Dental Implant Supported Dentures

There are many options today for people who need replacement teeth. Dental implants are one of the best options available because they offer a permanent solution. Implants are costly, and some people are not candidates for traditional dental implants because of bone loss or health problems that increase the chance of the body rejecting the implants.

An alternative that works for many people is implant-supported dentures. Implant-supported dentures are the most secure dentures you can get. They are locked in by the implants and do not slip or slide the way that regular dentures can when held in by adhesive.

What Are Implant-Supported Dentures?

Implant-supported dentures work like regular dentures and have to be removed daily for cleaning. The difference is that they are supported by implants that are permanently placed in your mouth. It only takes a few implants to support a denture, top or bottom. Because of this, many people who don’t have enough bone under their gums to support full implants can get implants to support dentures. Because lower dentures are generally more problematic and more likely to slip when secured with denture adhesives, many people choose to get implant-supported dentures for the bottom only. It is possible, however, to get them to replace all of your teeth bottom and top.


How Do Implant-Supported Dentures Work?

These dentures are like normal dentures with acrylic or porcelain teeth on top, but on the bottom they have metal pieces that attach to the implants in your mouth. Some implant-supported dentures have a metal bar that clips to the implants, while others have ball attachments that fit into the implants. Both bar-retained and ball-retained dentures require at least two implants per arch. Unlike dentures that are held by adhesives, implant-supported dentures are secure because of the precise fit and strong attachment to the implants.


What is the Process of Getting Implant-Supported Dentures?

Usually the implants are placed near the front of your mouth because most people have more jawbone there. The entire process of getting implant-supported dentures can take several months to a year because healing time is necessary after the implant surgery. There are usually procedures that need to be done before you get the dentures. The first one is the placement of the implants into the gums; the second one uncovers the top of implants. There are some cases in which the entire process can be finished in one stage.


The First Consultation

The first step in getting implant-supported dentures is to discuss the procedure and your health history with a dentist. You will also undergo an exam, and the dentist will determine if you have enough jawbone and are a good candidate for implant-supported dentures. If you already wear dentures, you can continue to wear them during the process of getting your implants for your new dentures. If you don’t have dentures, you will get a set of temporary dentures. Your dentures will be used to help the dentist determine placement of the implants.


Understanding Possible Complications

Though complications are rare and the success rate of implants is high, getting implants is surgery and has risks. It is also possible that the implants will fail, which means that they do not fuse to the bone. Bar-retained dentures are also susceptible to certain problems. Because this type of denture needs more space for the bar and attachments, the teeth have less space and can sometimes become loose and separate from the base.

If this happens to your dentures, the problem can be easily fixed by the dentist. Bar-retained dentures also need to be balanced correctly on each implant; if they are not, the screws on the bar can come loose. This is more likely to happen to patients who grind or clench their teeth.


The Cost of Implant-Supported Dentures

Implant-supported dentures are one of the most economical choices for people who wish to have some type of dental implants. When the teeth of the dentures are made of porcelain, you can expect the cost to be higher. The cost of a full set, upper and lower, of porcelain implant-supported dentures ranges from about $4,000 to $6,000. By comparison, traditional implants can cost thousands of dollars per implant.

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