What are implant dentures?
Implant dentures are a type of denture supported by implants secured in the jawbone. This type of overdenture is used when there are no teeth in the jaw. A normal denture simply rests against the gums with no additional support.
Implant dentures are usually used when a patient has no teeth in the jaw but enough bone in the jaw to support the implants. The implant dentures have a special attachment to help them snap into the implants.
Implant dentures are more commonly used on the lower jaw because regular dentures seem to be stable enough on the top jaw. Dentures made for the lower jaw often have stability issues and are better off with some extra support. With that being said, it is possible to have implant dentures on both the lower and upper jaw, and our implant denture center near Plano, TX, would be more than happy to work with you and find an implant denture solution tailored to your needs.
It is important that implant-supported dentures are removed on a daily basis for routine cleaning of both the dentures and the gums. Similar to normal dentures, you should never sleep with implant-supported dentures on. It is possible to have fixed bridgework and crowns for more comfort, but we will need to look into your situation to decide what solution is best.
How do implant dentures work?
There are only two different types of implant-supported dentures. Bar-retained and ball-retained. In either case, the denture base is crafted from a special acrylic that is designed to have the appearance of gums. From this base, either acrylic or porcelain teeth are added. These teeth are designed to look exactly how your natural teeth would, to give you a strong sense of self-confidence in your smile. No matter which implant-supported denture type you get, at least two implants will be needed to support the denture.
Bar-retained dentures consist of a thin bar designed to the shape of your jaw. This metal bar can be attached to anywhere from two to five implants placed in your jawbone. Usually, clip attachments are made to fit the bar and the denture so that the denture can fit over the bar and be clipped into place. Some other attachment methods are a possibility at our implant dentures center near Plano, TX.
Ball-retained dentures, also known as stud-attachment dentures, are a type of implant-supported denture where every implant features a metal attachment, usually a ball, that fits into a socket on the denture. In some cases, the denture has the metal attachments and the implants hold the sockets. Either way, this is a solid and reliable method of mounting dentures in the mouth.
Getting the implants
Typically, the implants are placed in the front of the jawbone, as that is where the most bone is. This extra bone provides additional support. Even in cases where teeth have been missing for a while, the front of the jaw has the most bone. Additionally, the front jaw doesn’t have as many nerves or important structures that could interfere with the placement of future implants.
The time needed to complete an implant varies greatly from case to case. The shortest amount of time you should expect is five to seven months depending on which jaw the implants are placed in (upper or lower). This includes all of the procedures and denture fittings. Remember that this is the shortest possible time, and it is not uncommon for this process to take more than a year, especially for those who need additional procedures done beforehand.
To accomplish implant-supported dentures, there are typically two surgeries that must be done. The first is the placement of the implants under your gums. This is usually done on the front of the jaw bone. The second is done to expose the top of the implant. This procedure is done several months after the first.
Nowadays, it is possible to get all of this done in a single procedure. It is possible for us to place both the implants and the supporting bar in a single step with a relatively high success rate. Please contact our implant dentures office near Plano, TX to find out which option is the best for you.
Getting a consultation
Before you get any work done, it is important that you give us a visit or contact us so that we can learn more about your dental situation and needs. We have years of experience in implant placement and restoration.
After the initial contact, you will need to be examined along with any dental or medical history you may have. This will include an X-ray and a model of your teeth and gums to be made. In some cases, a computed tomography, or CT scan, is also necessary. This lets the dentist see where your sinuses are located, as well as the nerves so that these spots are avoided during future surgery or implant placement. Another use of CT scans is to see how much bone is available to use for implants.
If you don’t already wear a denture, you may need a temporary one until your implant dentures are ready. To complete the temporary denture, expect a couple dentist visits and a few weeks time. This temporary denture allows the dentist to see what placement would be best for the final denture. Additionally, this temporary denture can always be saved as a backup option in the event something happens to your implant-supported denture.
After the temporary denture is created, it is used as a guide to properly place the implants within your mouth. Holes are drilled into the temporary dentures, allowing the surgeon to visualize where the implants should be placed.
