Like I said last blog, we’ll cover implant supported teeth where the teeth are removable when the patient wants to remove them. We’ll cover the two basic types.
Removable Prosthesis (Teeth)
There are two kinds of implant supported removable prosthesis. In one option the support for the teeth is much more rigid.
2A. Is supported completely by the dental implants not the soft tissue. The prosthesis is rigid (doesn’t move at all) which a titanium bar that is attached to the implants supports.
Usually 5-6 implants in the mandible (lower jaw) are needed to support the bar. 6-8 implants are required in the maxillae to support the supporting bar. When the prosthesis is in place it is extremely rigid. When it is removed to clean, the patient brushes and cleans the bar that it fits on to. The removable prosthesis is made of denture teeth, acrylic and a metal substructure.
2B. Overdenture-the prosthesis is supported by implants and soft tissue and is not rigid.
This is the most common type of removable prosthesis because of the fee involved. Even though it is a substantial investment, it is not close to the cost of the 2B completely implant supported prosthesis. Implants support varies from 2-3-4 depending on available bone and available funds of the patient. Of course 4 implants support the overdenture better than three implants. Of course three implants support better than two implants.
Advantages of overdentures when compared to 2A.
1. Reduced cost over all other implant prosthesis choices.
2. Gives support and comfort that could never be achieved by conventional.
3. Many times (not always) be upgraded in the years to come to a more complete treatment. As years pass and patient’s financial situation improves, implants can be added. To have a fixed result or 2A result, the existing overdenture has to be replaced.
Disadvantages of overdentures when compared to fixed prosthesis or 2A.
1. Bone (jaw) will continue to shrink and resorb in the areas where there are no implants.
2. Relines and added cost every few years are to be expected.
3. Bite adjustments and doctor checks are required more frequently.
4. Attachments in overdentures will wear. They will need replacement with associated costs.
Even though these disadvantages are real, the benefits of overdenture treatment are life changing for most people. The suffering that people endure with full upper and lower dentures has been discussed. This is a wonderful treatment.
I have been a Quincy dentist since 1978. It is hard to believe the advances in dental health today. I attended the Misch Surgical Institute and achieved Fellowship status in the International Congress of Implantology.