Are Full-Mouth Dental Implants Right For You? What You Need to Know

If you're like most people, you believe that appearance matters for professional as well as personal matters. You probably also value function as well as form—after all, a mouthful of straight, gleaming white teeth won't do you much good if they perform poorly in matters such as chewing your food. If all or most of your teeth are missing or decayed to the extent that your dentist thinks they should be removed, you may be considering dentures.

You've probably heard of implants, but you may associate them with situations where the dental patient only needs one or two teeth replaced. However, full-mouth dental implants may be an alternative to dentures. Here's what you need to know about them:

Full-Mouth Implants Provide Superior Functionality

One of the major problems with traditional dentures is that they don't work like natural teeth. They slip, which may make it difficult to properly chew your food. In extreme cases, dentures may even fall out while trying to enjoy a meal, which has the potential to cause a great deal of embarrassment in social situations. Dentures must also be removed at night and soaked in a special cleaning solution before being put back in the next morning. Furthermore, your bite will change over the years, which means that your dentures will have to be refitted from time to time.

Because implants are installed on titanium posts that mimic the functionality of tooth roots, refitting them won't be necessary, and they won't slip or fall out. Even though advances in dental technology have made it possible for dentures themselves to present a more natural appearance, implants look more like natural teeth. 

Dental Implants Require Adequate Bone Tissue

As mentioned previously, dental implants involve the installation of titanium posts that serves the same function as a natural tooth root. Titanium is used because it has superior biocompatibility with human tissues compared with other metals. For the posts to be successfully installed, the patient must have adequate bone tissue and must have reached an age where their bone tissue has stopped growing. 

In the absence of enough bone tissue, it may be possible for a dental surgeon to perform bone grafting. However, this procedure involves months to fully complete, and patients must be nonsmokers in relatively good health. An alternative to bone grafting may be subperiosteal implants, which lie on top of the bone tissue rather than being held in place by titanium posts. However, the failure complication rates of subperiosteal implants tend to be high. Your dentist can advise you on whether this specific dental implant treatment is right for you. 

Full-Mouth Dental Implants are a Multi-Step Process

Dental implants are installed in separate stages, and the amount of time it takes for the procedure to be complete is increased by those requiring bone grafting because of the time it takes for the grafts to become strong enough to hold the titanium posts. Whether the patient has a bone graft or has enough natural bone material, it can take anywhere from six weeks to three months for the titanium implants to bond with the bone tissue to the extent that the crowns can be installed.

Caring for Full-Mouth Implants is Similar to Caring for Natural Teeth

Those who receive full-mouth implants must make a strong commitment to oral hygiene. Even though the crowns aren't made of living tissue like natural teeth are, they can still be damaged by bacterial buildup, and more importantly, your gums can be damaged. Brushing and flossing regularly just like you would with natural teeth helps keep these issues at bay. Crowns generally require using low-abrasion toothpaste, and dental floss is available for use by those with full-mouth implants.