Posted on: 20 November 2015
If you have several teeth missing, your dentist may recommend various solutions depending on your general dental health and budget. These options can include dental implants and dentures, but some people opt for a combination of both solutions. Learn more about how overdentures work, and find out why a dentist may recommend this option.
The problem with lower jaw dentures
Edentulism (tooth loss) affects thousands of Australians and can easily impair your daily life. With missing teeth, you can't eat properly, and you can even suffer problems with speech. Dentists have fitted dentures for many decades. Studies show high levels of satisfaction with dentures on the upper jaw, but this solution doesn't work so well on the lower jaw.
Dissatisfaction with lower jaw dentures generally occurs because of discomfort and/or a poor fit. Wearers may find that these dentures become increasingly loose over time, which can make it difficult to eat and/or lead to embarrassing mishaps when the wearer accidentally spits the device out.
Lower jaw dentures are problematic, because the bone in the jaw slowly disappears. As the dentures become loose, it's much easier for the wearer to accidentally force out the device with his or her tongue. Overdentures can solve this problem.
Types of overdenture
An overdenture combines the look of a denture with the stability and support of a dental implant. Patients can normally choose from two types of over dentures. Bar-retained overdentures use a thin metal bar that sits along the curve of the jaw. The dentist attaches this bar to five implants in the lower jaw. The dentist then secures a denture to this bar.
Alternatively, you could have a ball-retained denture. In this case, each dental implant has a ball-shaped attachment that fits into a socket on the denture. Your dentist will recommend the best type of overdenture according to how many teeth you have lost and how much jaw bone remains.
Some patients will benefit more than others from overdentures. If you have suffered from extensive loss of teeth and bone, overdentures are often a more practical alternative to full dental implants because your mouth cannot otherwise support a prosthesis. Similarly, your dentist may suggest this type of device if your current dentures are too loose and you cannot eat comfortably and normally. Some patients also find that overdentures can improve self-perception, as the device can support a more attractive facial structure.
Crucially, you are likely to get the best results from overdentures if a dentist fits the device soon after tooth loss. Early installation of this type of device can slow down bone loss, which can further cut the risk of problems with your jaw and teeth in the future.
Overdentures combine removable dentures with a series of fixed dental implants. If you think you would benefit from one of these devices, talk to your dentist for more advice.Share