A traditional denture is one that sits on top of the bony ridge of the arch and is well-adapted to the patient’s anatomical structures in the mouth. However, sometimes traditional dentures will occasionally become loose during eating or speaking as the supporting bone changes over time and due to other factors. Although denture adhesive can be helpful, it is not a long-term solution.
A method to combat bone loss which is seen with traditional dentures, is to have implant-supported dentures. It involves the placement of implants into the bone, and then the denture is attached to the implants via an attachment. This makes the denture more stable and allows you to be able to chew things that traditional dentures do not. No denture adhesive is necessary anymore.
The quality of your bone and if it is an upper or lower arch will determine if you need bone grafts and how many implants are necessary to stabilize the denture. Implant supported dentures typically require 4-6 implants. An implant supported denture with 4 implants is “All-on-4” and an implant supported denture with 6 implants is “All-on-6.”
The entire process from having no teeth to an implant-supported denture could take 5-7 months or up to one year. There are two surgeries involved. The first surgery is the placement of the implants. Then, 4-6 months are needed for the implants to integrate into the soft and hard tissues. The second surgery involves exposing the top of the implants and placing a healing cap on top of each one which will shape the healing soft tissues. A couple weeks later the healing caps will be replaced with abutments and the dentist will take an impression of your arch to have the denture fabricated. Finally, a trial of the finished denture is placed into your mouth. If the fit is satisfactory to the patient and dentist, the denture is then attached to the implants.
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