I see patients often who are tired of fighting the battle with their teeth. They have extensive dental work and will need more in the years to come. Rather than staying the course, they ask about removing their teeth and replacing them with implants. They’re throwing this out there because they think it is a quick fix, but it’s not.
These patients have several options before they enter a state of terminal dentition – or the point in time where teeth are so diseased they must be removed and replaced. However, they see removal as the easier option.
Traditionally, when someone reaches the point of terminal dentition and their teeth MUST be removed a hybrid denture is placed. The denture is secured to four implants and provides a stronger alternative to removable dentures. This sounds too good to be true for a patient who may require several root canals and implants in the coming years.
However, in my professional opinion, this is a last resort. I would not recommend a hybrid denture unless you truly have no other option. It’s not a quick fix and it comes with its own set of risks and challenges.
- You can’t eat hard foods for four to six months. Once the implants are placed, a temporary acrylic denture is secured. This temporary denture is not as strong as the permanent denture and limits the amount of force placed on the teeth while the implants heal. As a result, patients cannot eat hard foods and must stick to a soft-food diet for four to six months.
- The temporary denture is not like your natural teeth. Because the temporary denture is made of acrylic, it does not feel like your natural teeth. This is quite an adjustment for people who are transitioning from teeth that were structurally sound, but perhaps had aggressive periodontal disease that could not sustain them. It is also much harder to clean because it sits on top of the gum, creating a gap between the gum and the denture.
- Regular cleaning and maintenance are required. Once the permanent denture is placed, your time at the dentist is not over. The denture must be removed by a dentist once a year for cleaning and maintenance. During this appointment, the dentist will check the denture and implants to ensure they are still structurally sound and clean around the implant to prevent build up and decay.
After the implants have healed, a stronger denture is placed and the patient can resume their regular diet. Cleaning also becomes easier, as the denture is smoother and harder than the temporary. However, this is still not recommended unless your teeth are negatively affecting your quality of life. Implants require a very invasive procedure where the dentist places a titanium screw in your jaw bone. This alone should deter people from having this procedure done electively.
If you’re concerned about the longevity of your teeth, or unhappy with a recent diagnosis, talk to your dentist about your options. If there is hope to improve the lifespan of your natural teeth, I highly recommend that route. No dental work will ever be as strong as your natural teeth and all options should be explored before removing them and placing a hybrid denture.
Looking for a second opinion? Call our office at (813) 689-4226 to schedule a consultation.