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Am I a Candidate for Implant Overdentures?
For patients who have lost all of their teeth, learning about the dental implant and overdenture procedure can be essential. Whether you have lost teeth in the upper jaw, lower jaw or both, this process can improve your overall quality of life.
What many people do not understand is how to determine if they are a candidate for implants or what options are available. Even more confusing is the different terminology used. Before embarking on such a procedure, it is a good idea to learn more about it.
Determining candidacy for implant overdentures
When a patient is considering the implantation procedure for overdentures, there are several red flags to watch out for. Young people whose jawbones are still growing may not be a good fit for this procedure. Heavy smokers often are not good candidates as smoking can inhibit the mouth’s ability to heal. Patients who constantly clench or grind their teeth may sometimes be disqualified due to the strain these habits place on the equipment. For patients with any of these conditions, it is a good idea to consult with a dental professional to discuss candidacy.
A good candidate has the following:
- A strong motivation to take care of their gums and the new devices being installed
- Healthy gums with no signs of infection or disease
- Strong bone in the jaw, which is capable of supporting the implant devices
Types of overdentures
In general, implanted overdentures are similar to regular dentures. The prosthetics feature an acrylic base that is flesh-colored and looks just like gums. Crowns are mounted to this acrylic base, mirroring the original teeth, and act as a replacement for when teeth have to be removed. Regular dentures sit on the gums or upper palate and use adhesive to stay in place. Implanted overdentures use implanted bases to hold the denture in the mouth.
Gum supported, implant-retained
Implants are installed in the upper jaw, lower jaw or both. There are attachments on the overdenture that allow the denture to affix directly to the implant posts. The prosthetic is completely removable by the patient for cleaning and care.
Implant supported, bar-retained
Just as above, implants are installed in the jaw. The main difference is that a bar is attached to the implants. The overdenture attaches directly to this bar instead of to the implants themselves. As with the implant-retained version, the dentures are removable by the patient for maintenance.
Implant supported, fixed
In fixed overdentures, implants are still installed in the jaw. However, this type of denture is affixed to the implants by screws to secure it in place. The prosthetic is not removable by the patient and is considered more of a permanent installation. If maintenance is needed, then it can only be removed by a dental professional.
Losing teeth or having to have teeth removed can be a frustrating experience. It is encouraging and exciting to know that there are many options out there to help restore your mouth to its normal appearance and function.
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