Many people turn to removable dentures to restore their smiles when they have no teeth in one or both of their jaws. But, while dentures are an economical way of restoring your smile, they’re not always comfortable or easy to wear.
They often slip when you speak or eat, making you self-conscious and keeping you from eating nutritious foods. They also can lead to bone loss over time in your jaw because they press down on the bony ridges that used to support your teeth. The good news is, there’s an easier way of preventing all of these issues — implant-supported dentures.
What Is an Implant-Supported Denture?
Implant-supported dentures are a type of overdenture, attached to and supported by dental implants. Regular dentures rest on your gums and aren’t supported by dental implants.
Implant-supported dentures are used when you don’t have any teeth in your jaw, but you do have enough bone in your jaw to support dental implants. Implant-supported dentures have special attachments you click onto attachments on your implants. They’re typically made for your lower jaw since standard dentures are often not as stable there.
Generally, a standard denture designed to fit your upper jaw is very stable by itself and doesn’t require the support of implants. But, you can still have an implant-supported denture in either of your jaws (lower or upper).
Benefits of Implant-Supported Dentures
Dental implants offer various benefits over other options for teeth replacement. Along with functioning and looking like regular teeth, an implant-supported denture is made to last a long time. Implant-supported dentures are additionally more stable and comfortable than standard dentures and allow you to retain a more natural chewing and biting capacity.
Also, an implant-supported denture preserves your bone better since it replaces some of your tooth roots. With standard dentures, the bone that formally surrounded your tooth roots starts to deteriorate (resorb). Implants integrate with the bone of your jaw, helping to keep the bone intact and healthy.
Dental implants are simpler to maintain and are more esthetic than standard dentures. The bone loss that comes with standard dentures causes jawbone recession and an unattractive, collapsed smile. Standard dentures make it harder to eat various foods.
How the Implant Process Works
It’s a good idea to understand how the process for implant-supported dentures works.
- The Initial Consultation: During your first visit, you’ll see one of our dentists who are experienced in placing implants. They’ll take X-rays and impressions, so they can create your models. They might order a CT scan as well to locate your nerves and sinus cavities and see how much bone you have available. Over the next several appointments, you’ll have a temporary denture created for you.
- The First Procedure: Our dentist will place the implants in your jawbone during your first procedure. After they make a small incision, they’ll drill a hole in your exposed bone, place the implant and then use stitches to close the incision. They’ll repeat the process for each implant. You’ll need to wait approximately three to six months before you undergo your second procedure. This will give your implants time to fuse to your jawbone.
- The Second Procedure: Your second procedure will expose the tops of the implants. After they’re exposed, our dentist will place a collar or healing cap on each head, which will help guide the healing. You’ll have to wear the collar for about two weeks (10 to 14 days). Our dentist will replace the healing caps with regular abutments. They’ll make another impression, which will help them make your artificial teeth and denture framework.
- The Final Procedure: During your final procedure, our dentist places a metal bar on your abutments and you’ll try on your artificial teeth and denture framework. If it all fits properly, our dentist will permanently secure your new teeth in place and add bar or ball attachments to keep the frame secured to your dental implants. They’ll then give you instructions on how to properly care for your implant-supported dentures and have you schedule your follow-up appointments, so they can check your oral health.
Schedule Your Appointment Today with Fishinger Dental
If you’re considering implant-supported dentures, contact our office to set up your initial consultation with one of our Hilliard, OH dentists. We can provide you with a comprehensive oral exam, assess your dental situation, and let you know if you’re a good candidate for implant-supported dentures.