What Are Implant Retained Dentures?
Many patients with multiple missing teeth find that their dentures become loose or do not fit well. There may be a better option than conventional dentures. Implant retained dentures – also known as implant supported dentures – are false teeth that are anchored to implants placed permanently in the mouth.
Implant-retained dentures have several benefits over conventional dentures. They help to preserve the remaining jaw bone. More secure and comfortable, they offer improved ability to chew and speak. Many patients find this method to be the best option for replacing their missing teeth.
Implant retained dentures are similar to conventional dentures, but are designed to be held securely in place with dental implants, rather than relying on suction and dental adhesives. Implants provide a solid basis for the implant. This stability improves comfort and makes it easier to chew and speak without worrying about shifting dentures.
What are Dental Implants?
The process of inserting implant retained dentures begins with the placement of the implants themselves. Dental implants are small titanium screws inserted through a hole drilled in the jaw bone. The screws are then given time to fuse with the jaw bone, a process that makes them much stronger than other methods of anchoring dentures.
These screws act like the roots of natural teeth. They can be used to anchor a single false tooth, a row of several false tooth, or even a complete set of dentures. Depending on the number of missing teeth and other factors, a full set of dentures may require as few as two implants or as many as 10 to support the intended denture.
Next, the denture device itself is created, using much the same process as the procedure to make conventional dentures. Then, a piece called an abutment is placed on the implant. The denture is then snapped onto the abutment. One of the simplest types of implant retained dentures has a ball-type head on top of the implant, which snaps into a plastic fitting on the underside of the denture. This is just one type of attachment option. Some styles are designed to be fully removable for cleaning purposes, while others may only be removed by a dentist.
Dental implants usually last several decades, or even up to a lifetime, depending on general health and oral hygiene. The dentures on top of these implants may need to be replaced every 5-10 years. False teeth in the back of the mouth usually wear out faster than those in the front of the mouth because of the increased force from chewing.
Candidates For Dental Implants:
Whether patients are eligible for implant retained dentures, or conventional dentures are a better match for them, is dependent on several factors. First, an x-ray must be used to determine whether there is enough bone in the jaw to support the implants. Over time, this bone wears down; patients who have had teeth missing for many years may therefore be ineligible for dental implants. In addition, the upfront cost for implant retained dentures can be higher than the cost for conventional dentures.