Traditional dentures have been a part of the dental industry since very early days. While they did a fair job of improving the esthetics for the edentulous, there were a few shortcomings in terms of functionality; more so with the lower jaw. This led to the advent of implant-supported dentures.
What are implant-supported dentures?
Implant-supported dentures take support from the implant inserted into the bone, unlike the regular dentures which simply rest over the jawbones.
What are the advantages of implant-supported dentures?
They are more stable and therefore feel more natural. Due to better stability, they also help improve speech in edentulous people.
They have a better fit and facilitate chewing of all kinds of foods.
The Implant dentures stimulate the jaw bone, thereby help in preserving the bone structure.
Well-nourished meals, improved speech function, and regular jaw stimulation help in improving the overall quality of life.
What to expect during your treatment for an overdenture?
The treatment takes place in two phases: The implant placement and the making of the overdenture.
Implant Surgery: This surgery involves placing the implants in the jawbone. An incision is made in the gum where the implant will be placed and a hole is drilled in the bone. Now, an implant is inserted into this hole and the incision is closed with the help of stitches.
After the first surgery, the dentist will wait for three or six months before proceeding with the dentures. During this time, the bone and the implants fuse with each other. The waiting period varies on a case to case basis.
Once proper fusion has taken place, the implant heads are exposed by making a small incision in the gums. The exposed area is covered with an abutment in order to guide the gums to heal at the proper level.
The making of the overdentures: After the implant site has completely healed (15-20 days after the second surgery), an impression of the gum tissue and the implants is made using an impression material or a digital scanner. This measurement is now sent to the lab for the final denture.
Your dentist will test the fitting of the new denture and the stability of the attachments. He will ask if you feel any sharp edges or any abnormal pressure on your gums. The dentist will also check if the placement of the top and the bottom teeth is proper. If everything seems fine, you will be sent home with a new set of dentures. You will be called for a follow up after wearing the dentures for a few days.
During the follow-up visit, the dentist will check for any sore spots on the gums, any lose attachments or any anomaly in the bite.
Potential risks and complications:
Implant surgeries have a high success rate, but some people (approx 5-7%) experience dental implant failure. The failure can occur immediately after the surgery or after a few months. There have been cases where the implants have functioned well for quite a few years before showing signs of failure.
Denture stomatitis is a common problem in full and partial denture wearers, and can also be seen in patients wearing overdentures. It is a yeast infection and can arise due to various factors, like poor oral hygiene, reduced saliva production, and poor diet. Common signs include ulcers, red and white patches or both.
How to take care of your implants and overdentures:
Just like the traditional dentures, you need to remove them at night and store them in water, rinse them after every meal and wash them regularly with soap and a soft brush. It would be ideal to soak them in the denture cleaning solution for a few hours, once a week. Read the complete article on denture cleaning here.
The implants need regular cleaning too. You should rinse your mouth after every meal, and brush and floss the implants twice a day. This will get rid of any food particle stuck on your implants. To get access to all the sides and surfaces of the implant you can use an interdental brush. Your dentist may advise a mouthwash routine depending on the need.
Also, do not eat anything without the dentures in place. Some foods can lead to surface scratches, or even put undue pressure on the implant attachments.
If you feel any attachment or the implant loosen in the mouth, contact your dentist right away. In case of extreme mobility, be careful to not swallow it.
Are you the right candidate for this?
This is a surgical procedure and certain criteria are to be met. Not everyone can undergo this procedure. Depending on the medical and dental reports your dentist will decide the treatment best suited for you.