What Are Implant Supported Dentures?

Needing to have teeth extracted is not ideal for anyone. However, today there are many tooth replacement options to choose from to help restore your smile post-extraction. You don’t have to be embarrassed and unhappy with your missing teeth. There is likely a great tooth replacement option for you. For example, implant supported dentures are a denture option that is designed to be more secure than traditional dentures. Below is more information on implant support dentures and how they work.

Implant Supported Dentures

While a regular denture is designed to rest unattached on top of the gums, an implant supported denture securely attaches to dental implants installed in the jawbone. Dentures are usually an option when a patient no longer has any teeth in the jaw. But if the jawbone is healthy enough, a dentist may recommend adding a few dental implants into the jawbone which creates the opportunity for implant supported dentures. Dentures designed for the upper jaw are usually more stable and secure than dentures worn on the lower jaw. Having a more stable denture is one reason why a dentist may recommend implant supported dentures.

How Do They Work?

Implant supported dentures have an acrylic base that is designed to look like gums. Attached to the acrylic gums are artificial teeth which are either made from porcelain or acrylic. There are two common types of implant supported dentures:

  • Bar-retained dentures: For the bar-retained dentures a thin metal curved support bar attaches to the dental implants placed in the jawbone. The bar is shaped to run along the gum line.
  • Ball-retained dentures: For the ball-retained dentures, instead of having a bar, the denture attaches directly into a metal socket fitted in the implant.

The Implant Procedure

Prior to having the implant supported dentures fitted, you will need to have the implants placed in the jawbone. The implant process usually takes a bit of time, and in total can range from five to seventh months or even take up to a year. This time window really depends on many factors including the health of the jawbone, the placement of the implants, and the preference of the dentist. For some, the process of getting implants can take over a year, especially if bone grafting or other preliminary procedures are needed. One of the reasons the implant procedure takes so long is that two surgeries are needed and healing time is required. During the first procedure, the implants are securely installed in the jawbone under the gums. During the second surgery, the tops of the implants are exposed from the gumline. It is necessary to wait three to six months after the first surgery to allow time for the jawbone to heal.

There are various tooth replacement options available to you. While some may prefer permanent crowns or bridgework, for others the implant supported denture is perfect to replace a large number of missing teeth. If you are looking for the right option for you, have a conversation with your dentist, and discuss your needs and preferences, and what options may be best for you.

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