If someone is looking at the possibility of replacing many teeth in their mouth, or even a full plate, one of the most obvious solutions is to use dentures. Dentures are, of course, one of the oldest forms of teeth replacement and they’re still widely used to this day.
However, the technology and methods for attaching them to the mouth have changed greatly! There are many more options than just the old style of dentures which rest directly on the gums and may have to be frequently glued into place. Instead, when a patient’s mouth can support them, implant supported dentures are a preferred solution for many cosmetic dentists.
Like all cosmetic dental procedures, there is no perfect solution for everyone – but implant supported dentures are an excellent option, when possible.
How Do Implant Supported Dentures Work?
The point of implant supported dentures is to create a much more stable and reliable set of attachment points for the dentures to hook into. In particular, traditional dentures tend to be very unstable on lower jaws, often requiring measures such as glue to keep them in place. Implant supported dentures try to avoid this to give patients new upper or lower plates which will stay in place throughout all normal usage.
As the name suggest, these dentures are supported by implants – false teeth or teeth-like structures implanted directly into the mouth, attached to the bone. These implants then become the attachment points for the denture itself, and are ultimately hidden by the larger appliance.
There are two major forms of implant supported dentures:
- Ball-retained dentures: These have only two implants per plate, at the back of the mouth, with ball-and-socket attachment points on each implant. The denture connects directly to these points. These dentures are a bit faster to install.
- Bar-retained dentures: These involve five implants spaced evenly around the gum, each helping hold up a thin metal bar. The dentures then clip onto this bar. These dentures are easier to attach and remove, and are generally considered more reliable than ball-retained dentures.
In most cases, these dentures are still removed for cleaning and at night, like traditional dentures. They’re just easier to work with. However, there are also more permanent options available. Implant-attached bridges are very similar in design and usage, but are intended to always remain in place.
The big issue with implant supported dentures is the time, effort, and cost of installation. There is no quick or easy way of installing them – the attachment points must be implanted surgically. So, one or more sessions are required to install all the implant points, and will require several months’ recovery time before the denture plates can be used.
A timeline of 6-12 months is typical for patients receiving implant supported dentures.
Are Implant Supported Dentures the Right Option for You?
If you are facing significant tooth loss, a form of dentures may be the answer. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Christopher Moore and Associates today.