There are many reasons a person can lose their tooth or several teeth. Trauma to the gums or gum disease can result in significant damage to a person’s teeth. When teeth are excessively damaged, it may not be possible to save them, and the only option may be to extract them. However, being toothless or having a lot of teeth missing can be embarrassing for anyone, affecting their confidence and self-esteem.
Fortunately, there are ways to replace your lost teeth, making you feel confident again. Implant overdentures is one of the best options both economically and aesthetically, to replace missing teeth. For this procedure, you need a qualified dentist that understands the process of installing your implant dentures. At Encino Dental Implant, we have years of experience installing dental implants with excellent results.
Overview on Dentures
Dentures are to replace missing or weak teeth. They are removable appliances that come as partial or full sets of teeth, found in a particular area in your mouth. Conventional dentures, on the other hand, are designed to stay on the gums and can sometimes be attached to any natural teeth in the mouth. Implant dentures are fixed on a surgically fitted foundation on the jawbone or line.
When an entire line of teeth needs replacing, complete dentures are used. When replacing upper jaw teeth, the dentures are made with flesh like an acrylic base to cover the mouth’s roof and the gums. This design allows the set of artificial teeth to sit in the mouth securely.
Full dentures used on the lower jaw, on the other hand, are in the shape of a horseshoe. The base made from acrylic takes this shape to provide space for the tongue to rest.
Before fitting your full dentures, your dentist will extract any teeth remaining in your mouth. Once this is done, the jawbone will start reshaping itself slowly. The dentist will recommend waiting a few months before taking measurements for the dentures. This is important in ensuring the perfect fit for your mouth.
During this period, however, you will have no teeth, but the dentist will supply you with temporary dentures to stay comfortable. These are used until the time when the jaw heals completely and is reshaped. Then, the dentist will measure the new dentures.
If a patient is not missing all of their teeth, partial dentures can replace them. Partial dentures are attached to the adjacent teeth by various methods. The most common involves using metal clasps to connect to the existing natural teeth.
The other option in fitting partial dentures is when they will adhere to less visible precision attachments. They are also attached to the crowns of your natural teeth. Connecting them to the tops of your teeth improves their fit, meaning they will be more secure.
Just like the name, these types of dentures are supported by metallic implants that are surgically fitted on the jawbone. The implants are installed by a dentist over two or one visits and are secure in place. One of the most significant advantages of implant dentures is their secure fitting and stability compared to other dentures. This advantage is even more noticeable on the lower jawline. Regular or conventional dentures would likely slip from their position but not when supported by implants.
Implant dentures are either bar or ball retained. The bar retained has a thin metal bar attached between two and five implants. Clips are used to attach the dentures onto the bar. On the other hand, ball retained dentures have sockets made to fit in ball-like connectors found on the implants.
When patients lose their teeth and require dentures to replace them, one of their biggest worries is having them slip as they eat or talk, or any other time. The market is filled with denture glues or creams to help keep dentures securely in place. Unfortunately, they fall short of providing the grip they promise to last all day. This causes embarrassment to the wearers when they slip.
Fortunately, implant dentures prevent this from happening because the dentures are securely fitted in place, and no slip-ups happen. Many patients are offered the more expensive implant dentures option, yet the removable implant-supported dentures are equally good and less costly. There are several benefits to consider when comparing removable implant dentures to permanent implants. These are:
- They are significantly lower in cost
- They are easier to clean because they can be removed making cleaning easier and faster
- A patient that suffers from bone loss, implant-supported overdentures provide facial support. This helps the face look fuller and younger compared to when wearing other dentures.
Who Qualifies for Implant Overdentures?
When a person feels they need their missing teeth replaced, they will have to visit a dentist to examine them and advise them on the best way that suits them. It is also essential to know that not everyone qualifies to get dental implants that are used to fit removable dentures. Deciding you want implant-supported dentures does not mean you will automatically get them. One qualifies to get implant dentures if:
- They have one or several teeth missing
- Their jawbone is fully developed and grown
- They have sufficient and robust bone to support implants, or they can get a bone graft
- Their oral tissues are healthy and free of diseases
- They have no contradictions that would affect the healing of their bone
- They are ready for the few months needed for the process
- They do not smoke tobacco
When you visit your dentist requiring implant dentures, he or she will carry out a comprehensive medical background check on you. Your current medical condition is taken into account. The process of fitting implants that support overdentures is a surgical process. This means that the patient must be in excellent health to perform surgery. Some of the conditions that can disqualify a patient from getting implant dentures are:
- If the general health of the patient is not good, it means they cannot be put on anesthesia to enable the surgery to insert the implants.
