Denture implants, or Implant-Supported Dentures, are dental implants that are placed in the jaw in order to support or retain a full or partial denture. Denture implants can provide a stable denture foundation for patients who have lost all of their natural teeth but have maintained adequate jaw bone mass to support implants. Traditional dentures rest on the gums and therefore sit less tightly and firmly within the mouth. The use of denture implants can significantly improve the quality of life for patients wearing removable dentures. An implant-supported denture has special attachments that snap onto the implants.
How Is it Done and How Long Does It Take?
During your exam, the dentist will review your medical and dental histories, take X-rays and create impressions of your teeth and gums so that models can be made. In some cases, the dentist may order a computed tomography (CT) scan of your mouth. This shows where your sinuses (located above your upper teeth) and nerves are. It allows the dentist to make sure they will not be affected by the implant placement. A CT scan also may be done to see how much bone is available and to determine the best locations for the implants.
The implants are usually placed in the jawbone at the front of your mouth because there tends to be more bone in the front of the jaw than in the back. The time frame to complete the implant depends on many factors. The shortest time frame is about five months in the lower jaw and seven months in the upper jaw. This includes surgeries and placement of the denture.
Two surgeries are usually needed, and will mostly likely take place right in your dentists’ office. The first surgery involves placing the implants in the jawbone. During the first surgery an incision is made in the gum where the implant will be placed. A hole is drilled in the bone, the implant is placed into the hole, and the incision is stitched closed. Once the implants have fused to the bone the second surgery can be scheduled.
The second surgery usually takes place three or four months after the first surgery if the implants were placed in the lower jaw, and five or six months if they were placed in the upper jaw. This time frame allows the bone and the implants to attach and fuse. During this surgery, a small incision is made in your gum to expose the tops of the implants. A healing cap is then placed on the head of each implant after it is exposed. This guides the gum tissue to heal correctly, and holds the gums away from the head of the implant. Approximately two weeks after the second surgery the healing caps will be replaced with regular abutments, and the dentist will take impressions which will be used to make the denture framework and teeth.
What Can You Expect From Your Implant-Supported Denture?
Your implant-supported denture will be more stable than a regular denture. You will find it easier to speak and you won’t have to worry about the denture becoming loose or falling out of your mouth. You generally will be able to eat foods you could not eat before.
The cost of implant dentures is actually a combination of the costs of the dental implants and the cost of the removable full dentures. The cost of denture implants depends on the number and type of implants to be used. A minimum of at least two implants are required for providing basic stability to the denture. However, it is highly recommended that for an implant supported denture that the patient have 5 denture implants in the lower jaw and at least 6 denture implants for the upper jaw. Due to the effect of gravity and the lower bone density of the upper jaw, upper dentures require a larger number of implants. Patients should discuss their specific needs and carefully consider their doctors recommendations in making the decision on how many dental implants will provide the best retention and stability for their dentures.
Call us at 775.423.7400 or email us today to schedule a consultation for your specific dental needs.