Although full dentures were once the only solution available for missing teeth, they present many problems. The most serious of these is the bone loss that always follows tooth loss. Implant overdentures prevent bone loss and solve the other problems associated with dentures.
What are Implant Overdentures?
Dental implants are root forms that are surgically placed in your jaw. As they heal, the body moves more bone material to the surgical site to incorporate the implant, so that it actually becomes part of the jawbone. Once it has healed, the implant is strong enough to support a denture or crown as shown at right.
Some people choose to replace every tooth or every two teeth with a dental implant, but this is a very expensive method. Hybrid overdentures provide a highly stable, durable, and permanent alternative. The photo to the left shows that hybrid overdentures are anchored by eight dental implants. The overdenture replaces both teeth and missing gum tissue. The implants are secured inside the teeth, and there is no tissue irritation.
Implant overdentures do not always require eight dental implants. The drawing on the right shows a denture arch anchored by six implants, and methods have been developed to anchor a full arch with just four, or sometimes even two implants. Drs. Murphree and Reed will help you decide which method will work best in your situation.
Preventing Bone Loss with Implant Overdentures
Your natural teeth are anchored by roots that are part of your jawbone. When you lose a tooth, your body will immediately begin to reabsorb the bone that surrounded and supported it. This is a natural process that redistributes the minerals for other uses. It happens very rapidly in the beginning and then slows down. And if you have lost all of your teeth, the process will eventually lead to a condition called facial collapse.
When there is no bone left to support dentures, it becomes impossible to eat efficiently, and this can lead to serious health consequences.
Most solutions to missing teeth don’t prevent bone loss because they only replace the visible part of the tooth. Implant overdentures replace some of the tooth roots, so your body will leave the bone in place.
Preventing Other Problems
Implant overdentures also prevent the other problems that usually accompany traditional dentures. Unsecured dentures take time to get used to. The top arch is held in place by suction because the structure covers the entire palate. This interferes with articulation when you speak. And it covers the taste buds in your palate, so you cannot enjoy your food as fully.
In addition, the lower arch is held in place by your tongue and cheeks, which means it can slip quite easily. And although dentures will fit very well when they are first designed, they will become looser as the bone support disappears over time.
If you’re ready to resolve your dental issues, call our office or fill out our request an appointment form. We’ll also be happy to help you schedule a complimentary consultation, just ask.