One of the options that should be discussed with patients is implant overdentures. These dental implants can be used to stabilize an overdenture, providing added support and improving retention at an affordable price point.
What are Implants?
The concept of dental implants is not actually new. It was used by ancient Mayans back in 600 AD. Of course, the technology used in dental implant treatment has significantly evolved. Nowadays, it’s considered the primary option for treating people with missing teeth.
This integration creates a solid foundation wherein single teeth or dentures can be attached. Implant overdentures also helps in slowing down or stopping bone loss in the patient’s jaw because these act as roots in the bone.
Implant overdentures is a solution for patients who have one or multiple teeth missing. The therapy was developed with the goal of helping both fully and partial edentulous patients regain better quality of life which may have been lost when they lost their teeth.
For people who have had all their mandibular and maxillary teeth extracted, the best conventional approach for restoration is via denture fabrication. These dentures also offer function improvement and aesthetics enhancement. However, despite those benefits, it can still be inadequate for a number of patients.
Losing all of one’s teeth has a devastating psychological effect on a person, often causing loss of confidence in social situations. For most edentulous people, wearing dentures is the only way for them to restore proper chewing function as well as get their lost confidence back.
But even the best fitting conventional denture is prone to moving or jiggling inside the mouth especially when the patient is talking or eating. This can make the wearer anxious during social interactions.
There is an option to hold the dentures in place using adhesives but some patients complain of a metallic taste. Luckily, there is another option in the form of implant overdentures.
– Improves digestion. Conventional dentures are often fixed to the jaw bone using adhesives. The use of implants make overdentures more stable when compared to its temporary counterpart. This improved stability allows patients to chew more effectively which also helps increase the stomach’s efficiency in breaking down food, allowing it to absorb more nutrients.
– Slows down bone loss. Jaw bones have a tendency to shrink due to a natural process called resorption. Whether the overdenture is fixed on the remaining natural teeth or via dental implants, the jaw bone will continually be stimulated while the patient chews or eats.
– Retains facial structure and features. The jaw bone shrinkage process is triggered when the jaw is under-stimulated or unhealthy due to the missing teeth. This shrinkage causes the distance between the patient’s chin and nose to be reduced. This makes the face look ‘sunken-in’ which is common for old people and can make patients look prematurely aged.
– Increased comfort on the lower and upper jaw. When the denture is fixed using implants, the fit is significantly more secure than by using adhesives. The fit results to increase overdenture stability which reduces or totally eliminates the unnecessary movement when the patient is talking or chewing. This also reduces the sores due to rubbing and the embarrassing dislodgement common to patients wearing conventional dentures.
For most patients, the implant overdentures’ added stability results to better quality of life and a more positive psychological response, something that conventional dentures may not be able to provide.
Implant overdentures, like conventional dentures, are removable prostheses that include artificial teeth.
Unlike conventional dentures, however, the maxillary overdentures have a horseshoe shape. This is beneficial for most patients since the prosthesis’ palate can be removed. This results to improved comfort, taste, and speech.
One big advantage of the mandibular overdenture is that that patient would have a retentive, stable prosthesis that will not move around inside the mouth.
Using a procedure that is affordable, a metal framework can then be attached which gives additional stability to the denture teeth. This also provides added durability.
There are a few different ways to fix the overdenture to the attached implants. One of the most common methods is through the use of metal anchors. This is the retention mechanism used by most implant overdenture implementations.
The fabrication of the implants starts with a careful diagnosis of the patient’s case. In most scenarios, 2D images are produced using conventional digital X-Rays which should be enough to know the available vertical bone’s height.
Anatomic concerns and horizontal bone quantity should also be considered and are determined using other means. All of these are included during the planning stage because these will be key factors in determining the outcome of the whole treatment process.
Scanning technology and techniques have vastly improved which make diagnosis more reliable and accurate. The quantity and quality of the bone is checked prior to the surgery, specifying vital anatomy.
Other factors that can be determined are bone defects or volume issues and the implant’s shape, size, and type. Once the locations of the implants have been determined, the anchors are attached through surgery.
Determining if a patient is compatible for implant overdenture treatment is something that only a dental clinician can and should do.
There are factors that should be considered during the consultation period which will determine if the patient meets all the requirements for this treatment.
While advancements in techniques and technology have made implant overdentures applicable to more patients, there are still factors to consider. Here are the common steps in determining if a patient is compatible with implant overdentures:
– The patient’s general and dental health will be reviewed. This helps to evaluate the medicines to be used during surgery and post-surgery, as well the estimated recovery period of the patient.
– The patient is interviewed about why he or she is not satisfied with the current conventional dentures. This will help set expectations on the implant overdentures treatment.
– A complete dental examination will be performed on the patient that includes the necessary radiographs or X-rays. This is done to determine bone length as well as density to determine where the anchors can be placed and how many are required for stability.
– An appropriate treatment option that is most compatible with the patient will be discussed. There are multiple methods that can be used.
Those that are compatible with the patient’s condition will be explained. The patient might even be allowed to use his current conventional dentures as part of the implant overdentures treatment.
After the completion of the dental assessment, we can develop a plan that best fits the requirements as well as budget to deliver a treatment that’s right for the patient.
Advancements in technology and methods have given way to more options than conventional dentures. The aim is to improve the way of life of edentulous people by providing dental prosthesis that is stable and does not interfere with chewing and talking functions.
Implant overdentures is one such option. Although there is surgery involved, the benefits are all worth it. Patients who have undergone this treatment could attest to the advantage of implant overdentures over conventional dentures.