The Difference Between Dentures and Implant Supported Dentures
The key difference between standard dentures and implant supported dentures is in how they are supported. Standard dentures rely on your body, specifically your gums. By suctioning to your gums, the dentures are supposed to be held in place. In practice, this suction is rarely strong enough to completely prevent the dentures from moving around. This can mean many foods are off-limits, and you may occasionally experience speech difficulties. Even worse, by rubbing against your gums all day dentures actually wear the soft tissue down, making this a dental appliance that can actually harm your dental health.
Implant supported dentures use a different method of support - dental implants. Implants are small posts that go inside your jaw. They actually fuse to the bone itself, a process referred to as osseointegration, so your body recognizes them as part of itself. We attach your implant supported dentures to these implants, rather than sitting them on your gums. Because implant supported dentures are attached to these metal posts they cannot move around like dentures suctioned to your gums.
Why We Recommend Implant Supported Dentures
There are several notable reasons we recommend implant supported dentures to our patients who are missing multiple teeth. One major advantage is that because they are mounted on implants, we can design implant supported dentures to be smaller and more comfortable. Implant supported dentures for the upper jaw do not even need a palate, meaning the roof of your mouth can be exposed. Patients find this less irritating and are able to taste better than with standard dentures.
Getting Your Implant Supported Dentures
The many advantages of implant supported dentures does mean that they generally take a bit more time, and money, than standard dentures. Unlike with most standard dentures, you will have to undergo surgery to place the dental implants. This is a relatively simple surgery, and healing should be quick, though it does take longer for complete osseointegration. The number of implants varies with the type of overdenture. The more teeth that the overdenture is restoring, the more implants will likely be necessary. If possible, you will receive a temporary overdenture while you are awaiting your permanent prosthetic. In some cases, we can actually convert your old dentures into implant supported dentures, so that no wait is necessary.
What is the Process for Having Implant Supported Dentures Placed?
You will be given a thorough examination with scans and x-rays taken of your jaw and mouth to make an assessment of your jawbone. In order for dental implants to be successfully placed, you must have a good mass of bone in the jaw. Unfortunately, the jawbone deteriorates when teeth are lost, which could mean that volume is lost, and implants cannot be placed.
If this is the case there is a solution, but it entails having a bone graft procedure prior to the implant placement. A bone graft is a common procedure in dentistry and is often carried out to increase bone mass to allow for the insertion of dental implants. After the bone graft, a period of four months is required before the implant procedure.
The dental implant is carried out with a local anesthetic or combined with conscious sedation. To access the jawbone, a small incision is made on the top of the gum and a small flap is created. The gum flap is opened, and the denture specialist makes a hole in the jaw, into which the implant is inserted. The gum flap is stitched closed with dissolving stitches and the wound is left to heal. This process is repeated for each implant you are having.
After a period of three months, the final part of the implant procedure is completed when the gum is opened up over each implant, a connector (abutment) attached to each one, and the overdenture snapped into place on each abutment.
Implant and Denture Fabrication
Patients with a metal allergy are not able to receive implants or implant supported dentures, as they are made out of titanium. The denture, itself, is made of two different components. The first is the base of the gums which is crafted out of a plastic material. The second component is the artificial teeth which can be crafted from a number of different materials. Some of these include glass ionomer, composite resin, and porcelain. The dentures will also have clips or wires that can clasp to the implants.
After you heal, we can place the dentures. This will either be a fixed or removable denture. Permanent dentures are placed using dental cement. Removable dentures can snap into place with clips and we will explain how this works when you pick them up.
Implant Retained Dentures
Depending on your oral health and budget, we might require different types of implant posts and procedures to get your snap-in dentures secured to your mouth. Some procedures can include ball attachment dentures, which act as anchors to snap the dentures into place.
We can also use bar attachment dentures, which are often made of two to six implants that act as a support bar for your mouth. Finally, the most common and also most permanent option is the screw-retained denture, which attaches implants to your jawbone. Then the dentures are placed in your mouth and placed into position.
Implant Supported Denture Maintenance
Fixed dentures are quite easy to maintain since you can brush and floss them like you would with your natural teeth. We still recommend a routine dental visit every six months to check your oral health as well. Soft foods are the best option following each procedure since the tissues may be swollen and sensitive.
Removable dentures should be rinsed with soap and warm water each time you take them out of your mouth. When you are not wearing them, they should be stored in water or a denture cleaning solution.
Looking for Implant Supported Dentures?
If you are looking for custom removable implant supported dentures to complete your smile, then look no further than Bruce Gopin, DDS, MS. We can help you every step of the way. Call Bruce Gopin, DDS, MS at 915-213-3455 to learn more about implant supported dentures.