3 Frequently Asked Questions About Full-Mouth Implants

Dental implants are one of the best tooth-replacement options for people who are missing one or a few teeth. They look and function just like your natural teeth, allowing them to blend right in. No one but your dentist will need to know which of your teeth have been replaced. They're also more durable than other tooth replacement options – if properly cared for, they can last the rest of your life. But what if you need all of your teeth replaced, not just one or two? It's a common misconception that dentures are the only solution for someone missing all of their teeth, but full-mouth dental implants may be an option for you as well. Take a look at the answers to some frequently asked questions about full-mouth dental implants.

Won't That Many Implants Be Costly and Time-Consuming?

It's certainly true that having an individual implant placed for each of your teeth would be prohibitively expensive, not to mention painful. It would also take a lot of time to prepare for and recover from that many implant surgeries. However, that's not how full-mouth implants work.

Full-mouth implants are really denture-like devices that are held in place with a number of strategically placed implants. You don't need a separate implant for each space where a tooth would normally be, you just need enough implants to anchor the denture in place. This gives you a full set of teeth, but without the cost and hassle of replacing each one separately.

Wouldn't It Be Simpler to Get Dentures?

That depends on what you think is simple, but in many ways, dental implants are the simpler choice for patients. It's true that dentures require less surgery – you may need to have damaged teeth extracted, but you won't need the additional implant surgery done. However, it's also important to consider the long-term effects of wearing dentures.

You can't just brush your dentures the way that you have been brushing your natural teeth all of your life. For one thing, you'll have to take them out to clean them thoroughly. You'll also need to take them out every night. Dentures don't last forever, and even if they're well-cared for, they can chip, crack, or break. You'll need to have them adjusted periodically and even entirely replaced now and then.

Dental implants, on the other hand, act just like your natural teeth. You can brush and floss them the way that you always have. You never have to remove them, and they won't slip in your mouth while you're eating or talking. You'll still need regular dental checkups, but as long as you care for your dental implants, you'll likely never need to repair or replace them.

Are There Other Benefits to Implants Over Dentures?

One of the biggest benefits that full-mouth dental implants give you that dentures don't is the ability to eat normally. Most people underestimate how powerful their natural bite is. With your natural teeth, you can bite down with around 200-250 pounds of force. It's that power that allows you to eat things like steak. Dentures, on the other hand, give you only about 50 pounds of force. That's going to put some serious limits on your diet.

The reason that you don't have as much bite force with dentures is that they're not anchored to anything. Your natural teeth are anchored to your jawbone, which is what allows for that powerful bite. When you have full mouth dental implants, you have those anchors. The titanium posts that anchor the implants into place fuse to your jawbone, taking the place of tooth roots. You may not have the exact same bite force that you would have with a full set of natural teeth, but your bite will be powerful enough to allow you to eat what you like, without severely changing your diet.

If you're in the market for tooth replacement, don't discount the possibility of getting dental implants. Talk to your dentist about whether you're a good candidate for full-mouth dental implants.