Implant Overdentures: A Cheaper Solution
What are the reasons for tooth loss?
The main reason for losing a tooth is decay: the tooth becomes so severely destructed by the decay process that it cannot be restored by any procedure, and must be removed. The second most common reason is periodontal or gum disease, where the tissues that hold the teeth to the bone become compromised: eventually the tooth moves and requires extraction. Other reasons exist, such as fracture and breakage, and more severe causes such as cysts and tumors.
What are the tooth replacement options?
A number of options for tooth replacement exist:
Fixed Bridge: It involves filing down the teeth adjacent to the empty tooth space, and placing three joined dental crowns (or caps) to replace the missing tooth. With proper care, bridges can last up to 12 years. However, the risk of injuring the tooth nerve and gums is quite high, and if you think about it, you are damaging two sound teeth to replace one, which some people have trouble understanding.
Removable denture: which can be a complete denture, replacing all of the teeth, or a partial denture replacing some of the teeth. The problem with removable dentures is just that, they are removable, which is annoying to the patient and they move around a lot, especially in the beginning, which causes great discomfort. In the long run, they can also irritate the gums and weaken the bone.
Dental implants: currently the most successful way of replacing lost and missing teeth. Implants have been around for almost 40 years, but the new technologies and advanced techniques have helped propel the science of implantology to the advances that we see today. Perhaps the only problem with implants is that they can be quite costly, especially if you’re considering replacing your whole set of teeth.
In most cases, implants are the most suitable option for tooth replacement, but their high initial cost could steer the patient toward a more financially feasible choice, even though it has a lower success rate and more risks. That was the main reason for the development of the new option, kind of a middle ground between different options, that is implant retained overdentures.
What are implant retained overdentures?
These are the same as removable dentures, but instead of resting on the gums and bone, they rest on dental implants (most often 2 or 4 implants) and are attached to them by button-like structures. So you go through the standard steps of making a complete denture, and after it’s done, two dental implants are inserted in the mouth. Then a small opening is formed in the undersurface of the denture, and the button design is added, so the denture sort of “clips on” the implants. This technique is used mainly for lower dentures (as they cause much more problems than upper dentures), but in a few cases, they may be used for top dentures, and for partial dentures as well.
The advantages of this type of restoration include:
- No mobility: as is the case with a complete denture, and therefore no irritation or inflammation of the gums, and no pressure on the bones causing their damage.
- Ease of use: the dentures are clipped on the implants, and can be easily removed by removing the button, making their insertion and removal a piece of cake. Also during eating or speaking, they facilitate all the denture functions.
- Decreased cost: considering the other option is to place about 6 or 8 implants to make a full fixed bridge, and that could cost nearly double the cost of implant overdentures.
- Comfort: the design of dentures placed on implants are designed for comfort, as they are confined only to the ridge area (the part that carries the teeth) with no plastic piece covering the palate or rubbing against the tongue.
So if a patient weighs the options well, they will find that implant retained overdentures solves nearly every problem other options offer in replacing teeth, including cost, comfort, and safety.
If you are in the Phoenix or Glendale area and need a gentle, caring dental team, please call our office at (623) 362-2550. We’ll give you the very best dental care we can!