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FAQs About Overdentures, An Alternative To Traditional Dentures

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Years ago, when someone used the word "dentures," they were specifically referring to a dental instrument that was temporarily fixed to the gums with adhesive and was removed every night. This type of denture still exists, but there are now other, more advanced styles of dentures, too. One increasingly common option is called an overdenture. An overdenture is a more permanent denture that attaches to implants that are surgically inserted into the jaw bone. Here are some questions you might have about overdentures and how they compare to traditional dentures.

How Are the Implants for Overdentures Inserted?

The implants for overdentures are inserted during a surgical process, which is usually performed by a dental surgeon. The patient is usually sedated, and a local anesthetic is injected to make sure their mouth is numb before the surgeon begins work. An incision is made in the gums, and then four implants are inserted into the jaw bone. The gums are then sutured shut. Over the next few weeks, the bone around the implants will grow through and around them via a process known as osseointegration. This will essentially make the implants stable in the mouth. Then the denture can be attached to the implants, completing the procedure. 

Who Is a Candidate for Overdentures?

Most people are candidates for overdentures. You may not be a candidate, however, if your jawbone is really thin or weak. In this case, your dentist may instead recommend traditional dentures. However, you may also have the option of getting bone grafts in your jaw, and then a few months later, having implants inserted for an overdenture. This process can be long, but if you struggle with wearing traditional dentures, then it might be worth it.

What Are the Advantages of Overdentures in Comparison to Traditional Dentures?

One major advantage of overdentures is that they do not slip. You can better eat chewy and crunchy foods without worrying about the dentures slipping out of place. Another advantage is that an overdenture protects your jawbone. The pressure that is transferred through the implants activates your jawbone and keeps it strong and resilient. With traditional dentures, this does not happen, which means that your jawbone will continue to deteriorate over time, making your traditional dentures harder to keep in place.

Having overdentures and the associated implants inserted is not painless. However, this approach has a lot of advantages for patients and is well worth considering. Talk to your dentist to learn more about overdentures.