Most people have heard of dental implants. However I find what they know about dental implants is not always correct. When I tell patients about dental implants, they are often surprised to hear what they are, and how they will work to replace their lost teeth. The most common misconception is that dental implants are only used in situations where one dental implant replaces one missing tooth. So when people are missing all their teeth, people believe that they need an individual dental implant to replace every tooth that they are missing. This is not the case at all. In many cases as few as two dental implants can help retain a full lower denture. Another common misconception is that teeth made on dental implants cannot be removed by the patient. Most patients are not aware that if they desire teeth can be made on dental implants that are removable as well as not removable. Over the next few blogs I am going to go over different options for retaining and supporting dentures with dental implants..

Removable options on dental implants:

I find people that have worn dentures for years, still want the ability to take their dentures out to clean them. They fear that if we use dental implants to help stabilize their denture, they won’t be able to take them out to clean. One of the simplest and most cost effective options with dental implants are locator over dentures. These dentures snap on to posts that are attached to the dental implants.
The patient simply snaps their denture on and off the implants as they desire. With lower dentures as little as 2 implants can be used to accomplish this. In many cases patients opt to add a third or fourth implant for additional retention. Color coded nylon housings in the denture correspond and fit to locator abutments in the mouth. Each color nylon insert represents a different amount of retention. They range from as little 0.5 pounds to 5 pounds of force to remove the denture. With this style of implant denture there is still a small amount of movement with the teeth, however most patients can’t feel this movement and report a huge improvement in fit compared to a conventional denture. This type of prosthesis can also be used with 4 implants on the top jaw. When this is done some of the denture that covers the palate can be removed, allowing the patient to taste their food better. This can be especially advantageous for people who have a sensitive gag reflex.

 

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4 locator abutment in the upper jaw         Upper locator over denture