If you’re in need of dentures, here is a helpful guide on everything you need to know about implant-supported dentures.
What Is an Implant-Supported Denture?
Whereas a regular denture sits on the gums, an implant-supported denture is supported by and attached to implants. This means that when a person doesn’t have any teeth in their jaw but has enough bone to support the implants, implant-supported dentures could be for them. They are usually made for the lower jaw because regular dentures are typically less stable there, whereas regular dentures are usually stable on the upper jaw and don’t need the added support of the implant. The part of the denture that looks like gums is made of an acrylic base and the teeth are made of porcelain or acrylic to look like natural teeth. Like regular dentures, they are most often removable so you can clean the dentures and your gums. You can get implant-supported dentures that cannot be removed, but you’d need to discuss this option with your dentist.
How Do Implant-Supported Dentures Work?
Bar-retained dentures and ball-retained dentures are the two types of implant-supported dentures.
With bar-retained dentures, a thin metal bar that follows the curve of your jaw is attached to implants – typically two to five – that have been placed in your jawbone. Attachments such as clips are fitted to the bar, denture, or both. The dentures then fit over the bar and are clipped into place using the attachments.
In ball-retained dentures, or stud-attachment dentures, the implants in the jawbone each hold a metal attachment that fits into a corresponding attachment on the denture. These attachments are often ball-shaped.
How Are the Implants Placed?
The implants for the dentures are placed in the jawbone at the front of the mouth because there is usually more bone in the front than the back. The front jaw also does not have as many nerves that could interfere with the implant placement.
Two surgeries are usually needed to place the implants, and the entire placement often takes between five and seven months, but can last as long as a year. The first surgery includes the placement of the implants in your jawbone under your gums. The second, which occurs about three to six months later once your implants have fused with the bone, exposes the tops of the implants. Then, a healing cap, or collar made of a round piece of metal, is placed on top of each implant, guiding the gum tissue to heal correctly.
Once the tissue has healed, about two weeks after the second surgery, the collar is replaced with regular abutments and your dentist will take an impression of your teeth to make the dentures. Next, the metal bar is placed on the abutments and the denture is tried in your mouth to make sure it fits correctly. If everything looks good, the dentures are clipped onto the bar or snapped onto the ball attachments.
If you’re missing many or all teeth in a single arch and are considering dentures, talk with our team at Oakboro Family Dentistry to see if you’re a good candidate for implant-supported dentures.
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Categorised in: Restorative Dentistry