Fully Removable Natural Tooth Replacement
Denture implants are often an excellent treatment solution for people who have lost all their natural teeth in the lower jaw. Not everybody is suitable for a fixed implant prosthesis or wishes to wear a conventional denture that rests directly on the gums. Implant dentures are supported by dental implants but are fully removable.
What Are Denture Implants?
Denture implants use a conventional denture that has special attachments on its fitting surface and which clip onto dental implants inserted into the patient’s jawbone. An implant denture combines the best of both worlds, giving patients the stability and extra strength of dental implants in a prosthesis that is easily removable for general cleaning and maintenance. The implant denture is sometimes called an overdenture or implant overdenture. It either fits directly onto dental implants or onto a bar fitted over the implants.
Why Consider an Implant Overdenture?
Many people with complete dentures struggle with their functionality. It only takes a few years for significant bone loss to occur in the jawbone, affecting the stability of the implant dentures. Consequently, they can begin to move around uncomfortably, affecting speech and the ability to eat properly.
Can I Have an Upper Implant Overdenture?
Upper implant overdentures are less widely used because usually, a greater number of implants are needed to stabilize the denture. Sometimes an upper overdenture might need as many as six dental implants compared with just two or four dental implants for a lower denture.
This is because the upper jawbone is quite different in its volume and density, and important structures like the sinus cavities must also be avoided during implant placement, making this treatment more complex. Usually, lower dentures are more problematic compared with upper dentures because they provide significantly less retention.
While an upper implant overdenture might not be a suitable solution, there are almost certainly other options available, which we can discuss with you.
Fixed Versus Removable Prosthesis
While a fixed dental implant prosthesis, such as a dental bridge is often seen as a preferable solution, it isn’t an option for everyone. Some people have lost significant gum tissue and jawbone and would need substantial bone and gum grafting procedures to restore these tissues. Using denture implants allows these tissues to be restored properly with a well-designed denture.
Other people will find it too tricky to clean around a fixed dental bridge, whereas a removable denture is much easier to keep clean and hygienic. Good ongoing oral hygiene is essential in preventing dental implant infection that could ultimately cause the implants to fail.
Denture implants will increase the stability and functionality of a denture, increasing your biting and chewing strength. However, biting and chewing strength will still be less compared with natural teeth or a fixed bridge of teeth.
Conventional full mouth dental implants usually require six or more implants to support the bridge. Denture implants normally require just two or four dental implants to support the denture, and it’s an option that increases the functionality of the denture and patient satisfaction. Because relatively few dental implants are needed, treatment is much more affordable.
Planning Implant Overdenture Treatment
During your initial consultation, our implant dentist at Gentle Dental will discuss this treatment with you more fully and will assess your dental and medical history. Next, we take a cone beam CT scan that provides 3-D images of your jaws, as well as digital dental x-rays. The information helps us to assess the quantity and quality of jawbone available for implant placement.
Dental implants for dentures are inserted slightly differently compared with conventional implant placement. The implants are inserted towards the front of your jaw because the bone here is naturally thicker and stronger.
Usually, we need to use four dental implants, two of which we insert vertically while the other two are inserted either side but are angled backward. Angling or tilting these implants allows us to use longer implant posts, increasing the contact with the bone around them and therefore increasing the strength and stability available to support your overdenture.
Placing Dental Implants for Dentures
After identifying the correct positions for your dental implants, we create a surgical stent, which is a template placed over your gums during surgery. The stent guides our implant dentist while they place the dental implants, ensuring the procedure is quicker and smoother and ultimately more comfortable.
After placing the implants, we may be able to fit an overdenture immediately. Sometimes we can even adapt an existing denture if it is in very good condition. Placing the overdenture splints the implants together while they heal, preventing unwanted movements that could disrupt this process.
What to Expect after Denture Implant Surgery?
It’s perfectly normal to experience some discomfort after dental implant surgery, and we can prescribe painkillers, or you can use over-the-counter painkillers. We may also prescribe antibiotics and an antimicrobial mouthwash to use while your mouth heals. Our dental team will discuss how to care for your mouth while it heals, and which foods are best to eat. We will also discuss how to clean your overdenture.
Restoring teeth with a fixed prosthesis such as an implant bridge is often seen as the best treatment, but denture implants provide a high degree of patient satisfaction. People who have received this treatment report improved self-confidence and self-esteem, and that eating is far more comfortable and enjoyable.
Our dental implant dentists here at Gentle Dental can discuss all the denture implant treatment options suitable for your situation. For more information about denture implants in Queens, contact Gentle Dental at (718) 461-0100.