Implant supported removable dentures
What are implant supported removable dentures?
Implant supported removable dentures are fully removable dentures that are supported and attached to an implant by either a ball or bar attachment. An implant provides a stable base for dentures without the need for dental adhesive.This results in a much more satisfactory outcome for denture wearers with regard to look, feel and overall security of their dentures. Dental implant supported removable dentures are used when the patient doesn't have any teeth left, but is able to support the implants in the jaw bone.
A typical dental implant is a small screw or cylinder made from titanium alloys. It is surgically embedded into the jaw bone to act as a replacement 'root' of a tooth. Eventually, implants fuse with the bone in a process known as 'osseointegration' and will become strong enough to support implant supported removable dentures.
Description of Procedure
Implant surgery is generally a two-stage process, usually carried out under a local anesthetic. However, if a patient is particularly anxious, or undergoing other treatment, such as a bone graft, then a general anesthetic may be used. During surgery, a small cut is made in the gum and a drill is used to make a hole in the jawbone. The implant is then fitted into the hole. In some cases, it may be possible to position an implant directly into the cavity of a tooth that has just been removed. This is called an immediate implant. However, the majority of implants are usually inserted long after a tooth has been removed and these delayed implants require a new hole to be made in the jawbone. After the implant has been fitted the gum is usually stitched over it so that it cannot be seen in the mouth. It is then left for 3 - 6 months to heal. During this time a patient will usually have fitted temporary removable dentures.
After the required healing time, a second procedure follows in which the incision is opened up to allow access to the implant. A cap is fitted over the end of the implant which is then ready to receive implant supported removable dentures.
Advantages of implant supported removable dentures
For patients who are worried about loose dentures, or who simply want a long-term supporting structure for their dentures, dental implant supported removable dentures are more secure and comfortable than traditional dentures, and the look and feel of implant supported removable dentures is esthetically pleasing. The ability to take pleasure in the simple things in life, such as eating and speaking, is greatly improved and sore spots or pressure points are not an issue with implant supported removable dentures as they may be with traditional dentures. Furthermore, facial structure is maintained as implants prevent bone loss that occurs when teeth are missing.
Disadvantages of implant supported removable dentures
The disadvantages of implant supported removable dentures is the extensive surgery and the long healing process. Implants are not suitable for every patient and adequate health assessments must be given to each patient before commencement of any treatment. Although implant supported removable dentures are a vast improvement in comparison with traditional dentures, the cost is far greater. Finally, there is always the possibility that the implant will fail.
However, implant surgery and the use of dental implant supported removable dentures is becoming increasingly common. With good oral hygiene and regular check-ups they should last for years.
This article is meant for information purposes only and is not intended to be dental advice or instructions for dental diagnosis or treatment. Please consult with your dentist or a qualified dental professional before starting or changing dental treatment