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Published: Monday, April 17, 2017 @ 8:43 AM
Do you hide your smile because of missing teeth? Do you wear dentures that are uncomfortable and slip easily? Are you missing a tooth and concerned about keeping your other teeth intact?
For many years, the only options available to patients with missing teeth were bridges and dentures. Today, however, dental implants have become a popular choice. In fact, according to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, more than five million implants are placed each year by dentists in the United States.
One of those dentists is Patrick T. Hunter, DDS. His practice, Hunter Dentistry, has been serving the greater Dayton area since 1998, offering complete care in preventative, cosmetic and restorative dentistry, including 3D digital x-rays, computer-aided crown production, bonding, porcelain veneers, dentures and partials, and of course, implants.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants replace the root of one or more missing teeth. Made of titanium (a strong, lightweight metal) and other materials that are well-accepted by the body, implants are posts that are surgically inserted into the jawbone to support fixed (permanent) or removable teeth made to match your natural teeth.
While there are currently two different types of implants on the market - full and mini - Dr. Hunter only recommends full implants for his patients.
“The full implant has the benefit of being the same shape as the root of the tooth that it’s replacing. Its form makes it more durable and last longer, much like Mother Nature has given us,” explained Dr. Hunter. “Mini implants are not the same diameter of the tooth being replaced; therefore, they do not have the same strength.”
Benefits of dental implants
The growth in popularity of dental implants has also had an impact on denture wearers. Patients now have removable overdentures and denture hybrids to choose from – both are implant-supported denture options.
What are denture hybrids?
Hybrid dentures, also called fixed-detachable dentures, are secured to dental implants. Unlike overdentures, they can be removed only by a dentist or hygienist. Patients need to return to their dentist a couple times a year to have the hybrid denture unscrewed and professionally cleaned.
How does a patient know which option is best for them?
“If a patient would like something that they do not have to remove, then we place a hybrid restoration. If they don't mind removing the appliance, then we go to the overdenture option,” said Dr. Hunter.
Other factors taken into consideration:
“Aesthetically speaking, if a patient has a high smile line, then we don't want to do a hybrid since there would be space the patient would see. In that case, we would do an overdenture because it hides where the denture meets the gum tissue,” explained Dr. Hunter.
Unfortunately, the cost of hybrid dentures sometimes eliminates them as an option.
“Hybrids can be three-to-four times more expensive, depending on the case,” said Dr. Hunter. “Sometimes that is a consideration for patients, but we always explain that up front so the patient understands.”