What are Implant-Supported dentures?
An implant-supported denture is a type of overdenture that is supported by and attached to implants. A regular denture rests on the gums, and is not supported by implants. An implant-supported denture is used when a person doesn’t have any teeth in the jaw, but has enough bone in the jaw to support implants.
The implants usually are placed in the jawbone at the front of your mouth because there tends to be more bone in the front of the jaw than in the back. This usually is true even if teeth have been missing for some time. Once you lose teeth, you begin to lose bone in the area. Also, the front jaw doesn’t have many nerves or other structures that could interfere with the placement of implants.
The time frame to complete the implant depends on many factors. The shortest time frame is about five months in the lower jaw and seven months in the upper jaw. This includes surgeries and the placement of the denture. However, the process can last a year or more, especially if you need bone grafting or other preliminary procedures.
Two surgeries usually are needed. The first one places the implants in the jawbone under your gums. The second surgery exposes the tops of the implants. The second procedure comes three to six months after the first.
A one-stage procedure is now used sometimes. In this procedure, your dentist can place the implants and the supporting bar in one step. The success rate of this procedure is high.
Before any work is done, you will visit either a dental specialist called a prosthodontist or a general dentist who has advanced training in the placement and restoration of implants.
During the exam, the dentist will review your medical and dental histories, take X-rays and create impressions of your teeth and gums so that models can be made. In some cases, the dentist may order a computed tomography (CT) scan of your mouth. This shows where your sinuses (located above your upper teeth) and nerves are. It allows the dentist to make sure they will not be affected by the implant placement. A CT scan also may be done to see how much bone is available and to determine the best locations for the implants.
If you are not already wearing a complete denture to replace your missing teeth, your dentist will make you one. You will use this temporary denture until the implant-supported denture is placed. It will take about four visits, spanning several weeks, to complete this denture. By making this temporary denture, your dentist is able to determine the best position for the teeth in the final denture. The temporary denture also can be used as a backup if something happens to the final implant-supported denture. The temporary denture can also be used as the final denture to reduce overall costs. Attachments will need to be added so it can fit securely to the implants.
What Can You Expect From Your Implant-Supported Denture?
Your implant-supported denture will be more stable than a regular denture. You will find it easier to speak and you won’t have to worry about the denture becoming loose or falling out of your mouth. You generally will be able to eat foods you could not eat before. However, you will not be able to chew hard or sticky foods because they can damage the denture.
What are the advantages of implant-supported full bridges and implant-supported dentures over conventional dentures?
Dental implants provide several advantages over other teeth replacement options. In addition to looking and functioning like natural teeth, implant-supported full bridges or dentures are designed to be long lasting. Implant-supported full bridges and dentures also are more comfortable and stable than conventional dentures, allowing you to retain a more natural biting and chewing capacity.
In addition, because implant-supported full bridges and dentures will replace some of your tooth roots, your bone is better preserved. With conventional dentures, the bone that previously surrounded the tooth roots begins to resorb (deteriorate). Dental implants integrate with your jawbone, helping to keep the bone healthy and intact.
In the long term, implants can be more esthetic and easier to maintain than conventional dentures. The loss of bone that accompanies conventional dentures leads to recession of the jawbone and a collapsed, unattractive smile. Conventional dentures make it difficult to eat certain foods.