3 Important Patient Qualities When Seeking Overdentures
Partial or full dentures are great dental replacement options when you are missing a larger number of teeth that don't make singular replacements like dental implants practical. But both types of dentures can feel somewhat insecure in your mouth and shift around as you chew, which can cause discomfort. An alternative, more stable option is overdentures, which are regular dentures supported with dental implant roots embedded into the jawbone.
Not every patient is a good match for overdentures. Here are a few qualities that can help you and your cosmetic dentist decide whether you are the right match for this type of dental replacement.
Healthy Jawbone or Willingness to Undergo Graft
The metal root that forms the support system for overdentures needs to successfully undergo a process called osseointegration to be secure. Osseointegration refers to the successful healing of bone around the root to hold the metal piece securely in place. The jawbone needs to be in fairly good health to succeed.
The problem is that the loss of natural teeth removes an important health-stimulator for the jawbone, and your jawbone health under the missing teeth will quickly go downhill. If you can start your overdenture process soon after losing the teeth, this might not be a problem. Otherwise, you might have already lost too much jawbone health to be a successful candidate for overdentures.
There is a possibility you could undergo a bone graft in order to bulk up the weakened areas of jawbone to become an overdenture candidate. The graft uses donor bone, from you or an outside source, to patch in those weakened areas so you have sufficient bone to heal around the root.
Comfortable Leaving Dentures in Mouth
Some partial dentures and most full dentures are removable, which allows you to take the plate out at night for cleaning of both the dentures and your gums. You might find it comfortable to take the dentures out at night as you sleep. Overdentures, however, are fixed on the metal roots and are not to be removed by you, although a dentist can remove the overdentures if necessary for a medical reason.
You need to be comfortable with the idea of having your dentures in your mouth all of the time in order to be a good candidate for overdentures. If you feel the need to remove the dentures, stick to the traditional kinds.
Patients considering overdentures need to be just that: patient. The bone healing process takes a few months and you can double that if you need to undergo a bone graft. There are also the standard fittings with your cosmetic dentistry specialist or denturist to make sure that the dentures themselves are an adequate fit for your mouth. For more information, consult with a cosmetic dentist, like one from Dr. Jerry F. Maymi & Associates.