If you are missing all your teeth you are not alone. It has been estimated there are 35 million Americans completely edentulous and this number will keep on growing as the average lifespan increases. Traditional complete dentures are the classic solution for this problem. However, it is not always the best one. As any other treatment, there are advantages and disadvantages. When constructed by a specialist, dentures allow replacing missing structures with artificial materials giving a natural look, but the hardest challenge for a denture wearer comes when the residual bone ridge has resorbed. Poor amount of bone compromises retention and stability of the dentures. Very often, new patients come to my office complaining that they can not wear their dentures because they hurt, thus they prefer to keep them in a jar or in the pocket rather than in their mouths or simply they are what I call “social dentures” which are worn by a person only when a special occasion comes. Fortunately, the advent of dental implants has advanced dentistry and the options available for edentulous patients have multiplied. Let me present you the most common options for dentures that do not move or are dentures fully fixed:
Option A: Removable Denture snapping onto implants (Overdenture)
This is the simplest option that can help you the most. In the bottom jaw, two implants are placed and a denture is fabricated to snap on top of them. The implants work as anchors so dentures do not move thus do not hurt anymore while eating or speaking. Additionally, dental implants will protect you from the loss of bone associated to compression loads and they can be upgraded to a fully fixed option.
Option B: Removable Denture snapping to implant bar (Bar Overdenture)
When severe bone loss is present, it is common for patients to have a very hard time adapting to traditional dentures. This is due to the fact that some nerve endings are under compression by the denture while chewing. These kind of scenarios require a bar connecting three to four implants. The bar serves as new bone ridge and some snapping connectors are placed on it, allowing retention and stability comparable to a fixed denture. This option is also available for an upgrade to a fully fixed dentition if desired.
Option C: Fixed denture
If the residual amount of bone allows you to have four to five implants, this is the ultimate denture one can get these days. It is secured to the implants, does not come out so it looks, feels and works as your real teeth. Am I a Candidate for All in Four dentures?
It can be constructed in different materials so therefore you will find different fees. The best part is that you can always upgrade if desired. Regardless of the material chosen, they will provide you with an excellent appearance and comfort you only experienced with your own teeth.
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