Implant supported dentures accomplish a level of retention and stability that other types of dentures do not have. For example, a regular denture rests on the gums and isn’t supported by implants. When a patient does not have any healthy teeth remaining in the jaw, but they have enough bone to support an implant, an implant supported denture can be used with special attachments allowing implants to snap in and remain in place.
Normally, you will find implant-supported dentures made for the lower jaw as dentures are notoriously unstable here. Going with implants for the upper jaw isn’t always necessary if the main purpose is to keep the upper denture stable and retentive. That said, implant supported dentures can be surgically placed for the upper jaw for reasons of keeping the palate free or slowing down the bone resorption rate. Here is a quick review of the implant supported denture procedure which can be rather extensive.
A denturist with advanced knowledge in the placement and restoration of implant dentures will sit down with you to review your options with the different types of implant dentures. The denturist may also at this time take an impression of your teeth and gums. A qualified dentist will review your medical and dental histories, take X-rays, and create a treatment plan with you. If dentures are not already being worn to replace any missing teeth, a denturist will make you a temporary one. This temporary denture is to be used until the implant-supported denture is placed.
To complete the placement of implant supported dentures, it will require several weeks and at least four appointments. This is to ensure what you walk away with adequately suits your oral cavity and is positioned perfectly to your gums. The temporary denture which will be made can be used as a back-up afterwards or can be used as your final denture as well if you want to reduce total costs.
Next, your first surgery takes place which is to place the implants in the jaw. An incision will be made in the gum, a hole is drilled into the bone, the implant is placed in the hole, and the incision is then stitched close.
After the first surgery, up to 4 months need to be taken if implant supported dentures were placed in the lower jaw or up to 6 months if they were placed in the upper. In this time, the bone and implants will integrate naturally in the mouth.
The second surgery is given after the implants are fused with the bone. An x-ray is taken to confirm this. The second surgery, easier than the first, will start with a small incision into the gums to expose the tops of the implants. From there, a healing cap is placed on each top. This will guide gum tissue to heal correctly around it rather than over.
The cap, or ‘collar’ as its’ known, is a round piece of metal. This will be in place for up to 14 days. At that time, the dentist or denturist will adjust the temporary denture again. A soft reline or tissue conditioner may be needed. Roughly two weeks after surgery, the healing caps are removed and replaced with regular abutments. The abutment is considered the joint that connects the implant with the denture. The gums should now be healed to the point where an accurate impression of your cavity can be taken. It’s this model which is used to make the implant supported denture framework.
The last phase is when the implant supported denture is made and delivered to you. A metal bar may be placed on the abutments depending on the type of implant denture you chose at the first consultation. A try-in is needed to see if the denture framework fits as expected. After they’ve been fitted, the teeth are temporary placed on the framework using wax. The whole denture is then put into the mouth to try. If it works well the teeth are processed into acrylic base which can be secured with the framework.
After this process is done, you will have to return to the denturist for another visit to have the completed denture inserted. The dentures are snapped into placed, either by clipping them onto the bar or snapping them onto the attachments. Lastly, your temporary dentures are given one last reline. This allows them to be used as backup dentures in case you lose or break your over-denture. Alternatively, if your temporary denture is to become your permanent denture, the bar or ball attachments are placed in said denture.
You’re all done!
This procedure for implant-supported dentures in St. Catharines will take between 5 and 7 months. When completed, you feel great and have the smile you’ve wanted for a long time and the functionality to eat, laugh, kiss, and speak with ease.
Unlike regular dentures, implant supported dentures are very retentive. You shouldn’t have any more worries about them falling out or becoming loose. If you’re interested in having implant supported dentures in the Niagara region, we would love to speak with you in an initial consultation to determine if this is the right denture for you.