Oftentimes a patient’s teeth are in such a state of disrepair that they all have to be removed, whether it was from tooth decay or gum disease or a combination of both. In these situations, where an individual may not be interested in dentures, there are now options where an entire arch of teeth can be restored on 5-6 implants. These prosthesis look and function like the patient’s natural teeth. Also, the presence of the implants can preserve the jawbone from further resorption over time.
Final prostheses can range from traditional dentures that are simply snapped into place over individual implants. Usually four implants for the upper and two for the lower are recommended. This is called an implant-retained Overdenture. It is a much more secure alternative than just traditional dentures. It also eliminates the extra plastic that covers the roof of your mouth, allowing for much less bulk and more natural feel. You can discard that tube of denture adhesive if you’re already a denture wearer.
Next would be a Milled-Bar supported overdenture , which is even more secure than a traditional overdenture, virtually zero movement during function, but still a removable prosthesis (you take it out to clean it).
As we move into more FIXED alternatives (teeth that are screw-retained into place) these start to increasingly become like natural teeth, both in appearance and function. Only the dentist can take these out, and they are the most like natural teeth. There are two types of screw-retained prostheses: Hybrids and Copymill restorations.
The first is called a Hybrid. This is a combination of both a denture and a fixed bridge. It has all the advantages of a denture, such as providing missing lip support from years of having missing teeth (“Sunken Face Syndrome”).
The second is called a Copymill. This is essentially a frame that is affixed to several implants by screws and has the outlines of all the individual teeth on it. After securing the Copymill frame into place, individual crowns are cemented onto the framework. This is the most like traditional bridgework and less like a denture. This option is the most like natural teeth.
This section showcases some of the replacement therapies that are offered to our patients who choose implant-retained restorations over a traditional denture.