In this podcast, Dr. Nammy Patel talks with John Maher about the differences between fixed and removable dentures. She explains why fixed implant dentures can be more effective and better for your oral health than removable dentures.
John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher. I’m here today with Dr. Nammy Patel, founder of Green Dentistry in San Francisco, California, helping patients recognize the vital connection between dental health and whole-body health and author of the best selling books, Age with Style: Guide to a Youthful Smile and Healthy Living; and Total Wellness: Understanding the Link Between Your Teeth and Your Health. Today, our topic is: Should I get fixed or removable implant dentures? Welcome, Dr. Nammy.
Dr. Nammy Patel: Hi, John. Thank you for having me.
What Are Implant Dentures?
John: Sure. So Dr. Nammy, what are implant dentures?
Dr. Nammy: Implant dentures are when somebody has to lose all of their teeth and what we end up doing is putting a few implants in. And we put a denture on top, so it’s like getting a full set of teeth. There are types where you take them out; there’s times where you don’t take them out. The ones that I tend to prefer are the ones that you don’t take out. They stay inside your mouth, and it’s like having a new set of teeth completely. It’s like having your own teeth.
Differences Between Fixed and Removable Dentures
John: And so those are the fixed implant dentures, and then there’s removable implant dentures. What are some of the differences between them?
Dr. Nammy: So when we say fixed implant dentures, fixed means that they do not come off. You need to come to a dentist in order to be able to take them off. Removable dentures are ones that you can take out to clean at home and then pop them back in, and my preference is the fixed implant dentures.
The main reason is that we can use bigger-size implants and that preserves more bone, and as it’s able to preserve more bone, we’re able to take a lot more chewing forces. So that is the main reason for really appreciating fixed implant dentures.
Are Fixed Dentures Like Having Your Own Natural Teeth?
John: So they’d really be more like just having your own natural teeth?
Dr. Nammy: Yeah, and you don’t have to worry about it. You get up and you go. You don’t have to worry about putting anything in or out. It stays in your mouth. You have good-quality bone. You’ve got good support. It’s really wonderful, because then it’s almost like you forget that you’re missing any teeth, which is the whole purpose of having implants.
When to Consider Removable Implant Dentures
John: Right. Are there any situations where maybe removable implant dentures might be the way to go?
Dr. Nammy: Yes, so the times that we do need to do removable implants is if there’s not enough bone, and we have to go with many implants, meaning they’re small implants, because there’s so much bone loss in the area, due to maybe somebody’s gone through cancer treatment. Or sometimes there’s age, or sometimes it’s just been too long since the teeth have been missing, so the bone is atrophied, and so there’s not enough bone in those areas. But we still want to do something, so in those situations, we’ll put mini implants or small little implants and put removable implant dentures in, which can be taken in and out.
Process of Getting Implant Dentures
John: Can you tell me a little bit more about the process of getting implant dentures and what that’s like?
Dr. Nammy: The process of getting implant dentures first requires a consultation, where we take a CT scan. We also take the bite, and we look at what is the best scenario for you? How many implants can we place inside the mouth? Ideally, we try to place as many implants as we can inside the mouth, to have a fixed implant denture, and that’s when we decide if we should do a removable or a fixed. It depends on the bone level and how much bone is there. Also, someone’s age, medical history, and all of those things are taken into consideration.
Once that’s done, we have a 3D scanner that will 3D scan where the implants will go, and also, there’s temporary dentures that we put inside the mouth. So once the implants are placed, we use the temporary dentures for about three to six months, to let the gum tissue heal in its place. And then we put the final restoration in, which is made out of porcelain, which can last a lifetime.
How to Decide Which Types of Dentures You Need
John: How do I know which one of these types of dentures would be right for me? Do I need to go see a dentist like yourself, and you can, like you said, do the x-rays, find out how much bone I still have in my jaw, and then have that consultation and figure out which one you will work for me?
Dr. Nammy: Yes, absolutely. I would recommend: Come in; let’s do a consultation. Let’s figure out how many teeth you’re missing. What is your age? How many teeth can we keep? Because ideally, we want to keep as many natural teeth as we can, and the main reason for that is when we keep your natural teeth, the natural teeth actually have something called a periodontal ligament, which houses the tooth into the bone. And those periodontal ligaments actually contain stem cells, so we try to save as many teeth as we possibly can, to begin with.
John: All right, so that’s an important consideration, that implant dentures doesn’t mean you’re removing all of the teeth and then going completely to dentures. You can keep some of the original teeth and then just replace the teeth that are missing with the implants.
Dr. Nammy: Yes, absolutely.
Contact Green Dentistry If You Need Dentures
John: Okay, all right. Well, that’s really great information, Dr. Nammy. Thanks again for speaking with me today.
Dr. Nammy: My pleasure.
John: For more information about Green Dentistry, visit the website at sfgreendentist.com or call (415) 433-0119.