Reconstructing mouths that have suffered extensive or total tooth loss is not easy. There are many solutions for restoring the teeth in this situation and one of them is implant-supported dentures.
Implant-supported over dentures are based on the same principle as dentures, except that they are attached to the top end of implants instead of placed over the gums, like regular dentures.
This makes them more stable, less prone to movement and it eliminates the need of a top that covers the roof of the mouth. For these reasons, implant-supported over dentures are more practical and feel more like natural teeth.
The procedure to get an implant-supported over dentures takes some time. Because it requires surgery and the integration of implants with the bone, it may take a few months. It also requires enough strong bone, although this can be solved with bone grafting if the dental surgeon thinks it’s needed.
- More stable.
- Less prone to movement.
- Eliminates the need of a top that covers the roof of the mouth.
The procedure starts with a visual examination of the mouth and x-rays. Depending on the patient’s conditions, further tests may be needed. The dentist may want the patient’s dental and medical history. These preparations allow the dentist to assess whether the patient qualifies for the procedure and if so, to plan out the surgery. If necessary, the dentist might prepare a temporary denture so that the patient can eat more easily in the meantime.
The surgery can usually take place in the dentist’s office, with no need to go to a hospital. The gums are lifted and the implants are inserted. The patient is anesthetized so that he or she doesn’t feel pain, although there might be some pain and discomfort in the days after the surgery.
During the months that the implants fuse with the jawbone, the dentist prepares the denture. Once he deems that the time is right, the patient returns for the over denture. In some cases, tests are run or the patient needs to wait additional time until the process of osseointegration of the implants is complete.
For some patients, it might be necessary to place a cap on the top of the implants to allow the gums to heal, which will delay the installation of the over denture a couple of additional weeks.
Like all types of total mouth restoration, an implant-supported over denture is complicated, but worth it in the long run. Patients feel much more comfortable and confident, and a new smile can improve one’s self-esteem.
To speak with a dentist participating with Costa Rica Dental Guide, fill out the “Find a Dentist” form and mention your interest in implant solutions. A participating dental specialist will contact you to get you started on the road to a new healthy, beautiful mouth.
She has appeared on CNN, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning and the BBC.