If you’re missing teeth, you’ve probably looked into options that will help you get your smile back. Two of the most popular ways to replace natural teeth are dental implants and dentures. But individual implants, while they feel natural and preserve oral health, are out of the price range for many people. And dentures, though affordable, can slip around and cause discomfort. Fortunately, there is a middle ground that allows you the stability of implants without all of the expense: implant-supported dentures.
A regular denture sits on the gum and is usually stabilized with adhesive. An implant-supported denture, however, is fitted with attachments that clip onto implants attached directly to the jawbone, which minimizes slippage. Implant-supported dentures can be used when no teeth remain in the jaw but there is enough bone remaining to anchor the implants.
Implant-supported dentures come in two types. Bar-retained dentures are secured to the gum by a thin metal bar attached to the jawbone. Clips then attach the denture piece to the bar. Ball-retained dentures are secured by a few individual implants with metal ball-shaped attachments that fit into sockets on the denture.
Placing implants usually takes two separate surgeries and several months. In the first stage of the process, the implants are placed under the gums. The second stage takes place a few months after the first, when the implants have had time to fuse with the bone. At that point, an incision is made in the gum to expose the tops of the implants. A cap is then placed on the top of the implant to hold the gums away from the implant and allow them to heal. These caps will be removed after a few weeks and replaced with regular abutments. After this stage, the metal bar will be attached to the implants (for bar-retained dentures). Then, the denture can be clipped onto the implants.
Just like regular dentures, implant-supported dentures need to be removed nightly for cleaning. After receiving implant-supported dentures, you should continue to visit the dentist often so that he or she can make sure the denture is continuing to fit properly. The clip attachments on the denture will also need to be replaced periodically.
Aside from the long process of placing the implants themselves, you would usually have to visit two specialists–a periodontist or oral surgeon, and then a prosthodontist–to finally be able to wear your new dentures. The first would place the implants, and the second would create the denture to fit them. But at Advanced Dentistry of Scarsdale, our team includes both periodontists and prosthodontists, so we can do it all under one roof.
Dental implants are the best option for preserving oral health after teeth are lost—they help preserve bone mass in the jaw and reduce the risk of decay to other teeth. However, because of their cost. individual implants are simply not an option for everyone. To discuss your options for dentures and dental implants in Westchester County, contact Advanced Dentistry of Scarsdale today!