For anyone missing multiple teeth, the process to improving your smile can be long and filled with many difficult decisions. Things used to be simpler, there was one main option available to replace an entire arch of teeth: dentures. However, with the rise of modern technology, there are now several different options to choose from. Of which, one of the most popular is known as the overdenture, or implant supported denture. So, which choice is best for you? From durability, to cost, to your own bone structure, the answer depends on several different factors. To settle the debate once and for all, here is a breakdown of how to choose between traditional dentures, or an implant supported overdenture.
WHAT IS A DENTURE?
To begin the discussion, it is important to know the basic differences between a denture and an overdenture. A denture is most commonly an acrylic resin that intimately fits the shape of your mouth. The denture rests on your gumline, effectively acting as your teeth once in place. Dentures are removable and require routine care and cleaning. While similar in function, an overdenture is much more technologically advanced.
WHAT IS AN OVERDENTURE?
The procedure to receive an overdenture begins when metal posts, known as implants, are surgically placed in the jaw bone. Then, a set of teeth (stabilized with a titanium bar, wrapped in acrylic) are attached to the implant. Once in place, this creates a permanent set of new teeth within the mouth. Overdentures also require care and cleaning, just like natural teeth.
Immediately, you will notice that dentures are removable, while overdentures are mostly permanent (some overdentures are designed with the ability to be removed). Since overdentures are attached to implants embedded within the jaw bone, they benefit from a sturdier support system. Those with overdentures have an increased biting strength and they enjoy the ability to more easily enunciate words. The durability, stability and comfort of a traditional denture varies depending on the quality of the material and the dentist that creates the mold. However, it is safe to say that an overdenture is consistently sturdier and more reliable when compared to traditional dentures. While different in design, both procedures also vary in cost.
COST OF DENTURES COMPARED TO OVERDENTURES
Due to the surgical cost and materials required for overdentures, the cost is usually higher than traditional dentures. Overdentures should be viewed as an investment because of their longevity and permanence. When it comes to your smile, it is important to consider the long term satisfaction you will receive with your investment.
BONE MASS REQUIREMENTS
If you have been missing teeth for a long time, it is likely that you have suffered some level of bone loss. The bones of your jaw are strengthened from the stimulation that occurs when the force of biting travels down the root of the tooth and into the jaw bone. Even one missing tooth can cause the jaw bone to become weakened and lose density. As overdentures require an implant to be embedded within the jaw bone, it is important to have enough bone mass for the implant to effectively hold. The less bone mass you have, the more challenging it is to receive dental implants. However, with modern advances in technology, we are able to create necessary bone mass with a simple bone grafting procedure.
Ultimately, we recommend visiting with a licensed prosthodontist to explore in detail which option you are a candidate for. Factors like bone density, budget and treatment effectiveness should all be discussed in a professional setting with a qualified expert. After a careful examination, you should have all of the information needed to make this life changing decision. At the end of the day, both the traditional denture and overdenture are phenomenal solutions that are sure to bring years of happiness and joy.