The concept of implant supported dentures is the brainchild of some of the latest developments in modern dentistry. Traditionally, dentures are the conventional replacements for your missing teeth. Be it a few missing teeth or the entire set of teeth in either of your jaws, dentures are a set of artificial teeth that are fitted into your mouth to restore your normal chewing functionalities.
Before setting in to draw a comparison, let us elucidate the concept of implant-supported dentures. Such dentures are essentially the ones that are permanent in nature and are supported on either side by implants (small metallic posts made up of titanium).
How are the Implants Done?
The implants are usually surgically embedded in the jawbone at the front of your mouth. This is because there tends to be more bone in the front of the jaw than in the back. In case of missing teeth, once you miss a tooth, you begin to lose bone in the area. Even then, the front portion bears larger bone mass than the rear part.
Generally, two surgeries are done. The first one is to place the implants in the jawbone under the gums. An incision is made in the gum and a hole is drilled through which the implant is placed and the incision is stitched closed.
The second surgery is done 3 to 6 months after the first one, after the bone has fused well with the implants. The purpose of this second one is to expose the tops of the implants. This is essential to place the dentures atop the implants. The undersides of the laboratory made dentures are such that they snap onto the implanted posts and thus remain firm in their position permanently.
The time frame required to complete the entire procedure depends on many factors. The shortest time frame is five months for the lower jaw and seven months for the upper jaw. This includes both implant posting surgeries and the placement of the denture. However, complicated procedures can even last for more than a year, especially if bone grafting or other procedures are required!
Why go for Implant Supported Dentures Instead of Traditional Ones?
Now we can divert our discussion from ‘what are implant supported dentures’ to ‘why they are opted for’? Although implanted dentures are a rather costly and time-consuming procedure, individuals today go for it due to a number of virtues. To enlist a few of them are:
- Rather than loose-fitting dentures, implant-supported ones are more comfortable and convenient. Individuals remain more confident while they talk, laugh or eat in public.
- The trouble of false teeth slipping or falling out while talking or chewing exists no longer.
- With conventional dentures slurred speech and clicking noises are common problems. With the Implant-supported ones, you talk easily and in a more clear and natural voice.
- The look and feel of implant supported dentures is much more natural. This is because lesser plastic is required for their retention.
- Issues like bone loss and jaw shrinking exist in case of traditional dentures. With the fixed restorations, instead, bone mass is further stimulated which encourages its growth!
There are still added advantages of using implant supported modern dentures. Once opting for them, an individual is free from the hassles of using denture adhesives!
The Types of Implant-Supported Dentures:
Implanted dentures come in two main variants and they are:
- Ball-retained dentures and
- Bar-retained dentures.
The implant in the jawbone holds a metal attachment that fits into another attachment on the denture. Mostly, the attachments on the implants are ball-shaped and they fit into sockets that are present on the denture.
A thin metal bar that runs parallel to the curve of your jaw is attached to the implants that have been placed in your jawbone. Clips and fasteners are fitted to the bar or the denture or both. The denture after being placed over the bar is secured with the help of those clips and fasteners.
Since the metal titanium stimulates bone growth, dentists usually recommend this modern form of dentures, provided it is suited to both your time and affordability. However, consulting with your dentist would be the best way to decide upon which variant of these dentures is best suited for your case.