Implant supported Dentures|
dentures usually are made for the lower jaw because regular dentures
tend to be less stable there. Usually, a regular denture made to fit an
upper jaw is quite stable on its own and doesn't need the extra support
offered by implants. However, you can receive an implant-supported
denture in either the upper or lower jaw.
You should remove an
implant-supported denture daily to clean the denture and gum area. Just
as with regular dentures, you should not sleep with the
implant-supported dentures at night. Some people prefer to have fixed
(permanent) crown and bridgework in their mouths that can't be removed.
How do they work?
are two types of implant-supported dentures: bar-retained and
ball-retained. In both cases, the denture will be made of an acrylic
base that will look like gums. Porcelain or acrylic teeth that look like
natural teeth are attached to the base. Both types of dentures need
minimum of two implants for support.
Ball-retained dentures (stud-attachment dentures)
Each implant in the jawbone holds a metal attachment that fits into another attachment on the denture.
most cases, the attachments on the implants are ball-shaped ("male"
attachments), and they fit into sockets ("female" attachments) on the
denture. In some cases, the denture holds the male attachments and the
implants hold the female ones.
thin metal bar that follows the curve of your jaw is attached to two to
five implants that have been placed in your jawbone. Clips or other
types of attachments are fitted to the bar, the denture or both. The
denture fits over the bar and is securely clipped into place by the
The Implant Process
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.
time frame to complete the implant depends on many factors. The modern
single piece, immediate loading implants offer the unique advantage to
load them immediately with dentures. However, only bar - retained
dentures work well in this category. The bar which splints the implants
together is placed on the second day of implantation. The denture work
can be completed within a matter of three days of insertion of the
With the conventional, two piece implants, 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.
the initial consultation exam, the implantologist 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 five
visits, spanning about two 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.
Once the temporary
denture is finished, the surgeon will use a copy of it as a guide to
help place the implants in the proper positions. Holes will be drilled
in the copy of the denture so that the surgeon can see where the
implants should be placed.
Caring for Your Implant-Supported Denture
You will need to remove the denture at at night and for cleaning. You also should carefully clean around the attachments.
dentist will test all the parts of your new denture to see if they are
secure. Even though your denture is stable, it still can move slightly
when you chew. This slight movement can cause the denture to rub against
your gums, which can cause sore spots. Your dentist will check your
gums and also will check the way your top and bottom teeth come together
(your bite) after insertion of the denture.
The clip or other
attachments on the bar-retained denture usually will need to be replaced
every 6 to 12 months. They are made of a plastic material (nylon) and
will wear after continued use.
In addition to the risks of surgery and of the implants failing, a bar-retained denture carries certain risks of its own.
bar-retained denture needs space on the denture framework for the
special attachments that are fitted to the bar. This means that there is
less space available on the denture framework for the teeth to be
fitted. Because of this, the teeth sometimes can come loose from the
base. This problem is easily fixed.
Also, when the bar is
attached to the implants it is important that the bar is evenly balanced
on each implant. Dentists call this a "passive fit." If the fit is not
passive, the extra strain on the bar can cause the screws to loosen. If
you grind or clench your teeth, it's more likely that parts of the
denture will break or that your implants will come loose.
What Can You Expect From Your Implant-Supported Denture?
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.
you have an implant-supported denture in your upper jaw, it can be made
to cover less of your palate (roof of your mouth) than a regular
denture. That's because the implants are holding it in place instead of
the suction created between the full denture and your palate.
the fact remains that if there are provisions for the patient to get a
fully fixed, implant supported prosthesis done to replace the missing
teeth, the comfort the patient will experience will be quite similar to
that of having fixed and healthy natural teeth in the mouth.