Dentures can be inconvenient, unstable and even painful, making it difficult to chew and taste foods you once enjoyed. Today, implant-supported overdentures provide an alternative for many patients who find conventional dentures intolerable, by replacing your missing teeth with a full dental bridge supported by dental implants.
What is an Implant-Supported Overdenture?
An implant-supported overdenture is used when a person doesn’t have any teeth in the jaw, but has enough bone to support implants, which the denture snaps onto. Implant-supported overdentures are usually made for the lower jaw, because regular dentures tend to be less stable in that position.
How Does It Work?
There are commonly two types of implant-supported dentures: bar-retained and ball-retained.
- Bar-retained dentures: A thin metal bar that follows the curve of your jaw is attached to your dental implants. Clips or other types of attachments are fitted to the bar, the denture, or both. The denture fits over the bar and is clipped into place by the attachments.
- Ball-retained dentures: Each implant in the jaw holds a metal attachment that fits into another attachment on the denture. The attachments on the implants are typically ball-shaped and slide into sockets on the denture.
The dental implants are usually placed in the jawbone, at the front of the mouth, where there tends to be more bone and less nerves. The process to complete the implant can take anywhere from five months to over a year, depending on bone grafting or other preliminary procedures. In total, you need two surgeries: the first one to place the implants in the jawbone and the second to expose the top of the implants. The second surgery comes three to six months after the first. A one-stage procedure can also be used, in which the dentist places the implants and the supporting bar in one step.
Caring for Implant-Supported Overdenture
Your dentist tests all the parts of your denture to see if they are secure. Slight movement can cause the denture to rub against your gums, which can cause sore spots. Your dentist also checks your gums and the way your top and bottom teeth come together after insertion of the denture. The clip and any other attachments usually require replacement every 6 to 12 months. In addition, you need to remove the denture at night and for cleaning.
Are traditional dentures just not for you? If you’re ready to learn more about implant-supported overdentures, contact our San Diego dental implant specialists at Dental Implant Procedure today. Get ready to enjoy your favorite food again and improve the quality of your life.
Call (858) 348-5859 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.