Implant Dentures

​What are implant dentures and why are they preferred over a traditional denture?

An implant supported denture is a type of overdenture that is supported by and attached to implants.  A regular denture rests on the gums, and is not supported by implants.  An implant supported denture is used when a person doesn't have any teeth in the jaw, but they have enough bone in the jaw to support implants.  An implant supported denture has special attachments that snap onto attachments on the implants.

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 will generally be able to eat foods that you could not eat before.  In addition, if you are having an implant supported denture in your upper jaw, it can be made to cover less of your palate (roof of your mouth) than a regular denture.  This is possible because the implants are holding the denture in place instead of relying on the suction between the full denture and your palate.

​What type of implant dentures are available?

There are two types of implant supported dentures:  bar retained and ball retained.  Both types of dentures need at least two implants for support.

  • Bar-retained dentures — A thin metal bar that follows the curve of your jaw is attached to two to five implants that have been placed in your jawbone. Clips or other types of attachments are fitted to the bar, the denture or both. The denture fits over the bar and is securely clipped into place by the attachments.
     
  • Ball-retained dentures (stud-attachment dentures) — Each implant in the jawbone holds a metal attachment that fits into another attachment on the denture. In most cases, the attachments on the implants are ball-shaped ("male" attachments), and they fit into sockets ("female" attachments) on the denture. In some cases, the denture holds the male attachments and the implants hold the female ones.

​How long does the process take?

The time frame to complete the implant denture process depends on many factors.  The shortest time frame can be as little as one to two weeks.  This includes extractions, implant placement and fitting of the denture.  However, the process can take longer, especially if you need bone grafting or other preliminary procedures.