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Losing all your teeth affects the quality of life in a massive manner. Luckily, advances in dentistry mean that no one has to be edentulous anymore. We outline the best method for permanent tooth replacement for people that have no teeth.

One of the most common misconceptions that dentists come across is the idea that teeth usually simply begin falling out in old age [1]. A vast majority of people believe that teeth come with an expiry date after which they need to be extracted, so being edentulous (toothless) is just normal a part of old age. This could not be further from the truth. Our teeth are designed to last an entire lifetime and the reason why so many old people lose all their teeth has to do more with a long-term lack of care than any intrinsic wear and tear [2].

That being said, even with an increased level of oral care, a large percentage of people have no teeth in their later decades [3]. Out of the many methods available for permanent teeth replacement, dental implants are by far the best option available to patients right now. Advances in dental implant design and protocols have made it possible to provide permanent tooth replacement for people who have no teeth.

Dental Implants For People Who Have No Teeth

Dental implants are an excellent option for people who have no teeth because they do not require the support of any existing teeth. They are embedded in the underlying jawbone and thus even people with zero teeth in their mouth can potentially get a full set of fixed teeth again [4].

The procedure for getting an implant-supported prosthesis in such cases is usually a little more complex than routine dental implant cases. Patients will need to undergo a scan, most commonly a CBCT [5], which will help the doctor plan the number of implants required, the best place to insert them, and any additional grafting procedures that may be required.

The best case scenario would be the presence of abundant bone in the patient’s mouth. This will allow the placement of dental implants without any additional bone grafting. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. If you don't have enough bone for dental implants, a dental surgeon has to perform grafting. The type and amount of bone rafting required vary from patient to patient but it is nothing to be scared of in any situation.

In most cases, some amount of bone will need to be added when the grafts are being placed [6]. The surgical procedure for getting the dental implants is much less scary than people imagine. Make sure you have had a good meal at least 3-4 hours before the procedure because you may have some trouble eating for a while afterward.

Patients are administered local anesthesia and then implants are drilled into specific locations over the course of a surgery that lasts for about 40 minutes to an hour. There is absolutely no pain involved during the procedure and most people are able to manage with simple over the counter painkillers after the effects of anesthesia wear off [7].

Stitches will be placed after the surgery is over and will be removed within 7-10 days.     

Dental Implants vs Dentures

Dentures for the replacement of teeth have been around for a very long time and even though there have been some changes in the materials used and the clinical procedures, the entire process is essentially unchanged. A lot of patients inquire about dentures because they have seen someone use them, are more familiar with the process of getting dentures, and they are much more affordable [8].

Dentures require a substantial amount of adjustment by the patient and even then they will never even come close to offering the kind of functionality that dental implants offer. Some of the more common complaints with dentures include a difficulty in chewing, lack of taste sensation, needing to take dentures off every single day and then putting them back in, and movement of the dentures during talking, speaking and chewing [9].

All of these problems are solved by dental implants in a permanent manner.  

Advantages Of Dental Implants

The most important advantage of having dental implants as a permanent tooth replacement for people that have no teeth is not immediately visible to the patient. Dental implants provide the same kind of stimulation to the bone that natural teeth do and thus prevent the bone from getting atrophied over time [10].

This means a younger-looking facial structure and better strength in the jaws.

Dental implant prostheses are also usually non-removable. Once inserted, only the dentist can remove them. For patients, this means having nothing to remove every night and also better stability, strength, and chewing ability.

No other permanent tooth replacement method comes close to offering the advantages that dental implants can offer. Simply put, they are the closest you can come to natural teeth without actually having natural teeth [11].  

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