The first surgery
Your first surgery can be done in month 1 if you already have a denture, but you will have to wait an additional month if you do not.
This surgery consists of placing the implants in the jawbone. To do this, an incision is made in the gums where the implant is going to be placed. Then, a hole is drilled into the bone where the implant is then placed. Finally, the incision is stitched and left to heal.
When healing from this surgery, you should avoid applying pressure on the implants. It is possible for the dentist to modify a denture so that it does not directly apply force to the fresh implants. To also reduce the pressure, a softer lining can be used on the denture.
Once the surgery is complete, you must wait three to four months for implants in the lower jaw, and five to six months for implants in the upper jaw, before you can schedule the second surgery. During this waiting period, the bone and implant fuse together to become one.
The second surgery
The second surgery can be performed between months four and six depending on whether or not you had a pair of dentures.
After the implants have fused with the bone, it is possible to schedule the second surgery with your dentist. An X-ray will then be taken to ensure that the implants are ready for the next surgery. This time, it will be much simpler. Incisions are made in the gums to expose the top of the implants.
Once the head of each implant is exposed, a healing collar is placed onto it. This helps the gum tissue correctly heal around the area. This healing collar consists of a rounded piece of metal that simply holds the gums away from the implant. These collars should be worn for about two weeks. Then, your temporary denture is given another soft lining to secure the denture while the gums heal.
The healing collars can be replaced with the normal implant-supported denture attachments after two weeks of healing. At this point, your gums will be healed enough for one of the implant dentures specialists near Plano, TX to take an impression of your gums and implants. From this impression, the framework of the denture and teeth are made.
Denture fitting and insertion
You can try on your denture and have any adjustments made during months 5 to 7 of the process depending on whether or not you had a denture in the first place.
At this time, the metal bar will be attached to the denture, and you will be trying on your new implant-supported denture for the first time!
Once the denture and tooth models are created, they are all fitted with the metal bar or ball attachments. Soon after, the whole denture can be tested in your mouth. If everything works properly, the denture is then permanently attached to the teeth and ball or bar metal attachments.
You must come back to your dentist at a later time to have the final denture inserted. This denture will be clipped onto the metal bar or snapped into the ball attachments depending on the mounting method used.
To ensure you always have a backup, your temporary denture is given another reline. If you ever lose or damage your new implant-supported denture, you will be able to use the temporary one as a backup. However, some choose to use their temporary denture as the permanent one, so they just install the ball sockets or bar clips into that denture. In this case, you will need another backup.
How to care for the implant-supported denture
After you receive your final denture from out implant dentures center near Plano, TX, it is important to use proper care. For example, always take your denture out at night to clean the gums and denture.
At this point, the dentist will test all the parts to your new denture, ensuring they are secure. Even though this denture is fixed to your mouth, it can still rub against the gums when you chew. This can cause sore spots on the gums, so your dentist will also be checking for any contact between the gums and the denture. The last thing to check is the bite of the denture.
The bar clips for the bar-retained denture will need replacing every 6 to 12 months. They wear after daily use because they are made of a plastic nylon material.
Things to look out for
In addition to the risks posed by surgery and implants, bar-retained dentures have some risks of their own.
After the bar is attached to the implants, it must be balanced on all of them. This is considered to be a passive fit and is the ideal resting point. If a fit is not passive, the screws can loosen due to the strain on the bar. Those who clench or grind their teeth may have problems with implants coming loose or parts of the denture breaking.
What to expect from your new dentures
Once you get your implant dentures, you will find that they are much more stable than traditional dentures. They are easier to speak with and never come loose or fall out. Usually, you will be able to eat foods that you couldn’t before. Be cautious of eating hard or sticky foods, however, because they can damage the denture.
If you want to wear an implant denture, it can be made to cover less of the roof of your mouth than a regular denture would. This is because implants are holding it in place opposed to the suction of the denture. Give us a call today at our office near Plano, Texas and we can discuss your implant denture options!