Understanding Implant-Supported Overdentures

Conventional dentures may be unstable and uncomfortable. The devices are customized to fit the precise shape of a patient's mouth. However, they may not offer the stability needed for proper chewing and even speaking without additional support. Some denture wearers apply denture adhesive to help prevent their devices from moving about. However, a denture may still slip. 

Nowadays, many dentists suggest overdentures that use implants for support. Here is a bit of information about implant-supported overdentures to help you better understand them.

What Is an Overdenture With Supporting Implants?

An overdenture is a type of full denture. It is used to replace an entire palate of teeth. Implants are used to hold the device in position.

Before the implants that stabilize the device are placed in the jawbone, the dentist must ensure that there is sufficient bone mass to properly support them.

Once the implants have been positioned in the bone and osseointegration is complete, the implants are fitted with abutments that permit their attachment to the overdenture.

Is an Overdenture Only Used for a Bottom Palate?

An implant-supported overdenture is often used for a bottom palate. However, it can also be used for a top palate.  

A bottom denture tends to be less stable because there is insufficient suction available to support the appliance. A top denture is more stable because a larger amount of suction is produced as the denture presses against the roof of the mouth.

Is There More Than One Type of Implant-Supported Overdenture?

Two types of implant-supported overdentures are frequently used. They include:

  • Ball-retained overdentures. The supporting implants include ball-shaped attachments that are made of metal and are designed to slide into the attachments on the dentures. 
  • Bar-retained overdentures. The implants are connected to a curve bar. The bar includes connectors that attach the devices to the overdenture.

How Is An Implant-Supported Overdenture Maintained?

Your dentist regularly assesses the appliance to ensure it is stabilized. If the denture moves about, it can inflame the gums and other soft tissues of the mouth.

The dentist also ensures that the top and bottom dentures fit together properly when you close your mouth. An improper fit can impair your ability to eat or speak. 

Additionally, the dentist typically replaces the attachment components of the appliance once or twice a year. 

For at-home maintenance, such as nightly cleanings, the patient can disconnect the overdenture from the implants.

To learn more about implant-supported dentures, or dental implant surgery, schedule an appointment with a dentist in your local area.