Many people opt for dental implants when they only have one to a few teeth to replace. Implants are the best option in this case, since the teeth look and act like natural teeth, so it's simple enough to integrate them into the rest of the mouth. What if you need to replace all of your lower or upper teeth, or both? Implants can still be the best option, although there are a few things to consider with the procedure. The following guide can help you decide if a full set of implants is right for you.
Will any natural teeth remain?
This depends on the state of the remaining natural teeth and the style of implants you decide upon. If you only have one or two natural teeth that can be saved, your dentist may recommend pulling them to make installation of the implants easier and to prevent problems later on. Unlike certain types of bridges, there is no need to anchor dental crowns to your natural teeth.
Is there an implant installed for every tooth?
There can be, depending on the size and shape of your jaw, but generally no. To avoid weakening the bone and to ensure prompt and speedy recovery, your dentist will likely use an implant-supported bridge to replace a full set of lower or upper teeth. These involve creating crowns that consist of between two and four teeth, which connect to a single implant post. So for a full set of lower or upper teeth, there will be four implant posts installed, with each post supporting four teeth.
Will multiple visits be necessary?
For most implants, plan on at least three visits. The first is to assess you for implants and to take molds of your teeth or gums for making the crowns. At the next visit, remaining teeth are extracted and posts are placed. You will then need to heal for several weeks before the crowns are placed on the implants. There are one-day procedures, where the implants and crowns are placed in one visit, but your dentist must assess your gum and bone health to determine if this is an option for you.
Can you wear dentures while waiting for the implants to heal?
Yes, with some caveats. Your existing dentures, if you have a set, will likely work, but your dentist will need to reline them so they don't irritate the healing implant sites. If you don't currently have dentures, your dentist can make you a temporary set.
For more help, talk to a dentist like Michael K Sakuda DDS about your implant options today.