I’m having a really hard time understanding how implant overdentures work. I’ve been unhappy with my dentures for many years now and I’m due to replace them. The problem comes in that I don’t know what I should be looking for. On the one hand, I could go back to the guy who made this set a decade ago, but I think he only does dentures. However, I’ve really been looking into options that use dental implants for extra stabilization and comfort. The problem is, I cannot tell whether they’re permanent or not. It looks like every dentist offering them is offering something totally different. I don’t know if I’m just confused or if they really are different. And, if they are different, how on earth am I supposed to know which guy is offering the option I need?
You’re right. It can be confusing trying to navigate the different options available. Let’s start with this: the best way to get what you need is to find a dentist who offers multiple options. That way, he can help you choose what’s right for your situation. That’s a half-answer though, so let’s break down your question.
Implant Overdentures are “Permanent”
All forms of implant overdentures rely on dental implants. Those are surgically placed and integrate with your bone. Ergo, they will be with you for life, barring any kind of serious adverse event.
There are Many Types to Choose From
You aren’t imagining things. The different dentists probably are offering unique solutions because there are quite a few options. Some are “permanent” in the sense that you cannot remove them, while others can be removed for cleaning and so forth at home.
Snap-on dentures are just as they sound. The top of the supporting implants have connectors on them and the prosthesis you wear will have corresponding connectors. They’re referred to as “gum supported” or “implant-retained” because your gums will take the brunt of your biting force. These can sometimes be retained with as few as two dental implants per arch, which can make them more affordable. They certainly top traditional dentures for comfort and offer a more natural feeling, but they won’t be as comfortable/ natural as the implant-supported options.
Bar-retained options are considered “implant-supported.” A metal bar will run across your arch, spreading the biting force across the implants. You’ll usually have 4-6 of them, so it costs a bit more, but it will feel more natural and comfortable than the other options. Your prosthesis will be removable at home, but the bar will not be.
The fixed variety contains an internal bar, so the biting force is still spread across all implants. For this reason, it’s also referred to as “implant-supported,” but you will not be able to remove it at home. A fixed denture will feel and work more naturally than any of the other options and you’ll likely have 4-6 placements.
This blog is sponsored by Vero Beach Dentist Dr. Rick Root.