All on 4 Implants
Implant-Supported Dentures: Understanding the Basics and Types
According to the CDC, about 25 percent of adults over the age of 60 no longer have any natural teeth. Illness and accidents may require even younger patients to turn to dentures. All on 4 implants might be a good alternative option.
If conventional dentures have left you dissatisfied, there is another option. Implant-supported dentures are a fantastic solution to the shifting, speech difficulties and discomfort of their adhesive-supported cousins.
Understanding Implant-Supported Dentures
Conventional dentures are designed to sit against your gums with the help of denture adhesives or pastes. While most people find they work well as top dentures, the bottom denture is especially prone to slipping, coming loose and and trapping food particles.
Implant-supported dentures prevent the slipping and sliding by anchoring to your jaw via titanium dental implants embedded in the jaw. This means:
- No more adhesives
- Increased stability and comfort
- More comfortable chewing
- Easier, more confident speech
- Prevention of bone loss, preserving a youthful appearance to the mouth and jaw
What to Expect
Many people choose to only have their lower denture implant-supported, but the upper denture can be done as well. The upper dentures often do not have to cover the roof of the mouth, making them more comfortable and easier to talk and chew with.
The process usually takes between three and ten visits, including your initial consultation, the removal of any damaged teeth and bone grafting to restore jaw bone strength around implant sites. In some cases, you can be sent home with an “immediate,” temporary denture right after your implantation procedure to use while your permanent one is fabricated.
The Three Types
Implant-supported dentures come in three basic types. Two are removable and are also called “hybrid” dentures. All three can be used for both the upper and lower jaw, but because the upper jaw is softer, it typically requires more implants.
- Ball-Retained: This ball-and-socket design allows the dentures to snap snugly against the gums. They require the fewest implants of any supported denture, are often the most affordable and are the easiest to remove. They’re much more comfortable and stable than conventional dentures, but they may still allow some tiny food particles to become trapped.
- Bar-Retained: Requiring an average of four to six implants, the bar method uses a custom-fitted metal bar to stabilize the denture. The denture attaches to it via internal retention clips and easily removes for nightly cleaning. It’s even more stable than the ball-retention method but does require more implants and some dexterity to remove. This type of denture is also called an “overdenture.”
- Screw-Retained: The screw retention method requires the most implants, five or more on average, but is the most stable and only permanent denture solution. It only needs to be removed by the dentist during maintenance visits. Otherwise, this popular choice it sits slightly above the gum so you can clean beneath it yourself using a water pick.
The Implant-Only Approach
The most natural-looking but most expensive option, it is possible to have eight or more teeth replaced with individual implants instead using a denture. Crowns and abutments are used to fill in a natural smile.
The number and placement of implants can be limited by shape and health of your jaw, and you are more likely to need bone grafting to support all the implants. However, the result can be well worth the time and expense.
Recent advancements in dental technology have produced a new hybrid denture method called All on 4 implants. This denture type can support a full arch of teeth on just four implants with little to no bone grafting, minimizing the expense and number of appointments involved. Some patients can be finished in as few as two appointments.
This method combines digital imaging with state-of-the-art implantation and fabrication techniques. By using detailed images of your jaw and surrounding areas, implants can be placed where the jaw is strongest while avoiding delicate structures.
All on 4 implants provide excellent stability, comfort and confidence from day one. It includes “teeth in a day,” an immediate denture to wear while your permanent teeth are made. The temporary denture is adjusted right in the office for an ideal fit.
A Brand New, Comfortable Smile
Come to your initial consultation with your questions on hand and ready to discuss your idea of the perfect denture, including number of implants, fixed versus removable and other needs. Implant-supported dentures are an ideal solution for lasting comfort and confidence.