Implant Supported Dentures
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Conventional ‘Complete dentures’ have long been the accepted solution, but do have some inherent drawbacks. As these derive their support only by resting on the tissue over the underlying jawbone ‘Ridges’, there is a wear of the jawbone over a period of time which can cause the dentures to become loose. This is more prevalent with the lower denture. Also, in people with very ‘Flat’ resorbed jaw ridges, the dentures may have compromised retention. Dental implants are now routinely used to provide additional support for complete dentures, and greatly improve the retention and comfort, especially for those who have experienced difficult y with a loose lower denture.
‘Implant supported overdentures’ are now accepted as the ‘Standard of care’ for the lower edentulous jaw, and are a practical and affordable solution for those in whom replacing all the teeth with multiple dental implants is not feasible due to technical or financial limitations. This generally involves placing two to four implants within the jaw. These implants are usually connected to spherical or hollow ‘Abutments’ which protrude from the gum tissue, known as ‘Ball and socket’ or ‘Locator’ type attachments. In some cases, these implants may be connected by a ‘Bar’. The inside surface of the denture is constructed to house a special receptacle for these attachments, so when the denture is placed, the abutment seats within the receptacle in the denture and locks it in place, preventing any ‘Rocking’ of the dentures, making them more stable and comfortable to use.
Most patients report an improved chewing efficiency with such dentures, and are able to chew a wider variety of food. Also, the extent of area covered by the denture may be reduced, and this improves comfort, especially for those who have difficulty adapting to full dentures or experience a gagging sensation. Another major advantage is that, as the implant acts like a tooth root and bears the load transferred by the dentures, the rate of jaw bone wear under the denture is considerably less with implant supported dentures, and bone height is preserved much better in the long run.
Contributed by Dr. Aneesha Acharya