Can You Replace Dentures With Dental Implants?

While replacing missing teeth with dentures fills some gaps, you may find that this is not the best solution for you. If you can't get used to wearing dentures and want a different type of false tooth, you may be able to switch to dental implants. Implants give you a more permanent type of false tooth that is attached to a metal post inserted into your jaw bone. How feasible is it to switch from dentures to implants?

What's Your Bone Density Like?

For a dental implant to succeed you need a specific amount of bone to hold the implant's post in place. If you don't have enough bone the implant post may not anchor firmly in your jaw, making it more likely that the post will come loose and the implant itself will fail.

Once you have a tooth or teeth extracted before you get dentures, the bone around the missing tooth may shrink and degrade because it no longer has a tooth filling the gap. This may leave you with less bone than you had when you still had the natural tooth.

While this bone density may not have been an issue for a denture, it may affect the future success of an implant. If you want to replace a denture with an implant soon after losing a tooth, you may still have enough bone for the implant to work; however, it may be more problematic a few years down the line if you have lost a lot of bone.

Can You Replace Lost Bone?

Before taking on implant surgery dentists assess your bone density to see if you have enough bone to hold an implant. Your dentist can also do this for you if you're thinking of switching to implants after using dentures.

If you do have enough bone, your dentist may be happy to make the switch from dentures to implants; if you don't have enough bone you may need to consider a bone graft to restore missing bone to the correct density. There are a couple of ways to do this depending on the amount of bone loss you're dealing with. For example, your dentist may recommend the following procedures, according to Dental Guide Australia:

  • The insertion of bone granules into the tooth's gap to restore small amounts of bone loss.
  • A graft of bone from another area of your mouth or body to remedy larger bone loss together with the use of bone granules.

If you have worn dentures for years and have significant bone loss, you may not want to go through a grafting process; in some cases, your dentist may advise against it. In these cases, you should talk to your dentist about your problems with dentures and ask for advice on how to manage wearing them more comfortably. For example, if you are having problems with loose dentures, you may get a better fit by having them relined or even replaced.