Despite dedicated brushing and flossing, some of us will experience tooth loss as we age. Tooth loss can lead to diminished confidence and self-esteem, as well as the inconvenience of having to avoid eating certain foods. Prior to recent years, our concept of dentures as the solution conjured up a vision of teeth in a glass on the bedside table. Luckily, dental professionals like those at Innovative Implant and Oral Surgery of Feasterville, PA can now offer another option: overdentures.
What Are Overdentures?
Overdentures are removable dentures that fit over implants. They can be used for your upper or lower teeth. Overdentures are fastened to your implants with special attachments to make them secure, stable and comfortable, without requiring dental adhesive. You can remove your overdentures at night to clean them, making them a patient-friendly, affordable solution for missing teeth. In upper dentures, there is no plastic section covering the roof of your mouth, so your palate is free to experience the textures and tastes of food that might otherwise be lost with traditional dentures.
How Overdentures Work
With implant overdentures, your dental professional surgically places two to four root forms with a variety of specialized attachments in your jawbone. Oftentimes, a second step is necessary to uncover the implants and cement attachments. These temporary healing caps, along with various connecting devices (sometimes called “retainer bars”) allow multiple crowns to attach to the implants and complete the foundation on which your new teeth will be placed. Your gums will be allowed to heal for a couple of weeks following this procedure.
However, there are some implant systems (referred to as “one-stage”) that do not require this second step. These systems use an implant which already has the retainer bar attached. Your dental professional will counsel you on which system is right for you.
Depending upon how many implants have been placed, the connecting device that will hold your new teeth can be tightened down on the implant, or it may be a clipped to a bar or a round-ball anchor from which a denture can be snapped on and off.
Finally, your dentist will create lifelike, custom dentures – after your implants heal, you’ll try them on for size to make sure they fit perfectly. If you are satisfied with the look and fit, we then secure the dentures to the implants.
Every case is unique, and it is possible that some of these steps can be combined if the conditions are right. Your dental professional at Innovative Implant and Oral Surgery will work with you to determine the best treatment plan.
Benefits of Overdentures
Advantages of overdentures include:
- You won’t have to worry about them slipping or even falling out – saving you from embarrassment!
- Jawbone shrinkage is prevented.
- They are more comfortable than removable dentures.
- They are less costly than individual implants for all your teeth.
- You can enjoy the foods you love again and chew more efficiently.
- They are more aesthetically appealing and easier to maintain than traditional dentures.
After receiving your implants, you will have to wait several weeks while your jawbone heals around the forms before your overdentures are attached. However, during this time you will be provided with a temporary teeth replacement option which can be worn over the implant sites.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Overdentures?
In order to decide if overdentures are an option for you, we must first determine if you are a good candidate for dental implants. Generally speaking, anyone with a healthy mouth can get dental implants. Patients into their 90s have been successful implant recipients in the past!
There are some contra-indicators to consider, however:
- Smoking greatly increases the risk of periodontitis or gum disease, thus, increasing surgical risk.
- The gum must be in good condition to get dental implants. Severely diseased or damaged gums cannot support implants properly. There must be sufficient bone volume, and over time, bone volume is lost. This is a natural process as we get older.
- If we’ve had teeth extracted, the bone volume in our jaws can shrink fairly rapidly, regardless of age. Thus, there are many patients who don’t have enough bone volume in their jaw to fully support the dental implants.
- For some of these patients, bone augmentation and bone grafts can sometimes be successfully employed to achieve the necessary result.
Your dentist or surgeon will assess whether you’re a suitable candidate for bone augmentation or grafting.
There are also some health conditions and medications which would normally preclude someone from any sort of major surgery, or put them at increased risk. Any relevant medical conditions and medications need to be made known to your dentist during your initial consultation.
Although overdentures are very safe, remember: it does involve a surgical process that is prone to infection and inflammation. However, with proper cleaning and regular checkups, the majority patients won’t experience any dental problems.
Schedule a Consultation
For many patients, the numerous benefits of overdentures vs. regular dentures are worth the slightly higher expense. If you are considering an implant overdenture and live in the Greater Pennsylvania area, it is a good idea to discuss the procedure in detail with a qualified and skilled cosmetic dentist like those here at Innovative Implant and Oral Surgery in order to make an informed decision. To find out more about our comprehensive range of treatments and schedule a consultation, contact us today.
Additional Overdenture Resources:
- Healthable, “The Advantages of Dental Implant Overdentures,” https://healthable.org/the-advantages-of-dental-implant-overdentures/
- Authority Dental, “Denture Implants; Benefits, Types,” https://www.authoritydental.org/denture-implants