People who are missing some permanent teeth but are uncomfortable removing traditional dentures each night may benefit from implant supported dentures. Rather than simply resting on the patient’s jaw, this type of denture is attached to implants that are placed in the mouth. While normally inserted into the lower jaw, these prosthetics can be located on either the top or bottom of the jaw. While the exact timeline varies from office to office, the procedure is completed over the course of several steps.
The implant supported dentures process
When first inquiring about implant supported dentures, patients should be aware that the treatment often takes five months or more to complete. Over the course of this time period, the patient likely will undergo at least two surgeries separated by a waiting period. Here is what individuals can generally expect for the entire procedure.
Before moving forward with any surgical work, the dentist meets with the patient to get a full understanding of the situation. This appointment may include taking impressions and X-rays that are used for creating models of the mouth. This allows the dentist to order a temporary denture. The dentist will also examine the mouth and possibly take a CT scan to determine if there is enough jawbone to support the implants. If not enough bone is present, the dentist may suggest grafting to help build up the bone volume in the area.
The purpose of the first surgery is to place the implants into the jaw. This process includes drilling a hole into the jawbone, inserting the implant and stitching the incision. A waiting period of several months allows the implants and the jawbone to heal and fuse together. A temporary denture is worn during this time.
The second surgery is typically less complex and time-consuming than the first surgery. The dentist cuts into the patient’s gums to expose the tops of the implants. A healing cap is placed onto the implant for up to two weeks, which allows the gums to heal away from the head of the implant. Once the gum has healed, the healing caps are replaced with regular abutments. The dentist will take an impression of these abutments and the gum tissue. This allows a model of the jaw to be made, which is used to create the patient’s permanent dentures.
Once the patient’s dentures are finished, a metal bar is placed onto the abutments. The dentist tries on the dentures to make sure that they fit properly into the framework. If no further adjustments need to be made, the teeth are secured into place, and bar or ball attachments are used to fasten the frame onto the implants.
Implant supported dentures are just one of several options available to patients struggling with widespread tooth loss. While there are several benefits to this type of procedure, such as a more natural appearance, increased stability while eating and better preservation of the jawbone and gums, this solution is not for everyone. Individuals considering this style of dentures should consult a general dentist to discuss all available options for their situation.
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