Implant overdentures are dentures that are anchored directly to the jaw bone. Implants are posts that are surgically placed in the upper or lower jaw, where they function as a strong anchor for replacement teeth or dentures. Implants are usually made out of titanium. Implant overdentures are an option that makes dentures more secure, and are not as costly as replacing each individual tooth with a single implant.
Regular dentures rest on the gums and rely on tissue and bone for support. An implant overdenture, however, has special attachments that snap onto dental implants that have been strategically placed in the bone for support. These attachments can provide a range of tightness depending on the patient's comfort level but will still allow the denture to be easily removed when necessary.
The number of implants necessary can vary for every patient but is often as minimal as only two implants for the lower jaw. While most patients usually only require implants on the lower jaw because of the inherent lack of support for a denture there, both the upper and lower areas of the mouth can greatly benefit from implant overdentures.
Benefits of Implant Overdentures
Dentures that are anchored directly to the jawbone provide functional and aesthetic benefits for patients that may include:
Comfort and Security
Implant overdentures are designed to be long lasting. Patients can speak and eat without worrying about the dentures shifting or slipping in the mouth.
The bone around the missing teeth is better preserved since the implants replicate the natural root of the tooth and stimulate its preservation. Bone loss is therefore greatly reduced.
With implants anchoring the denture, it is not necessary to fully cover the roof of the mouth. Patients have a better appreciation for the texture, temperature and taste of food.
Implant overdentures eliminate the need for denture adhesives to help hold the denture in place. The dentures are secured within the mouth by the implants.
Implant overdentures can triple the force of the bite and restore chewing ability comparable to that of natural teeth. Because they are secured by the implants, implant overdentures make chewing and eating less difficult than with traditional dentures.
Implant Overdentures Procedure
The implant overdentures procedure is performed in two phases. In the first phase, surgery is performed to place the implants in the jawbone under the gums. Once the gums heal from the surgery, the second phase can be performed which is when the dentures can be placed into the mouth and attached to the implants. There are two types of implant supported dentures:
A thin metal bar in the shape of the jaw is attached to the implants that have been placed in the jawbone. The denture fits over the bar and is securely clipped into place by clips or other attachments.
Each implant in the jawbone holds a metal attachment that fits into another attachment on the denture. In most cases, the attachments on the implants are ball-shaped and they fit into sockets on the denture.
An experienced prosthodontist will decide which type of implant overdenture is right for each individual patient. Implant overdentures are strong, secure, and help to regain nearly all the abilities patients had with their natural teeth.