You were probably thankful to receive your first set of dentures, however long ago that was. Your ability to grip and chew food was restored, and while dentures don't provide the same level of bite force as natural teeth, they're a more than acceptable substitute. But as time has gone by, your satisfaction with your dentures may have gone with it. Perhaps your dentures don't quite feel as natural as you hoped, since they're detachable. You might know that dental implants offer a permanent replacement option for a missing tooth, but since many (or even all) of your teeth are missing, you might have concluded that implants weren't of much use to you. Your conclusion might have been a bit hasty.
Implant dentistry isn't exclusively concerned with replacing a single missing tooth with a single dental implant. This field of dentistry has many applications, some of which are highly relevant for someone with dentures. Instead of having detachable full or partial dentures, implants offer a way for your detachable dentures to become fixed dentures. They won't have to be removed overnight, nor will they slip out of place. This process involves the use of mini implants, which are less invasive than typical single tooth implants.
Anchoring a Dental Prosthesis
Mini implants have their limits, and these limits are linked to the size (and subsequent load-bearing capacity) of the implant. This size difference is the distinguishing feature of a mini implant. They're not necessarily suitable for replacing a single tooth and are more often used for anchoring a dental prosthesis that would otherwise be detachable (such as dentures). Unlike a conventional implant, it's not a case of needing one mini implant for each tooth to be replaced. Instead, you will need several mini implants placed in your jaw, with your dentures then permanently attached to these mini implants. Once fixed, it's your jaw that absorbs the bite pressure experienced by your dentures, as opposed to your gums (which is the case with detachable dentures).
Receiving Mini Implants
Receiving implant-supported dentures isn't all that complicated. Your dentist must drill small holes into your jaw to insert the implants, which are then tightened. Given the size of the implants, they don't need to integrate with your jaw to become stable. The process for fitting mini implants is far less invasive than the surgery required for a single tooth implant, and recovery time is brief. Your dentist may even be able to modify your existing dentures to connect to your mini implants, otherwise a new set of compatible dentures will be made.
Dentures secured by mini implants are far more stable than detachable dentures and feel more natural too. If detachable dentures were never as satisfying as you hoped, it's time to explore a fixed, non-detachable alternative.
Contact your dentist to learn more about implant dentistry.