What Are Overdentures?

Apr 21, 2024 | Overdentures

Overdentures: A Modern Solution for Missing Teeth

Have you ever struggled with loose dentures that make eating and speaking a challenge? Do you long for a solution that feels more secure and natural?

If you’re missing some or all of your teeth, regaining a confident smile and the ability to eat comfortably can significantly improve your quality of life. Traditional dentures are a solution, but they often come with limitations like slipping and difficulty chewing. Overdentures offer a fantastic alternative that combines the affordability of dentures with the stability and security of dental implants.

 

Key Takeaways

  • Overdentures are dentures that attach to implants or teeth for stability. They don’t slip like traditional dentures.
  • There are different types, like bar-retained, ball-retained, and implant-supported overdentures, each with its pros and cons.
  • Overdentures offer better chewing, speaking, and comfort. They can also help keep your jawbone strong.
  • To get overdentures, you need a healthy jawbone and good oral hygiene. Your dentist will check if they’re right for you.
  • The process includes implant placement, healing, and fitting your custom overdentures. Proper care and regular dental visits help them last longer.

 

What Are Overdentures?

Overdentures are a remarkable type of denture that provides a stable, comfortable, and natural-looking solution for tooth loss. Unlike traditional dentures, which rest solely on your gums, overdentures are supported by a small number of dental implants surgically placed into your jawbone. These implants act as anchors, allowing your overdenture to snap securely into place.

This innovative design offers several advantages over traditional dentures. You’ll experience less slippage, better chewing ability, and a more confident smile, knowing your teeth are firmly held in place. While overdentures provide a sense of stability, they remain removable for easy cleaning and maintenance.

 

Different Types of Overdentures

If you’re exploring dental restoration options, overdentures present a versatile and effective solution for those with partial or complete tooth loss. Unlike traditional dentures that rest solely on the gums, overdentures are supported by dental implants or remaining natural teeth, offering improved stability and comfort.

1. Bar-Retained Overdentures

This type features a thin metal bar that follows the curve of your jaw. The bar is attached to the dental implants, and your overdenture has corresponding clips or other attachments that secure it to the bar. Bar-retained overdentures generally provide greater stability than ball-retained options, especially for those desiring a very firm hold.

2. Ball-Retained Overdentures

This variety features ball-shaped attachments on the heads of the dental implants. The overdenture has corresponding sockets that snap onto these balls. Ball-retained overdentures offer a good balance of stability and ease of maintenance. They are often a preferred choice for individuals who might have difficulty with the dexterity required to place and remove a bar-retained overdenture.

3. Implant-Supported Overdentures

An increasingly popular choice among patients is implant-supported overdentures. These are anchored onto dental implants embedded in the jawbone, providing exceptional support and mimicking the feel of natural teeth closely. They offer significant advantages in terms of chewing efficiency and preventing bone loss compared to traditional denture options.

4. Tooth-Supported Overdentures

Tooth-supported overdentures, another viable option for many individuals, utilize existing natural teeth to anchor and stabilize denture plates. This method not only helps in evenly distributing bite forces but also aids in preserving jawbone integrity by maintaining root structures within the bone tissue. Tooth retention can be beneficial for oral health; thus this approach is worth considering if suitable candidates exist amongst remaining teeth.

  • Better stabilization than conventional denture alternatives.
  • Potential preservation of existing natural tooth roots.
  • A cost-effective solution when compared to full implant systems while still offering enhanced functionality over standard denture models.

5. Snap-In Denture Options

The term “snap-in” often refers to a type of removable implant-supported or tooth-supported prosthesis that easily snaps onto attachments positioned either on implants or adapted crowns atop existing teeth. Snap-in overlaid designs provide an excellent balance between security and ease of use, allowing wearers easy removal for cleaning purposes without sacrificing day-to-day comfort during wear time.

