Implant dentures in Melbourne
Implant-supported overdentures or implant dentures are a type of full overdenture that is supported by, or attached to dental implants. The overdenture is removable like a regular denture.
A regular denture rests on the gums and tends to fit less firmly than an implant denture, which has special attachments to snap onto, allowing the implants better retention. An implant denture may be done in either the upper or lower jaw. MDI (mini dental implants) can also be used to secure dentures in place, and is an option where there is insufficient bone for a full-size implant procedure.
Fixed implant dentures (or more properly, a fixed dental bridge), are non-removable full-arch bridges that replace a whole arch of teeth.
A full exam is required for diagnosis and planning for your implant dentures. Study models and a 3D scan will be performed. The scans are required to show where your sinuses and nerves are, as well as indicate the dimensions of the available bone so your dentist can determine the best locations for the implants.
The implants are usually placed in the jawbone at the front of your mouth because there tends to be more bone in the front of the jaw than in the back. This is usually true even if teeth have been missing for some time. Once you lose teeth, you begin to lose bone in that area.
If you are not already wearing a complete denture to replace your missing teeth, we will make you one. Any extractions of existing teeth are also performed. It will take about four visits, spanning several weeks, to complete this denture.
Two surgeries are usually required. The first one places the implants in the jawbone under your gums. After this surgery, you should avoid putting pressure on the implants. Normally, it is advised not to wear the dentures for 2–3 weeks.
The second surgery exposes the tops of the implants. It will be scheduled for 3–6 months after the first surgery, as the bone and implant need time to integrate, attach and fuse. This surgery is simpler than the first. A small incision is made in your gum to expose the tops (heads) of the implants, and a healing cap (collar) is placed on the head of each implant after it is exposed. This guides the gum tissue to heal correctly.
Your denture will be adjusted and the reline material will secure the denture to the healing abutments.
Once the gum has healed, the healing caps will then be replaced with regular abutments. Your dentist will make an impression of your gum tissue and abutments, and the denture will be relined in a laboratory. You now have the option to keep using your existing denture or have a new one made.
How long does it take?
The time frame to complete the implant depends on many factors. The shortest time frame is about 5 months in the lower jaw and 7 months in the upper jaw. This includes surgeries and the placement of the denture. However, the process can last a year or more, especially if you need bone grafting or other preliminary procedures.
How to care for your implant denture
You will need to remove the denture at night for cleaning. You should also carefully clean around the attachments.
Even though your denture is stable, it can still move slightly when you chew. This slight movement can cause the denture to rub against your gums, which can cause sore spots. Your dentist will check your gums and will also check the way your top and bottom teeth come together after insertion of the denture.
The clip or other attachments on the bar-retained denture usually need to be replaced every 6–12 months. They are made of a plastic material and will wear after continued use.
Advantages of an implant denture
Your implant denture will be more stable than a regular denture. You will find it easier to speak and you won’t have to worry about the denture becoming loose or falling out of your mouth. You generally will be able to eat foods you could not eat before. If you have an implant denture in your upper jaw, it can be made to cover less of your palate (roof of your mouth) than a regular denture. That’s because the implants are holding it in place instead of the suction created between the full denture and your palate.
Fixed implant denture options
A fixed implant denture or bridge is another option for replacing missing teeth. Rather than a removable overdenture, the implants support a fixed bridge made of porcelain or acrylic. With a fixed dental bridge, you can eat and function like you have natural teeth.
A fixed bridge is ideal for people who have had removable dentures for a long period of time or are lacking in remaining bone structure. It not only replaces missing teeth but also helps restore lost soft tissue contour. People with a history of gum disease will often need extra lip and facial support.
Fixed porcelain bridge
A porcelain bridge is a popular treatment option because it’s the closest you can get to the feel of natural teeth. It requires the placement of 6–8 dental implants and the fabrication of a porcelain bridge. It is a solid, stable solution that will preserve your facial appearance and smile.
Hybrid denture bridge
A hybrid bridge, sometimes referred to as ‘hybrid denture’ requires the placement of 4–6 implants to which a non-removable prosthesis is attached. Instead of porcelain, the bridge is fabricated from denture teeth and acrylic.