- When a patient has cancer, it becomes unhealthy for them to have any procedure performed on them to avoid aggravating the multiplication of the cancer cells
- To get implants fitted, the patient must have strong bones. If a patient has any bone disease or condition that causes their bones to be brittle or have an abnormal quality of bones, they will not qualify for dental implants. Dental implants are typically fitted on the bone, meaning they get their support from the bone. If the bone is not stable or strong enough to provide this support, you will not get implant overdentures fitted.
- Heart diseases can also disqualify a potential patient from having implant dentures. When a person suffers from acute rheumatic fever, they will not qualify for surgery.
- If a patient is going through a radiotherapy treatment in the neck or head region, they will not be eligible to get implant overdentures
- A patient that has a condition that dramatically affects their immune system will also not qualify for implant dentures. If a patient was receiving an organ transplant, has an auto-immune disease, among others, they would not be considered for dental implants or implant dentures.
When the dentist is carrying out the first comprehensive medical check on a potential patient, he or she must ensure to find out everything there is about the patient’s medical and health background. The consequences of a surgical procedure when a person has some of the above conditions can be bad.
Other contradictions that can stop a patient from temporarily not getting implant dentures are:
- When the patient has uncontrolled diabetes. If diabetes is well controlled, a patient can have implant dentures fitted; however, if not, it delays healing, among other complications.
- When a potential patient is hypertensive, they may end up bleeding excessively during surgery. Blood pressure must be stabilized before a patient qualifies for implant dentures
- A patient that is in their initial months of pregnancy must avoid any stress that can affect the baby. Getting fitted with implants to support dentures can cause unnecessary stress to a pregnant mother that may result in premature labor.
If all the above are checked, and you qualify to have implant dentures, the dentist can schedule for the process to begin. The process, as earlier said, can take several months to be completed.
Getting Removable Implant Dentures
The process of getting your removable implant dentures is lengthy and begins with the examination of your health and oral health. Once you are qualified to have dental implants, the process starts. If the dentist establishes that you require bone grafting to strengthen and increase your bone mass, the process begins.
Grafting is only done when the jawbone is not sufficient or strong enough to support the implants. When a person chews, they assert a lot of pressure on the jawbone. If the bone is not strong enough, it will not support the implant and the force of the chewing. As a result, the implant fails, and your removable dentures will not have a base. A bone graft, in this case, creates strong support for the implants needed to hold the dentures in place.
In rebuilding your bone, several materials are available. A bone can be harvested from another part of your body and used to graft your jawbone. This is called a natural bone graft. An artificial bone or synthetic one can also be used as a substitute. This material, when applied to graft the jawbone, provides support for the growth of new bone. Your dentist will discuss the various options available that include the use of a bone from an animal as well. With the options, you will pick what works best in your case.
When your bone needs grafting, prepare for the several months required for it to grow sufficiently to support the implants. If you are lucky and require a minor grafting, it can be done together with your implant surgery.
The Process of Placing Implants Before the Dentures
Before the removable dentures are placed on the implants, there is first the process of fixing the implants. As earlier stated, fixing of implants is a surgical procedure. The surgeon makes an incision on the gum that exposes the underlying bone. The dentist proceeds to drill holes where the metallic implants will be placed. These metallic implants are known as posts, that serve as the roots or base of the dentures. These posts are set deep into the bone to ensure they are stable.
After this initial surgery, your gums or mouth will need time to heal. However, the areas that you required teeth replacement will still be without teeth. Your dentist can give you temporary dentures to cover these parts as the procedure goes on.
After the placing of the metal post, it is expected that it begins to fuse with the jawbone until the bone and tissues securely surround it. This is also the period of healing, and it takes several months.
Once the fusion of the jawbone and the metallic implant is completed, additional surgery is done. The operation is necessary to place the abutment, which is where the removable dentures are fitted. This is a minor surgery performed under local anesthesia.
Your dentist, at this stage, will make another incision that will expose the metallic posts. The abutment is attached to the metallic post or dental implant in preparation for the overdentures. Your dentist, after this procedure, will close the incision around the abutment and leave it exposed. This is usually the last surgical procedure in having your removable implants dentures fixed.
Once the abutment is placed, your gums require time to heal from the surgery before fixing your removable dentures.
What to Expect After the Procedure
Irrespective of how many stages you have undergone to have your dental implants fixed, you will experience discomfort due to the surgeries. If you experience some of the following, it is normal and should not cause you to panic. However, if the pain becomes excessive, you may need to see your dentist to establish if there is an underlying issue. Some of the experiences will include:
- Having your face and gums swollen
- Having bruised gums or skin
- Experience pain where the incisions were made or implant placed
- You may also bleed slightly
Your dentist may prescribe medications to control the pain as well as antibiotics to help fight against any possible infections. Following the surgery, the soreness of your gums will not allow you to consume tough foods; at this time, soft foods should be your main diet until you heal.
