Require more maintenance than implants
- Need to be replaced every few years
- You may have to make some dietary or lifestyle changes
Am I eligible for dentures?
There's no age limit for dentures, which can replace a few teeth or all of your teeth. As no surgery is involved (unless you need complex extractions), dentures should be an option even if you have a health condition that means you're not eligible for dental implants.
Dentures are higher maintenance than implants, however. They need to be cleaned at least once a day to remove leftover food and bacteria that could cause gum disease and bad breath.
Are there any risks?
There are no surgical complications from having dentures fitted, but it usually takes a few weeks for the mouth to adjust to how dentures feel. Your dentist will advise you about any foods you should avoid to prevent damaging or staining your dentures.
How much do dentures cost?
Dentures are cheaper than dental implants initially, but as they need to be replaced every few years, they could cost more in the long term. You'll also need to buy denture maintenance products.
The cost of dentures depends on the type you choose and whether you also need any extractions or other procedures. Your dentist will give you an idea of the price during your consultation.
Talk to a dentist in Brisbane
To find out more about dental implants, dentures and other ways to replace your teeth or restore your smile, contact Swish Dental clinics in Brisbane. We have locations in Everton Park and Mitchelton.
Healthdirect. Dental implant procedure [Online] 2019 [Accessed January 2020] Available from: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/dental-implant
Healthdirect. Dentures [Online] 2019 [Accessed January 2020] Available from: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/dentures