Implant Supported Dentures

An estimated 45 million Americans currently wear full or partial dentures also known as prosthetic devices. These prosthetic devices allow patients to complete their smiles, but also have inherent drawbacks. Some of these drawbacks include changes in the supporting bone that cause the denture to become loose or ill fitting requiring messy creams and some discomfort. Implant supported dentures can create a modern alternative to traditional dentures.

What are implant supported dentures?
A regular denture sits on your gums, sometimes requiring a paste or adhesive cream, and tends to fit less securely. An implant-supported denture attaches to implant posts, which a skilled doctor will surgically insert into the jaw. With an implant-supported denture, special attachments snap onto the implants to hold the denture in place. Although patients usually choose an implant-supported denture for the lower jaw since regular dentures tend have less stability in this location, you can wear implant supported dentures on either the upper or lower arch.

How do implant supported dentures work?
With implant-supported dentures, patients can choose from bar-retained or ball-retained devices. In both cases, a dental technician will place porcelain or acrylic teeth to a gum-colored base. Bar-retained dentures need at least three implants, and ball-retained dentures need at least two posts.

Bar-retained dentures
With bar-retained dentures, your doctor uses a thin metal bar that follows the curve of the jaw and attaches it to the two to five posts in your jawbone. The dental appliance fits over the bar, and you will secure it with small clasps.
Ball-retained dentures
For ball-retained dentures, each implant post contains a metal topper that fits into the corresponding space on the denture. In general, the attachments on the implants are ball-shaped, and they snap into sockets on the denture.

Am I candidate for implant supported dentures?
For successful implant placement, you need good dental health and sufficient bone structure. If you have lost bone tissue, your doctor may recommend additional therapy, such as a bone graft, in preparation for the implants.

What are the benefits of implant supported dentures?
With implant supported dentures, patients enjoy renewed freedom and vitality. The benefits include:


How long does the process take?
Various factors will impact the time frame for completing the necessary procedures. If bone levels are insufficient, additional procedures may be necessary and may extend the time frame from initial procedure to completion. Most patients require two procedures, one to position the implants in the jawbone, and then a second procedure four to six months later to uncover the tops of the implants. Including surgery and the placement of the denture, plan on between four and six months.

How do I begin the first phase for implant supported dentures?
Before any work takes place, you will come in for a comprehensive implant consultation. During the exam, the doctor will gather a complete history, take X-rays, and create impressions of your mouth so that a dental lab can produce the appropriate models. In some cases, the dentist may order a computed tomography (CT) scan of your mouth so that he or she can see the exact position of your sinuses (located above the upper teeth) or nerves to ensure that these areas will not be affected by the implant placement. A CT scan can also reveal how much bone is available or help to identify the best locations for the posts.

At the first surgery, the doctor will surgically place the implants into the jawbone. An incision is made in the gum, a hole is created in the bone tissue, the implant is placed into the hole, and the incision is sutured shut. Before scheduling the second surgery, your dentist will wait four to six months for the bone to fully integrate around the implants, forming a solid foundation for your dental appliance.

What happens in the next phase of treatment?
Once the bone has fused to implants your dentist will take an X-ray to confirm that your mouth has healed. The dentist will place a healing abutment, or collar, on the head of each implant to encourage proper healing. This metal collar holds the gums away from the head of the implant for 10 to 14 days. The dentist will also adjust your denture.

Approximately two weeks later, your doctor will replace the healing abutments with regular abutments and then take an impression of your gums and implants. The impression provides a working model of your implants and jaw as the denture framework and false teeth are created.

At this point, your doctor will conduct a test run of your new denture framework to see if it fits properly. Once the metal bar and the denture frame are working together correctly, the teeth are temporarily placed on the framework with wax. Your doctor will then place the whole denture in your mouth. If everything works well, the entire denture will be completed. Plan on at least one more visit to have the completed denture inserted in your mouth.

How do I care for my implant supported dentures?
Follow these tips to keep your implanted supported denture in the best condition:

Meticulously clean around the implants and attachments
Remove the denture at least twice a day for cleaning
Replace the clips or other attachments on the bar-retained denture as needed if they loosen.
Visit the dentist every three months for a cleaning and checkup during the first year

What can I expect with implant supported dentures?
An implant-supported denture offers patients more stability than a traditional dental appliance. Patient can speak confidently without worrying about the denture becoming loose or falling out, and many people can once again eat the foods they love. However, stay away from hard or sticky foods because they can damage the denture.

Implant Supported Dentures


Kevin B. Sands DDS
414 Camden Drive
Suite 940
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

P. (310) 273-0111
F. (310) 271-0584