Welcome to a three part series on implant supported dentures. If any of you have dentures that you are unhappy with for whatever reason i.e. loose, painful, problems eating, then the concept of an implant supported denture may appeal to you.
A removable denture can replace either some or all of the teeth in the arch. If all of the teeth are missing, it is called a full denture. If a few teeth are missing, the denture is considered a partial denture.
A partial denture is held in place by ‘clasps’ which adhere to the remaining
A full denture relies on suction from any available surface area it comes in
contact with, primarily the palate. Sometimes ‘suction’ is not enough to retain a full
denture and quite often the retention achieved by placing clasps on teeth (with a partial denture) is not enough to hold the denture in properly.
A lack of retention of a denture can be addressed by placing implants into the jaw
bone with an attachment on them that snap into the denture. This is known as an
Implant Supported Denture (ISD).
Implant Supported Denture (ISD) – Definition
This is a denture that does not sit directly on the gums….rather it rests on
implants that have been anchored into the bone.
• Implant Supported Dentures (ISD) can be used if someone has all their teeth
missing or if only a few remain.
• There must be a sufficient amount of bone remaining in the jaw in which to place the implants.
• Implants for ISD’s have special attachments on them. These are most often ball-like which fit or snap onto specially prepared areas within the denture.
• ISD’s can be made for both the upper and lower jaw, but more are made for the lower. The reason is that the lower dentures are harder to retain in the mouth than upper dentures. As mentioned previously, the upper denture takes advantage of the palate which provides suction to properly retain the denture.
The lower jaw in many edentulous individuals tends to be non-existent i.e.
inadequate height, width and overall surface area…..sometimes actually flat. This makes it difficult for the denture to sit adequately in the patient’s mouth. In addition, the strength of the tongue and the floor of the mouth cause the lower denture to move around a lot.
Implants can be placed in both the upper and lower arches with great success and
longevity. It has been reported that dental implants have the highest success
rate of any implanted surgical device….in fact, a 98% success rate!
In part two of the series on ISD’s, we will discuss implant maintenance, financial advantages of ISD’s, the different type of ISD’s and the ideal location of the implants in the jaw that will retain the dentures….until then.
Yours in dental health,
Dr. Robert Axelrad, Brampton Dentist