Implant Retained Dentures

When is an immediate denture the right answer?
You’ve just been told that you need an immediate denture. But what is an immediate denture and what is the procedure for creating one?

Your Denturist will guide you with the decision for an immediate denture if the situation warrants them. To avoid being without teeth, your Denturist may implement the immediate denture technique that includes taking impressions of your mouth while natural teeth are present. Afterward, your Denturist will fabricate a denture that most closely resembles your natural teeth. If modifications become necessary, they can easily be implemented. Your immediate denture is inserted after your natural teeth are extracted. As a result, you will avoid the need to go without any teeth while you are healing.
What you should know about the immediate dentures
Because your Denturist cannot fit your denture prior to extracting teeth, some aesthetic compromises may become necessary. You will not experience any significant problems; the outcomes are normally excellent. It is quite important that you carefully follow the postoperative instructions of your Denturist or Oral Surgeon. As your mouth heals, the receding of oral tissues may make denture adjustments necessary.

Be certain to schedule follow-up appointments with your Denturist.  In order to maintain the best fit and maximum comfort, a temporary liner or tissue condition may be placed in the denture. As time progresses, the degree of bone and gum tissue shrinkage will gradually decrease.

After the healing process is complete, you may choose between a new permanent full denture(s) or the immediate denture will be relined or rebased to ensure the best possible fit. Contact your Denturist to see if an immediate denture is the best option for you.

You can be certain that your Denturist will recommend the best option for your specific needs.

Implant Benefits

  • Increased confidence
  • Provide denture stability and comfort while eating, talking and laughing
  • Maintain natural bone and minimize further bone loss as a result of bone stimulation
  • Decreased gum tissue shrinkage
  • Reduced food seepage below denture
  • Superior aesthetics
  • A feeling similar to that of natural teeth
  • Nutritional dietary benefits

Implant Facts

Optimum tooth replacement is achieved with implants. Implants are root replacements. Once implanted into your jaw, the bone and the implant body integrate into one cohesive entity and provide a stable and reliable anchor on which teeth may be fabricated. Implant bodies are also employed as retention abutments that are used in retaining full or partial dentures.

In clinical studies, dental implants are proven to preserve bone and reduce gum tissue loss. Eating, speech and laughing can now be enjoyed with confidence. Patients feel better and gain a new-found zest for life, as implants are the closest thing to natural teeth that are available. Historically, dental implants have enjoyed a high clinical success rate. Patients who have opted for dental implants often remark how similar the implant feels to their own natural teeth. The patient can enjoy renewed self-esteem.

What Is an Implant Supported Denture?

An implant-supported denture is a type of denture that is supported by and attached to implants. A traditional denture rests on the gums and is not supported by implants.

An implant-supported denture is used when a person doesn't have teeth in the jaw but has sufficient bone in the jaw to support implants. An implant-supported denture has special attachments that snap onto attachments in the implants.

Implant-supported dentures are usually made for the lower jaw because regular dentures tend to be less stable there. Typically, regular dentures made to fit upper jaws are quite stable and don’t need the extra support provided by implants. However, you can receive an implant-supported denture in either the upper or lower jaw.

You should remove an implant-supported denture daily to thoroughly clean the denture and gum area. Just as with regular dentures, you should not sleep with the implant-supported dentures. Some people prefer to have fixed (permanent) crowns and bridgework. Your dentist will consider your particular needs and preferences when suggesting fixed or removable options.

How Does It Work?

There are two types of implant-supported dentures: bar-retained and attachment-retained. In both cases, the denture will be fabricated with an acrylic base that looks like gums. Composite or acrylic teeth that look like natural teeth are attached to the base. Both types of dentures need at least two to three implants for adequate support.

Bar-retained dentures — A thin metal bar that follows the curve of the jaw is attached to three to five implants that have been placed in the jawbone. Snap on 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 with the attachments.

Attachment-retained dentures — (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 round-shaped ("male" attachments) that fit into sockets ("female" attachments) on the denture. In some cases, the denture holds the male attachments and the implants hold the female ones.

The Implant Process

The implants are usually 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 is generally the case, even if teeth have been missing for some time. Once you lose teeth, you begin to lose bone in that area. Also, the front jaw has fewer nerves or other structures that could interfere with the placement of implants.

The time frame to complete the implant depends on numerous factors. The shortest practical time frame is approximately five months for the lower jaw and seven months for the upper jaw. This includes surgeries and placement of dentures. However, the process can occasionally require a year or more, especially if you need bone grafting or other preliminary procedures.

Two surgeries are usually needed. The first one places the implants in the jawbone under your gums. The second surgery exposes tops of the implants. The second procedure takes place three to six months after the first.

A one-stage procedure is used in some cases. With this procedure, your dentist can place the implants and the supporting bar in one step. This procedure has a high success rate.

Initial consultation

Before any work is done, you will visit either a dental specialist or general dentist who has advanced training in the placement and restoration of implants.

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 constructed. In some cases, the dentist may order a computed tomography (CT) scan of your mouth.

This shows the locations of your sinuses (located above your upper teeth) and nerves. It allows the dentist to make certain that sinuses and nerves will not be affected by the implant placement. A CT scan also may be done to see how much bone is available and to determine the best locations for implants.

If you are not already wearing a complete denture to replace your missing teeth, your denturist will create one for you. You will use this temporary denture until the implant-supported denture is placed.

It will require about four visits spanning several weeks to complete this denture. By making this temporary denture, your denturist is able to determine the best position for teeth in the final denture. The temporary denture also can be used as a backup if something happens to the final implant-supported denture.

Once the temporary denture is finished, the dental specialist will use a copy of it as a guide to help place the implants in proper positions. Holes will be drilled in the denture copy so that the dental specialist can see where the implants will be placed.

Possible Complications

In addition to the risks of surgery and implants failing, a bar-retained denture carries certain risks of its own.

A bar-retained denture needs space on the denture framework for the special attachments that are fitted to the bar. This results in less space available on the denture framework for the teeth to be fitted. Because of this, teeth can sometimes come loose from the base. But this is a problem that is easily corrected.

Also, when the bar is attached to the implants, it is important for the bar to be evenly balanced on each implant. Dentists refer to this as a "passive fit." If the fit is not passive, the extra strain on the bar can cause screws to loosen. If you grind or clench your teeth, it is more likely that parts of the denture will break or that your implants will become loose.

What Should You Expect from Your Implant Retained Denture?

Your implant-supported denture will be more stable than a conventional 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 will probably be able to eat foods that you could not eat before. However, you should not 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. This is because the implants are holding it in place rather than the suction created between the full denture and palate.


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