My dentist mentioned implant overdentures to me years ago and I’m not sure I fully understand how they work. I decided to get dentures several years ago and I am unhappy with them. It’s time to replace them, so I decided to look into other alternatives. But, I don’t really know what to do next.
I could go back into the dentist that did my dentures. But, I didn’t get the impression that he does overdentures. I think he specialized in dentures, not other alternatives. I understand that dental implants are used to help stabilize the denture. What I can’t figure out is if they are permanent or not? When I have been researching dentists in my area that offer them, it seems like every one of them has a different approach. I am feeling confused and I’m not sure how they differ so much. Do you have any tips as I continue my research?
-Cynthia in Ohio
Tooth replacement options can be confusing to understand. There are many things to consider. And you are correct, each dentist’s approach will differ. The best thing to do is find the best implant dentist in your area who you can trust. Find one that offers many solutions to replace missing teeth. Then, together they can help you determine what the best option is for your individualized needs.
It is in your best interest to research different dentists versus trying to find one that offers overdentures. You want to find a dentist that is extremely familiar with many treatment options and has experience placing successful cases.
In regard to your question regarding whether or not implant-supported overdentures are permanent, the answer is yes. The dental implants are surgically implanted into your jawbone. They integrate with the bone to gain stability and the denture is attached to them. This will give you so much more support and confidence than what you have had in a removable denture.
Then, the confusing part is that there are many different types of overdentures out there. Some can be removed for cleaning, and other types remain in place all the time.
Snap-on dentures do exactly what is sounds like they do. They snap into an appliance that is held in place by dental implants. The connectors attach to each other to provide stability. But, they can be removed at home. This version is also known as “gum-supported or implant-retained” because that is where most of your biting force will be coming from.
Now, the number of dental implants used varies as well. An overdenture can be supported with only two implants on each arch. This is an affordable approach. However, the more dental implants that are used will make the denture more secure. As a general rule of thumb, the more implants that are used will mean they feel more like your natural teeth.
There is also a version that is bar-retained. This “implant-supported” option uses a metal bar that spreads across the arch. In this option, the bar is where the strength comes from. Four or six dental implants are usually used in this option, which makes it a more expensive. The appliance will be removable. But, the bar will remain in place.
Essentially, the price goes up the more dental implants that are used. However, the more implants that are used, the stronger your appliance will be.
Focus your energy on finding an implant dentist that you can trust. Not just any general dentist will be able to provide these services to you since it takes extensive training beyond dental school to be successful with dental implants. Once you have found a dentist you can trust, together you can talk through the pros and cons to figure out the best option for your needs and budget.
Thank you for your question. Hopefully, this will be helpful as you consider your next steps, as well as helping others who are considering overdentures.
This post is sponsored by Petaluma dentist Dr. Rick Lane.