Without a doubt, dentures are an excellent way to restore your smile if you are missing most or all of your teeth. However, over time, changes to the bone and soft tissues can lead to improper denture fit. At Rockcliffe Dental & Denture Centre, we offer implant overdentures – a more reliable and stable “step up” from conventional dentures. Their natural appearance, accompanied by the confidence that there won’t be any embarrassing slips, makes removable implant-supported dentures an excellent tooth replacement option.
Read below to learn more about implant overdentures and what the procedure entails.
Implant Overdentures: Full Overview
You have probably heard a number of related terms – overdentures, implant-supported overdentures, bar-retained dentures, locator implants, snap-on smile… If you are wondering how all of them are related and which option is right for you, don’t worry – it isn’t that complicated.
What is an Overdenture?
Overdenture is any removable dental prosthetic device that rests on one or more natural teeth, their roots, and/or dental implants.
Overdentures can be either tooth-supported or implant-supported.
What is an Implant-Supported Overdenture?
An implant-supported overdenture or an implant overdenture is a type of removable denture that rests on dental implants.
The implants are then fitted with a special snap-in or click-in mechanism that is used to lock the dentures securely. As compared to traditional dentures, implant-supported dentures can provide increased function, comfort, and confidence.
Implant-supported overdentures are divided further into two categories: bar-supported and locator-retained overdentures:
- Bar-supported implant overdentures. This type of dentures includes a thin metal bar that follows the curve of your jaw and is attached to the implant posts in the jawbone. Clips or other attachments are fitted to the denture, the bar, or both. The denture then fits over the bar, and the attachments are used to clip it into place.
- Locator-retained overdentures. In this type of dentures, the overdenture is positioned directly on the gums and is supported by special locator implants inserted into the strategic points in the lower or upper jaw. The removable denture is firmly and securely attached to the implants with a special built-in retentive attachment (locator).
What are Snap-On Dentures or Snap-In Teeth?
“Snap-on dentures” and “snap-in teeth” are commonly used terms describing implant overdentures. With both removable bar-retained and locator-retained dentures, the action of placing in and taking out the denture causes a “snap” sound, hence the name of “snap-on” or “snap-in” dentures.
Implant-Retained Overdenture Procedure Step-by-Step
With implant dentures, there is a multi-step treatment procedure involved, which could take up to six months to complete.
Here are the main implant overdenture steps you can expect:
1. X-Rays and Oral Impressions
If overdenture treatment is deemed suitable, thorough diagnostic testing needs to be completed, including X-ray imaging and oral impressions. This is a crucial treatment planning step that helps to ensure that your bone is strong and has enough volume to support dental implants.
2. Placement of Dental Implants
Then, dental implants that look like small metal screws will be placed into your jaw. Over the next 2 to 6 months, they will be left to heal to allow the bone to fuse with the implant at a cellular level. During this time, you will be given immediate temporary dentures to wear while the gums and jawbone are healing.
3. Locator Attachment
Sometimes, a second surgery may be required, in which the implant dentist will attach locators to the implants, which will protrude from the gum to serve as the support for the overdentures. This procedure usually requires additional two weeks of healing.
In some cases, however, the locators are placed at the time as implant posts, – Dr. Koniouchine will evaluate your specific situation and discuss the suitable treatment option during your consultation appointment.
4. Overdenture Placement
Finally, a customized set of dentures will be created that will replicate the colour and shape of a natural set of teeth. After the healing period is complete, the dentures will be connected to the locators to create a secure, non-slip fit and a natural-looking smile.
Benefits of Snap-In Dentures
If you have struggled with speaking and eating while wearing conventional dentures, implant-supported dentures will offer a variety of advantages, which will improve your quality of life and make you healthier and happier.
Some of the benefits of implant overdentures include:
- No need for messy adhesives
- No diet restrictions, – with overdentures safely secured by dental implants, you can eat and drink virtually anything
- Unlike conventional dentures, implant overdentures can help to prevent bone and gum tissue loss
- Improved aesthetics of your smile
- Improved speech and chewing functions
- Overdentures can help to stop the deterioration of your natural facial contours
Cons of Snap-In Dentures
While removable implant overdentures offer a broad range of advantages, the cost can play an important factor. Removable implant dentures are more expensive as compared to the traditional alternative and require invasive oral surgery to place the implants.
Nevertheless, the advantages of snap-in dentures far outweigh the costs. The long-term benefits and improvements in the quality of life are worth every penny associated with implant overdentures. And, if you cringe at the thought of having dental implants placed into your jawbone, don’t worry – at Rockcliffe Dental & Denture Centre, we offer a variety of dental sedation options to make the treatment procedure as comfortable as possible.
What is Involved in Overdenture Care?
One of the greatest hygienic benefits of implant overdentures is that they can be removed at night for cleaning. This will help to ensure the longevity of your denture solution.
In addition, similar to caring for your natural teeth, dental implants will require thorough and regular cleaning to prevent infection.
We also recommend that our patients who have received removable overdentures continue regular check-up visits.
Implant Overdenture Lifespan
While dental implants supporting the dentures can last a lifetime, the dentures themselves experience wear and tear over time and may become ill-fitting due to the jawbone and mouth shape changes. On average, you can expect your overdentures to last 5 to 10 years before requiring replacement.
Implant Overdenture Cost
The cost of overdentures can vary greatly, depending on the implant types, the number of implants, and the material used to produce the final restoration. Most commonly, snap-in dentures use two to four implants, resulting in an overall cost of $8,000 to $28,000.
Am I a Good Candidate for Snap-In Dentures?
The best way to determine whether you are a good candidate for implant dentures is to book a consultation appointment with Dr. Koniouchine. Using advanced imaging and diagnostic techniques, we will carefully examine your overall oral health and help you determine whether implant-retained overdentures will provide optimal results for you.
We will also explain in detail what you can expect from the treatment procedure, how to prepare, and provide any important aftercare information that may apply.
In general, anyone missing all or nearly all of their teeth could be a good candidate for implant dentures. If you don’t have a sufficient volume of bone in your jaw, you might need to have a bone graft procedure prior to the placement of the implants.
Do You Think Overdentures Might Be Right for You? Give Us a Call
If you like the security of knowing that your dentures won’t suddenly slip while you are talking or chewing, removable implant dentures may be an effective alternative.