 

Benefits of Overdentures

Overdentures offer a multitude of benefits that can significantly enhance your quality of life. Here are some of the key advantages they have over traditional dentures:

  • Improved Comfort and Stability: The implant support of overdentures provides unparalleled stability compared to traditional dentures. You won’t have to worry about them slipping or moving unexpectedly, leading to a more comfortable experience.
  • Enhanced Chewing and Speaking Abilities: With the added stability, you’ll be able to chew a wider variety of foods with confidence. Overdentures also help with speech clarity, allowing you to speak without awkwardness or the fear of your dentures shifting.
  • Bone Preservation: Tooth loss leads to jawbone deterioration over time. Overdentures, supported by implants, stimulate the jawbone like natural teeth roots. This helps preserve the bone and prevent facial structural changes that can occur with missing teeth.
  • Aesthetics: Overdentures are designed to look and feel like natural teeth. They can significantly improve your smile’s appearance, boosting your confidence and self-esteem.
  • Longevity and Durability: With proper care, overdentures can last for many years. The implants provide a strong foundation, and the denture itself is made from durable materials that withstand daily wear and tear.

 

Who is a Candidate for Overdentures?

Overdentures are a fantastic option for many individuals who have lost some or all of their teeth. Here’s a general overview of who might be a good candidate:

Sufficient Jawbone Density

Dental implants need a strong and healthy jawbone for secure placement. Your dentist will assess your bone density through X-rays and examinations to determine if you have enough bone support. If needed, bone grafting procedures might be an option to build up your jawbone before implant placement.

Overall Health Status

Your general health plays a role in your suitability for overdentures. Implant placement usually involves a minor surgical procedure, so you’ll need to be healthy enough for proper healing. Certain chronic conditions or medications could impact treatment, so it’s important to disclose your medical history to your dentist.

Commitment to Oral Hygiene

Excellent oral hygiene is essential with overdentures for their longevity and your overall oral health. You’ll need to be committed to regular brushing, flossing, and cleaning of both your overdenture and remaining teeth (if you have any).

Lifestyle Considerations

Your dentist will discuss your lifestyle habits with you. Smoking can significantly hinder healing after implant placement and affect the long-term success of your overdentures. Your diet is also a factor in choosing the best type of overdenture and ensuring it functions optimally.

It is important to note that the final determination of whether you’re a good candidate for overdentures will always come from a qualified dental professional. Schedule a consultation to receive a personalized assessment and learn if overdentures are the solution for you.

 

The Process of Getting Overdentures

While the specific timeline and steps may vary slightly depending on your individual needs, here’s a general overview of what you can expect when getting overdentures:

1. Initial Consultation

The first step is to schedule a consultation with your dentist or a prosthodontist (a specialist in dental prosthetics). They’ll thoroughly examine your mouth, discuss your medical history, and explain the overdenture procedure. This is your chance to ask questions and ensure overdentures are the right choice for you.

2. The Procedure

If you and your dentist decide to proceed, the process usually involves the following stages:
Implant Placement: Under local anesthesia, the dentist or oral surgeon will strategically place a small number of dental implants (often two to four for a lower overdenture) into your jawbone.

  • Healing Period: You’ll need a healing period of several months to allow the implants to fully integrate with your jawbone in a process called osseointegration.
  • Abutment Placement: Once the implants are secure, small attachments called abutments are connected to the implants. These abutments protrude from the gums and provide the connection point for your overdenture.
  • Impressions and Overdenture Creation: Your dentist takes impressions of your mouth, including the implants and abutments. These impressions are used to create a custom-made overdenture that perfectly fits your mouth and the attachment system.
  • Overdenture Fitting: When your overdenture is ready, you’ll have a fitting appointment where the dentist checks the fit, function, and appearance. They’ll also provide instructions for proper use, care, and cleaning.

3. Recovery and Aftercare

Some soreness and swelling are common after implant placement, but these usually subside quickly. Your dentist will provide specific aftercare instructions. It’s crucial to follow these diligently to promote healing and ensure the long-term success of your overdentures.

 

Cost and Insurance Considerations for Overdentures

Understanding the financial aspect of getting overdentures is crucial for patients considering this dental solution. Overdentures, a type of removable denture that is supported by either natural teeth or implants, offer a blend of comfort, stability, and aesthetics. However, the cost can vary widely based on several factors including the complexity of your case, materials used, and coverage options from insurance providers.

Determining the Cost of Your Overdentures

The price tag on overdentures can be influenced by numerous elements such as the health condition of any remaining teeth, the need for extractions or bone grafts before placement, the type of attachment system chosen (bar-retained or ball-retained), and geographical location.

