Implant Overdentures: A Cost Effective Alternative to Traditional Dentures
What are overdentures?
Its a well known fact for those who wear dentures, that their jawbones tend to change its shape over time, causing their dentures to become loose and uncomfortable. When your dentures begin to shift the only option is to use a denture adhesive to secure them, which is not the most comfortable remedy.
The use of overdentures is a positive solution to the loose denture problems many people must endure. Essentially, the overdenture is the same as a regular one, the only difference is, its supported by implants in the jawbone. It’s not permanently affixed, so it’s still removable making it is easy to wear and clean. It basically sits over your implants creating support and stability. It just clicks onto the implants by using a special attachment process and system. This solution is recommended when you are missing all of your teeth but still have sufficient bone density to support implants.
The problem is more prevalent in the lower jaw where looseness is the most common issue affecting this area, due to muscular and tongue movements. The upper jaw is usually very stable and normally does not require extra support. Therefore, this procedure is usually performed for the lower arch, however, you can install it on either one or both arches.
Types of implant overdentures
In practice, there are two main types of denture supports used, ball retained and bar retained. For either application, at least two implant posts are required. Consult with your dentist about which one is best suited for you.
These implants have a ball shaped form which can be attached to matching sockets in the denture itself. In this way they simply snap together, and are stabilized with the added support of your own soft tissue. The denture is usually made of acrylic and porcelain, which provides a reasonably natural look. This method of attachment is one of the more cost effective solutions for those using standard dentures.
Usually, 4 implants are used for this type of overdenture, however more of less implants can be used depending on your specific case, needs and functional ability. Its designed in the form of an arch shaped bar which binds all the implants on the jaw. There can be other attachments to the bar which would provide more stability when secured to your denture. The prosthetic is then placed on the bar and safely secured, providing even more stability than the ball-retained option. This option is usually more costly due to the number of implants needed. One major advantage of using a bar retained overdenture, is the fact that minimal bone loss occurs over the long term. This is due primarily because the denture is firmly supported by the implants and therefore is constantly stimulating the jawbone.
Taking care of your dentures
Just like any other solution for missing teeth, diligent oral hygiene is always an absolute necessity. Your dentures must be removed and cleaned every day to insure maximum longevity. The same principals apply for cleaning the areas around your implants, which is mandatory in order to maintain strong, healthy gums. It is not recommended that you go to sleep with your dentures still in place. Periodically, you should visit your dentist for check-ups and to re-adjust your dentures, as they tend to shift with constant use. The check-up is also an important time for inspecting your bite, so it’s exactly as it supposed to be. The attachment areas eventually wear out, because of the material’s that are used in the initial design process. Essentially, those areas should be changed every now and then, to guarantee the best attachment quality and highest possible level of security.
What to expect when wearing overdentures
In general, either of the overdenture solutions are more stable than traditional removable dentures, and you’ll experience fewer concerns about them slipping or falling out. The added security they’ll afford you will enhance your confidence, and virtually eliminate embarrassing situations that were reminiscent of your past. It will also be easier to speak, eat and to perform other everyday oral functions.