For senior dental patients, dental implants offer an exciting alternative to dentures. In the past, removable dentures were the obvious choice for those with missing teeth. Now, the image of grandma soaking her teeth in a glass by the bedside has gone the way of the age-old rocking chair, as modern seniors welcome options that will keep them looking and feeling younger.
What are Implants?
In contrast to partial or complete dentures which cover the roof of the mouth of the lower gum, implants are bonded to the jawbone and become part of the structure of the mouth. The implant itself, which is a titanium screw, can be fitted with the crown to replace individual teeth or be the anchor point for bridges or dentures when multiple teeth are involved. In cases where all the teeth are gone, four implants on the lower jaw can be fitted with a connection that allows dentures to snap into place. This type of appliance can even be removed for cleaning and then put back in place. Several types of implant systems are available if you need to replace multiple teeth.
Advantages of Implants for Seniors
Implants and any teeth attached to them become a permanent part of your mouth day and night. Implants not only improve your appearance during the day, but allow you to retain it 24/7, without removing the denture and the shape it gives to your mouth. The importance of this is more than cosmetic. Having implants in place prevents the changes in the mouth that occur when teeth are gone. Not only do you have a sunken look when your dentures are out of your mouth, but you continue to lose bone; eventually the dentures no longer fit properly as the jawbone recedes further. With aging, coupled with medication usage, can come decreased muscle control, which makes holding dentures in place more difficult.
Because more of the roof of the mouth, pallet, and gums are left in their natural uncovered state, they allow you to retain your sense of taste. Full dentures, on the other hand, remove 70% of your ability to taste food as you chew it. The result is a more feel in the mouth, even though the teeth are made of synthetic materials.
Cost of Implants
As Americans are living longer, retaining the looks and function of normal teeth has become more important. While the process can be costly, with the average cost of a single implant and crown running as high as $4,000-5,000 in some parts of the United States, having implants is made more affordable through dental insurance and payment plans and by having them done over time.
While the cost may deter some seniors from looking at this process versus conventional dentures, this state-of-the-art technology can assure lifelong function and appearance. For information about implants, contact Oral Surgery of Utah today.