Better Quality of Life, With an Over-denture?

Ooverdenturever the past several years, there have been many improvements in tooth replacement. Implants have certainly made an impact on the lives of patients, and one choice they’ve been given is the over-denture. What is an over-denture, you wonder?  It is a denture that is held down permanently using precision attachments.  The over-denture attachment can be placed in tooth roots that have been saved, or placed onto dental implants. It certainly looks like a traditional prosthesis; however the part of the denture overlying the implants is modified to be projected above the gum. Studies show that even though only roots are preserved, and they are covered by a denture; a patient still has a sensory experience similar to patients who have their natural teeth, as opposed to individuals with conventional dentures and no preserved roots. Over-denture patients also appear to have more natural chewing activities. In other words, many patients relate that they still feel like they have teeth.  The over-denture can easily be removed for cleaning purposes.

Generally, there are two phases involved with the over-denture: surgical and prosthetic.

Surgical insertion stage

Implants are inserted into the jaw bone. While there are various implant configurations, they are essentially cylindrical in shape and made of pure titanium metal. While a minimum of two implants may be inserted for an acceptable outcome, a patient may need to receive three or more – – depending upon individual needs. More implants will give additional support and retention to the implant denture.

During healing, an existing or temporary denture may continue to be worn after adjustments have been made to adapt the site. If the existing denture cannot be altered sufficiently, a provisional one would be fabricated.

Prosthetic stage

A precision denture is fabricated which will be screwed or snapped into the implant extensions. The denture configuration helps to secure the denture while eating and speaking, and still allows a person to comfortably and easily remove it for cleaning purposes.

 Advantages:

  • Feels more like having teeth
  • Helps reduce shrinkage of surrounding bone
  • Creates confidence  – the denture won’t slip/move while eating or talking
  • Enhances the patient’s ability to eat a wide range of foods
  • Reduces pressure to the bone where teeth once were, creating fewer sore spots
  • Positive psychological advantage of still having teeth

 Disadvantages:

  • Oral hygiene is essential in order prevent decay and gum disease in existing roots
  • The over-denture may feel bulkier than a conventional denture.
  • Frequent maintenance examinations may be necessary, over time
  • Generally this is a more expensive approach than a conventional denture

Call our office to discuss the many options we offer regarding implants.  We’ve been creating smiles for over 25 years and would love to enhance or customize yours!

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