Special Dentures

Some of the biggest challenges that a dentist can face come from dentures. There are many compromised situations, one of the most common of which is the low ridge. How do you make a denture stay in a mouth like this? It’s virtually impossible with conventional acrylic dentures.

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However, dentures can be used in conjunction with implants to get a better result. These are called overdentures. The full lower dentures are fabricated just like any full denture, except that they have components that match the studs on the implants placed into the lower jaw bone.

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The precision attachments allow the denture to clip or snap into place. The implants will hold the denture quite firmly, resisting movement in all directions. The fixture component in the denture is often a metal cap lined with a plastic cap or rubber ring. This will wear out with use, so regular maintenance is necessary.

One disadvantage of overdentures is that patients tend to eat very well after they have been fitted with it. Not only do they put on weight, they may break their dentures eating hard food. While acrylic dentures are held in place very well by implants, their strength is still limited.

Another difficult situation faced by the dentist is the free end saddle. The picture below shows you what it means. There is no tooth at the end of the saddle. Any biting force will sink the denture. The tighter you make the metal clasp, the greater the seesawing force on the supporting tooth, causing discomfort, pain or even tooth loss.

When you have two free end saddles, one on either side, the problem is magnified. Again, it’s virtually impossible to get good stability under such situations.

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One way to solve this problem is to give the denture some form of support at the end. We can place an implant without fully restoring it. Even then, it makes a huge difference.

The pictures below show free end saddles on both sides. An implant on each side (without any restoration) made the denture a lot more stable than it would have been without implant support.

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Of course, the patient does not need to wear a denture forever. If there is sufficient bone to place more implants in front, implant supported fixed bridges can be made and the patient would not need to wear dentures anymore.