A healthy smile is key to your quality of life. If you are missing all of your teeth, finding a solution that allows you to perform simple daily tasks like eating and speaking naturally can be difficult. At Hamilton Lakes Dentistry in Itasca, IL, we offer implant-supported dentures as a long-term option for replacing your teeth and some of the roots. Implant dentures will give you back your smile, along with the confidence that their stability ensures.
What Are Implant Dentures?
Implant dentures are the perfect solution for replacing missing teeth. Traditional dentures are made out of an acrylic base that looks like gum tissue, along with natural-looking porcelain or acrylic teeth that are attached to the acrylic base; they are removable and rest on top of the gum line. Denture implants, however, consist of traditional dentures attached to titanium implants, so they are secured directly to the jawbone. They are a good solution for those who have lost all of their teeth but still have enough remaining jawbone to support the titanium implants. They are particularly helpful on the lower jaw, where traditional dentures are far less stable and can become uncomfortable and even painful over time.
Implant dentures can be either removable or fixed for a more permanent solution. There are two main types of implant-supported dentures:
- Bar-retained: A thin metal bar runs along the jaw line and is attach to two to five implants. Clasps are fixed along the bar and dentures so that the dentures can be secured to the bar and held firmly in place.
- Ball-retained: Each implant has a ball-shaped metal attachment that snaps into the denture and holds it securely in place.
The Implant Procedure
The amount of time it takes for the complete implant procedure varies according to which teeth you are replacing and the condition of the remaining gums and jawbones. On average, it takes five months to complete the lower jaw and seven months to complete the upper jaw; however, it can take up to a year or more.
The following steps are involved in receiving your implant dentures.
- Initial consultation: Kathy L. French, DDS, FAGD, has advanced training in the placement of implants and will meet with you to review your medical and dental history, take x-rays, and create impressions of your teeth and gums, with which the models will be made.
- Temporary dentures: If you aren’t wearing a denture, you will be provided with a temporary set to wear until your final implant dentures are ready. This temporary denture will help Dr. French determine the final position of your teeth for your final denture implant.
- First surgery: During the first surgery, the implants will be placed in the jawbone under the gums. Dr. French waits approximately three to four months for the lower jaw or five to six months for the upper jaw before scheduling the next surgery, in order to make sure the implants have properly fused to the jawbone.
- Second surgery: During the second surgery, the implants are exposed and a healing cap is placed on the head of each one. Two weeks later, the healing caps are replaced with the regular abutments, and an impression of the gums and abutments is taken and used to make the final implant denture.
- Denture insertion: The metal bar or balls are placed on the abutments, and the dentist places the dentures for you to try out. Adjustments are then made so that your final denture implant can be inserted.
Implant Denture Aftercare
You will need to remove and clean your denture and all attachments every night. Your implant-supported denture will be more stable and comfortable than your regular denture. You will be able to eat foods that you couldn’t with regular dentures, and you’ll feel confident while speaking and socializing.