A cheaper, fixed but removable option.
What do we normally relate to the elderly? First, of course, is the proverbial ‘advice’ they like to give us young people. Second, their lack of teeth and that imagery of denture removal and popping them into a glass filled with water before bedtime. Albeit funny and adorable in some ways, we ‘young people’ with strong teeth don’t realise how much of a nuisance dentures can be. Problems related to dentures include gum and mouth irritation caused by dentures sitting on soft tissue, difficulty eating and speaking (they can pop out anytime), denture mobility and mouth infections.
What if there was a way for patients to enjoy the hygienic qualities of dentures while reducing mobility and mouth irritations? Today, we will talk about a variation to the implant called a removable locator with an abutment. Like traditional implants, the abutment is placed in the mouth where it serves as a retention point and allows support for a removable denture. With denture supported implants, the denture is clicked in and rests on top of the implant as opposed to the soft tissue of the gums. With denture supportive implants, patients benefit from minimal denture discomfort and enjoy cheaper implant costs with improved oral hygiene.
We asked Consultant Orthodontist, Implantologist and Aesthetic Laser Dentist, Dato’ Dr. How Kim Chuan from the Imperial Dental Specialist Centre about this novel device and why he believes this could be a great option for patients who prefer removable teeth on a budget.
Dato’ Dr. How says that with this variation on the implant, patients have the option of removing their dentures, cleaning them and clicking them back into place. Apart from denture security and reduced mobility during conversation and food, these implants are only half the price as compared to implant retained bridges.
“Fixed bridges are expensive because we will have to use porcelain teeth and each tooth is priced individually,” he states.
According to Dato’ Dr. How, patients with no teeth left will normally have to undergo full mouth rehabilitation with a sinus lift and bone grafting. Because the lack of teeth over an extended period of time will cause bone resorption, patients must obtain appropriate bone height before any implant can be fixed. Dato’ Dr. How explains, “In cases of full mouth rehabilitation, if patients opt for fixed bridges, they will need at least six implant units. If patients opt for dentures, they will only need two to four units.”
He clarifies that, because ceramic bridges are heavy, it is important to have many implant units to support the weight and minimise implant failure. Although an option, an increased number of implant units with singularly charged bridges will affect the overall cost of treatment. Furthermore, along with the cost saving from the lower number of implant units, acrylic dentures are also considerably cheaper.
Apart from this, acrylic dentures are much lighter in the mouth and because they can be removed and washed, are more hygienic. Implant fixed bridges are permanently fixed in the mouth so patients have to practice optimal oral hygiene as gum infections will cause implant failure. Last but not least, removable locators can also provide patients with better aesthetic results and facial support because the specialists at Imperial Dental Specialist Centre can design tailored dentures for individual patients and design gum colours that match the teeth. Dato’ Dr. How explains, “With removable dentures with implants, patients will enjoy custom designs, a good prognosis and long-term maintenance with dentures lasting up to 10 years. If dentures are damaged, they will also be much cheaper to replace.”