What are Dental Implants and Overdentures?

Dental implants are medical devices utilized to replace missing teeth and provide a long lasting prosthetic. Implants are constructed from a titanium post, which is used because the metal fuses well with the human body and a crown, usually made from porcelain. The titanium post is inserted into the spot where the missing tooth was located and the crown acts as a natural-looking prosthetic. Overdentures are replacement teeth which are secured by dental implants.

How Are Dental Implants Placed?

Traditionally, the placement of an implant will require three appointments with the dentist. During the first visit, the titanium post will be installed in the jawbone. Several weeks are allowed to pass so the post can fuse with the jaw bone, ensuring a strong connection which is ready for the prosthetic tooth. During the second appointment, the artificial tooth is requested. An impression of the gap and surrounding teeth will be made and sent to a lab where the crown will be fabricated. The abutment for the implant is also attached and will serve as the connector between the crown and the implant post. Finally, the prosthetic tooth is attached via the abutment and buffed to be smooth.

What Types of Overdentures Are Available?

There are three types of overdentures commonly used including:

Fixed, Implant Supported- With these overdentures, the bar connector is built into the overdenture. These look the most like a person’s natural teeth because they don’t simply rest on the gums and they are non-removable.

Bar-Retained, Implant Supported- This type utilizes a metal bar with attachments which connect to the implants. These overdentures are secured to the bar using attachments which built into the denture and are removable.

Implant-Retained, Gum Supported- These overdentures rest on the person’s gums The overdentures are removable and are held in place by attachments which are incorporated into the denture itself and connect to the dental implants. These work for people but may not offer the same advantages as the two other forms.

What are the Advantages of Using Overdentures?

Overdentures provide:

  • Stimulation of the jaw bone when the person is eating reduces bone loss
  • The stimulation also promotes retention of facial features and structure which slows or stops resorption associated with tooth loss
  • Patients can chew more thoroughly and it promotes better digestion
  • Reduced movement which might contribute to sores because the overdentures are attached more securely

Will I be able to Eat More Foods?

Implant-retained overdentures often fit more securely, allowing patients to eat foods, such as chewy foods or hard candies, that they may have avoided when they were using adhesives and dentures.