  • Bar-retained systems might be more costly than ball-retained ones due to their complexity.
  • The necessity for preliminary procedures like tooth extraction or jawbone preparation could add to the overall expense.

To get an accurate estimate tailored to your specific needs, consult with our dental professionals. They will evaluate your oral health status and recommend a personalized treatment plan that aligns with both your dental goals and budget constraints.

Navigating Dental Insurance Coverage

Finding out what part—if any—of your overdenture procedure may be covered by insurance can feel daunting but it’s an essential step in planning your treatment. Many dental insurance plans categorize overdentures under major restorative care which often means they’ll cover a portion after deductibles are met.

 

Maintenance of Overdentures

Proper care and maintenance are essential to ensure the longevity of your overdentures and maintain excellent oral health. Here’s what you need to keep in mind:

  • Remove and clean your overdenture: Take your overdenture out after meals and brush it thoroughly with a soft-bristled denture brush and non-abrasive denture cleaner. Pay special attention to the areas that contact your gums.
  • Soak your overdenture: Overnight soaking in a denture solution helps remove any remaining debris and stains.
  • Brush your natural teeth (if any) and gums: Brush your remaining teeth twice daily and floss gently to protect the health of your natural teeth and gums.
  • Care for the implants and attachments: Your dentist might recommend specific cleaning tools and techniques for the implant attachments.
  • Regular Dental Visits: Even with overdentures, regular dental checkups and cleanings are essential. Your dentist will examine your overdenture, implants, and natural teeth (if you have any). They’ll make any necessary adjustments and professionally clean your overdenture for optimal results.

Repair and Replacement

With proper care, overdentures can last for many years. However, over time, they might need repairs or replacements due to wear and tear. The attachments on the implants may also need periodic replacement. Discuss this aspect of maintenance with your dentist so you know what to expect in the long run.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

The concept of overdentures can seem unfamiliar, but it’s worth exploring this advanced tooth replacement option. Here are answers to some common questions:

Can I wear overdentures all the time?

While overdentures are designed for extended wear, it’s recommended to remove them for a period each day to give your gums a rest. Your dentist will provide specific instructions on how often and for how long you should take them out for optimal oral health.

What is the lifespan of overdentures?

With proper care and regular maintenance, overdentures can last for many years. The overdenture itself may need replacement after 5-7 years, but the dental implants can potentially last a lifetime. Follow your dentist’s recommendations for checkups and cleanings to help maximize the longevity of your overdentures.

Is transitioning to overdentures difficult?

There can be an adjustment period when first getting overdentures, but most people find them significantly more comfortable and secure than traditional dentures. Your dentist will guide you through proper placement, removal, and care to help make the transition smooth.

 

Upgrade Your Life with Overdentures

If you’re struggling with the limitations of traditional dentures or facing the challenges of tooth loss, overdentures offer a remarkable solution. They provide unmatched stability, improved eating and speaking abilities, and a boost to your overall confidence. While the process takes time and investment, the results are often life-changing.

If you believe overdentures might be right for you, the first step is scheduling a consultation with a qualified dentist or prosthodontist. Take charge of your oral health and explore the possibilities that overdentures hold for restoring your smile and regaining your quality of life.

 

Your Journey to a Revitalized Smile Starts Here

Missing teeth shouldn’t stop you from living your best life. Overdentures offer a secure and natural-looking solution for restoring your confidence and the ability to enjoy your favorite foods. At New Leaf Rohnert Park, our team of dental experts specializes in helping patients rediscover the joy of a complete smile with overdenture solutions.

Don’t wait another day to experience the benefits of overdentures. Schedule a personalized consultation to learn if overdentures are the right choice for you.

Request an appointment online or call us at (707) 586-1549.

Eddie Kuo, DDS

Eddie Kuo, DDS

Owner @ New Leaf Rohnert Park

Professional Degrees

University of California at Davis – BS in Biological Sciences with emphasis in Neurology, Physiology, Behaviors

University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry, Doctorate of Dental Surgery

State University of New York at Buffalo – General Practice Residency at Erie County Medical Center

Front Office Staff On Phone Taking Appointment

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