Having Your Removable Implant Dentures Fixed
After the healing of your gums, your dentist will take impressions of your mouth and any natural teeth you still have. These impressions are necessary when making crowns or your dentures. The artificial teeth must be made to resemble your natural teeth as much as possible.
Once you have decided on your artificial dentures, they will be made, and a schedule is made of when you will have them fitted. These dentures will be made of white teeth over pink plastic gum. They are mounted on a metal frame that is attached to the abutment. This easily snaps in place and is securely fitted on the abutment. Although these removable implant dentures can be removed easily, they will not slip or come out when one is doing their usual things.
Under removable implant dentures, there are two options a patient can choose from. These are:
Implant Retained Overdentures
These types of removable dentures involve at least two implants together with a removable device. This, in many cases, is seen as an upgrade from the traditional dentures. They provide more support and are more secure. They improve your chewing, and you enjoy eating more compared to the original dentures.
Unfortunately, these kinds of dentures may require adjustments due to the change of your bone tissues as you age. The dentures need to be adjusted to fit well. When it comes to cost, these are the most affordable of all the dentures.
These dentures involve the attachment of four implants. This is an excellent choice for removable dentures, although it has its disadvantages as well. For instance, if one of the four implants fails, the entire fixture may fail. However, they are not expensive to repair when this happens.
For people that have a higher smile on the upper side, these are ideal because they hide where the natural gum meets the denture. The flexibility of removing them is an advantage because you have to clean them thoroughly.
Unfortunately, compared to fixed dentures, they are bulkier because of their acrylic base. They also require to be fitted on a metal bar before being attached to the abutment for support. The acrylic material is too porous compared to porcelain. This makes them more challenging to clean, but they are more affordable.
Benefits of Having Removable Implant Overdenture
When you find yourself missing teeth, there are many options for replacing your teeth. Using removable implant overdentures, however, has various advantages compared to traditional dentures. These include:
- Stability – Compared to conventional dentures, implant-supported overdentures provide more stability. This means you will not be concerned with having the dentures falling as you speak or as you eat. Until you remove them when you want to clean them, they will securely stay in place.
- Preventing the loss of bone – Having implants prevents loss of bone. Due to this, your face will not collapse or change its shape as the bones wear down as compared to traditional dentures. Traditional dentures are not able to support a patient’s jaw and allow a lack of teeth to change your face substantially.
- No embarrassment – One of the biggest worries of dentures is when they fall out and embarrass you. Traditional dentures can shift or fall off as you eat, talk, or laugh. This can cause you embarrassment, but it is not the case with implant overdentures. Even though they are removable, they securely fit using metal wires to the abutment. With traditional dentures, you will have to be careful about the type of food you eat because it may be too strong for your dentures. Removable implant overdentures are securely fastened on the implants and do not get easily worn out.
- Durability – Removable implant dentures have a longer life compared to traditional dentures. With the metal posts made from titanium, they can last a lifetime when well cared for.
- Less costly – Removable dentures are less expensive compared to fixed dentures, yet they last longer.
Caring for Your Dentures
After you have your snap on removable dentures fitted, you must care for them. As you do your natural teeth, your removable implant dentures need careful cleaning each day. Because the denture plate is usually attached to the implants, you will be required to remove the detachable devices and clean around them. Clean the false teeth as well as the gum area.
Do not sleep with dentures. When night comes, remove your dentures to avoid complications or infections. Additionally, ensure you keep regular dental visits to help keep your dental health at its optimum. The dentist will always check if your gums and mouth are healthy, and your dentures still fit comfortably and securely. Your dentist, from time to time, will want to have scans or X-rays done to monitor the position of the implants and abutment.
The attachments or clips must also be checked to be well fitted. Because they wear out, you will need to have them replaced every year or two years. With correct care, the removable implant dentures will provide you with reliable performance for many years.
To clean them, remove them from your mouth, and using a soft toothbrush, clean your gums gently to avoid bruising them. Take extra precautions around the implants. Clean any debris on the dentures using the same brush with a gentle toothpaste. This process should be repeated twice a day. If proper cleaning is not maintained, the dentures can harbor bacteria, which would accumulate and result in severe infections.
Regularly, and possibly once each day, soak the dentures in clean water that has a suitable compound for cleaning them and killing any pathogens. The mixture will also help remove any stains that may have formed on the dentures and keep them looking fresh and clean for long.
Find a Dental Implant Specialist Near Me
When you have lost your teeth, it can affect your confidence. Receiving a cost-effective, lasting solution may be your next question. Fortunately, removable implant dentures are just the solution you need. With these dentures, you will enjoy life again, laugh, eat your favorite foods without worrying about embarrassing moments. Getting a dentist that is experienced in removable implant dentures is also crucial to ensure proper installation. At Encino Dental Implant, we have years of giving our patients their smile back and can do it for you as well. Contact us at 818-810-7535 and make an appointment.