For those suffering with the loss of teeth, implant-supported dentures may be an option. From trauma to decay and disease, there are many factors contributing to the loss of teeth. Thankfully, those dealing with missing teeth have options to restore their smile and self-confidence.
What are implant-supported dentures?
Unlike traditional dentures which rest directly on the gum, implant-supported dentures are anchored by permanent dental implants. Implant-supported dentures snap into place on the implants without the need for an adhesive or denture paste.
There are two types of implant-supported dentures: bar-retained dentures and ball-retained dentures. Both types require two or more implants and provide patients with a beautiful natural-looking smile.
Bar-retained dentures require three or more dental implants. Running along the gum line is a metal bar that connects the implants. The denture is then held in place by clipping to the bar. This type of implant-supported denture is held in place without the steel studs that are used in ball-retained dentures. Many patients prefer a bar-retained denture to a traditional denture because it alleviates much of the discomfort of rubbing and slipping of a traditional denture, as it is far more secure.
Ball-retained dentures, also called stud-attachment dentures, use a ball-and-socket design to hold the denture to the implants. The denture is fitted with sockets and the implants have a ball on top of them. The two snap together where the ball and socket meets. This type of denture is considered exceptionally secure.
How does an implant-supported denture work?
Think of a dental implant like an artificial tooth root, holding a denture in place. Dental implants are titanium posts (similar in size and shape to a screw) that are surgically placed into the jaw, where they serve as an anchor for the denture.
The bone around the implant heals through a process called osseointegration. Literally meaning “combines with the bone,” osseointegration allows the implant to become as strong as natural teeth because the bone actually grows around the implant to hold it in place.
Both ball-retained dentures and bar-retained dentures are snapped or clipped into place on the implants. Patients should remove the dentures daily for cleaning and they should be removed at night.
Who can benefit from an implant-supported denture?
People who don’t have teeth in the jaw but have enough bone in the jaw to support an implant may benefit from implant-supported dentures. Implant-supported dentures are most commonly placed in the lower jaw, as traditional dentures tend to be less secure there. Usually, a traditional denture made to fit the upper jaw is secure enough on its own and doesn’t need the added stability of implants.
While implant-supported dentures are a great option for many people, those with chronic illnesses may not be good candidates for implants, and thus implant-supported dentures. Tobacco users may have a slower healing time and increased risk of infection at the surgical site.
No matter your reason for considering implant-supported dentures, be sure to discuss all options with your dentist. Schedule a consultation today so we can help you find the best solution to fit your needs.