Missing Lower or Upper Teeth
Dental Implant and Denture Combinations
Although many patients have no problem wearing an upper denture, most people find it difficult to wear and eat with lower dentures. Several implant-supported replacement options are available if you are missing all of your lower or upper teeth:
Options to Replace Missing Lower Teeth
Ball Attachment Denture
One option is to have two dental implants placed in your lower jaw and a denture made that snaps onto these implants. This option allows your lower denture to be more stable and comfortable while chewing. However, there will still be some minor movement of your lower denture. If you desire less movement, four implants can be place if there is adequate bone in the back portion of the jaw. This is called an “overdenture.”
Screw Retained Denture
Another option involves placing five or more dental implants in your jaw and attaching a permanent denture. Your denture is held in place by screws that secure it to the support posts. It doesn’t touch the gum tissue, which allows you to clean under the denture without removing it. This denture will replace all your missing lower teeth and will not be removed except at maintenance visits to your dentist. Although cleaning under your denture without removing it is more time consuming and requires more dexterity, many patients who want a permanent denture prefer this option.
The final option is to have all your teeth individually replaced so that they will appear to be growing out of your gum tissue and will most closely resemble the appearance of your natural teeth. This option usually requires eight or more tooth implants. Separate abutments or support posts for each one of these implants will be made and crowns for each missing tooth will be placed. The teeth are often joined together for strength and support. Overall, this is the most costly option, because it requires the most implants and crowns.
What If I’m Missing All Of My Upper Teeth?
A similar range of treatment options is also available for your upper jaw. However, because the bone is not as hard as that in the lower jaw, people often need more dental implants to support their new replacement teeth.
One option that many people like is to eliminate the need for covering the roof of your mouth with the denture. This allows you to fully taste your food and gives you a better sense of its temperature. Your denture will also feel more natural. You will still have a removable denture, which makes cleaning the denture much easier.
Implant-Retained Upper Denture
Depending upon the number of implants to be placed, it may be possible to eliminate the need for covering the roof of your mouth with a complete denture. This option allows you to fully taste your food and gives you a better sense of its temperature. Your denture will feel more natural.
Individual Upper Implants
If you want a restoration that is similar to your natural teeth, and therefore not removable, you probably will need eight to ten individual tooth implants placed.