Dentures Can Do More Than Replace Your Teeth

Successful Dentures Can Improve Your Emotional and Mental Health
How important are dentures? A study published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) concluded that people who lost all their teeth became much sadder, less confident, less social, and less willing to form close personal relationships. A different study that was also published by the NIH concluded that adjusting to dentures was just as much of an adjustment as marriage, retirement, and a new job.

Fortunately, dental technology has improved so much in recent years that there’s far less to worry about than there used to be. Even more fortunately, dentists and hygienists such as those who work for Madison Dental Health Partners in Madison, Ind., have been trained in the newest dental options and techniques.

More importantly, the dental professionals at Madison Dental Health Partners are very compassionate and empathetic toward people with dental and denture phobia. They are great listeners who also know how to give comfort and advice.

Mini-Implants Vs. Standard Implants

The most important development in dentures over the past several years, including complete dentures, has been the increasing use of mini-implants.

Standard implants remain an excellent option for many people who need complete dentures, but RDH Magazine (RDH is an abbreviation for Registered Dental Hygienist) reported in a 2012 article entitled “Mini Dental Implants: Life-Changing Options For Denture Patients” that they are “not a viable option” for patients who don’t have enough bones in their jaw to anchor standard implants. People who need complete dentures are more likely to have a bone problem in their jaw if they have already been wearing partial dentures for a long time.

Patients whose bone levels are inadequate can still get standard implants if they have a bone graft, but the procedure can be very expensive. In addition, standard implants that include bone grafts can be very traumatic to patients and can require months of healing.

The advent of mini-implants within the past 10 to 15 years has been very beneficial to people who need complete dentures. They’re called mini-implants because they can be half the size of standard implants, which are about 3.75 mm, or about one-seventh of an inch. The mini-implant procedure is less invasive, less expensive, and less time-consuming than the standard implant procedure, but its primary advantage is that it can be used on patients who previously required substantial medical care before getting an implant.

“While many edentulous (toothless) patients do not have adequate bone levels for standard implants, the bone requirements for mini-implants are significantly lower,” reports the RDH Magazine article. “Additionally, patients who are turned off by the time required for traditional implants are often very excited to hear that mini-implants often can be placed and loaded in just one day.”

“Pros and Cons of Mini Dental Implants: Dispelling Common Myths” reports that mini-implants have more pros than cons, including the fact that their much smaller diameter means that “the torque forces needed to install them under compression are tolerable to the surrounding bone.” This means that less bone is removed, the operation is less painful, and the recovery time is so short that the mini-implants can be used “right away.”

However, mini-implants can’t be used at all if the significantly lower bone requirements aren’t met. They’re also not recommended for patients who grind their teeth regularly. In addition, standard implants have stability and longevity advantages over mini-implants, according to “Mini Dental Implants vs. Regular Implants: How They Work.”

Numerous sources can give you detailed and technical descriptions of mini-implants and standard implants, including “Mini Dental Implants vs. Regular Implants: How They Work.” Madison Dental Health Partners describes the techniques this way: “The mini-implants are a single piece with a ball attachment, much like a trailer hitch. If you snap a denture into four mini-implant ball attachments, you get a solid hold. The standard implants, after healing, will be loaded with a Locator brand attachment. Locator attachments are flat and they have a snap-on housing much like the mini-implants, but with the broader attachment surface and the stronger implant, you get a stronger hold. Both implant options are sufficient to hold a denture in place.”

Of course, every patient is different. That’s why Madison Dental Health Partners offers free consultations for people who are considering complete dentures. The consultation includes a dental examination and an information session about treatment options. More information about Madison’s dentures services as well as office hours and contact information is available here. You can also schedule an appointment via the website.

Whether you decide on mini-implants or standard implants, you should know that dental implants can dramatically improve the quality of your life. Here is a list of the benefits of dental implants provided by the American Academy of Implant Dentistry. We hope to see you soon.