Implant Supported Dentures

What Are Implant Dentures?

Implant dentures improve facial esthetics by restoring missing teeth as well as supporting facial structure that naturally deteriorates over time when teeth are lost. They are the most stable and comfortable solution for replacing missing teeth and consist of a traditional denture secured to titanium implants that screw down or lock into place so they will not shift in the mouth or fall out during jaw movement. The stability of an implant denture is of greatest importance in the lower jaw where traditional dentures are notoriously unstable causing discomfort and frustration.

Implant dentures can be either removable or fixed depending upon the unique needs of the patient. Several types include:

  • Bar-supported: A fully implant-supported removable option. A thin metal bar follows the jaw line between the implants and is attached to four to six implants. Clips fabricated into the underside of the dentures, attach to the bar and secure it firmly in place.
  • Snap-retained: A tissue-supported and implant-retained removable option. Each implant has a snap-type metal abutment attachment that securely retains the denture in place.
  • Hybrid denture: A fully implant-retained and fixed option. A custom milled bar supporting esthetic acrylic teeth or a milled zirconia bridge screw onto six to eight implants for a fully fixed solution.

The Implant Procedure

The amount of time it takes for the entire implant process varies depending on several factors including the overall health of the individual, the quantity and quality of the existing bone and compounding factors such as smoking. Generally, an average procedure time from tooth removal and graft to functioning crown is between 6 and 8 months though compounding factors may require up to a year or more.

What to expect during the implant denture process

  1. Consultation: Dr. Sunde has advanced training in the placement of implants and will meet with you to review your medical and dental history, take x-rays and photos, and create impressions of your teeth and gums.
  2. Temporary dentures: If you are not already wearing a denture, a temporary set of dentures will be fabricated for you until final implant dentures are complete. The temporary denture aids in the creation of the final implant denture.
  3. Surgery: Implants are placed into the bone under the gums in the planned sites. Dr. Sunde waits approximately three to four months for the lower jaw or five to six months for the upper jaw before scheduling the next step, in order to make sure the implants have properly integrated to the jawbone.
  4. Implant uncovering: The implants are exposed and healing abutments are placed on each implant. Two weeks later, the healing abutments are removed and an impression is captured of the entire jaw for fabrication of the final implant denture.
  5. Denture delivery: Depending on the design of the final denture either the final abutments or a bar will be placed. The denture may then be delivered and adjusted for final fit.