What are They?
An implant-supported denture is a type of denture that is supported by and attached to implants. A regular denture rests on the gums, and is not supported by implants.
The 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.
An implant-supported denture is recommended when a person doesn’t have any teeth in the jaw, but has enough bone in the jaw to support implants. An implant-supported denture has special attachments that snap onto attachments on the implants. Implant-supported 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.
Your 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.
If 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.
There 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 at least two implants for support.
A 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 attachments.
Ball-retained dentures are also known as stud-attachment dentures. 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 (“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.
You need to visit a Prosthodontist; or a Dentist with advanced training in the placement and restoration of implants. Call Dr. Hetal Amin-Patel at Beautiful Dentistry to schedule your initial consultation.
During the exam, the Dentist 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, a computed tomography (CT) scan of your mouth will be utilized to identify the location of the sinuses (located above your upper teeth) and nerves. It allows the Dentist to make sure the sinuses and nerves will not be affected by the implant placement. A CT scan also reveals 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 four visits, spanning several 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.
The costs associated with this treatment can be estimated by your Dentist. Please call our office for a free consultation.
Permanent non-removable devices like Bridges and Crowns are alternative treatments for Implant Supported Snap On Dentures. Temporary removable devices such as overdentures are alternative treatments when implants not viable. Some people prefer to have fixed (permanent) crown and bridgework in their mouths that can’t be removed. Your dentist will consider your particular needs and preferences when suggesting fixed or removable options.
Implants require uncompromised bone structure to support the implants. The quality of your jaw’s bone structure can be determined by your Dentist by reviewing your past medical history, current medical status, and recent X-Rays and CT Scans.
A 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 can be easily fixed by your Dentist.
It is important that the bar is evenly balanced on each implant to ensure 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.
The success rates for both the Two Phase and One Stage Snap on Denture Implant procedures are very high.
The time frame to complete the implant depends on many factors. 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. Depending upon the health of the structures of soft and hard tissues in the mouth, one of two surgery approaches will be used:
- Two Phase Approach: the most common scenario. The first surgery places the implants in the jawbone under your gums. Three to six months later, a second surgery exposes the tops of the implants.
- One-stage Procedure: the Dentist can place the implants and the supporting bar in one step in some cases. The success rate for this procedure is high.
Denture Try-In and Insertion
You will have the first try-in of your new denture framework to see if it fits properly. The whole denture is tried in your mouth. If everything works well, the teeth are secured in the denture framework permanently. The bar or ball attachments also will be secured. You will have to return to your dentist for another visit to have the completed denture inserted. When the denture is inserted, the denture is clipped onto the bar or snapped onto the ball attachments.
At this point, your temporary denture will be given a new reline. This will allow it to be used as a backup denture in case you lose or break your new overdenture. If you are using the “temporary” denture as a permanent denture, the bar or ball attachments are placed in that denture.
Your 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.
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.