Dentures have been used for centuries as a replacement for missing teeth. However, they come with their own set of challenges, such as discomfort, lack of stability, and the need for regular maintenance. Overdentures are a relatively new and improved type of denture that addresses some of these issues. In this comprehensive guide, we will cover all you need to know about overdentures.
Definition of Overdentures
Overdentures are removable dental prostheses that are designed to fit over remaining natural teeth or dental implants. Unlike traditional dentures, which sit on top of the gums and rely on adhesives to stay in place, overdentures are anchored onto the remaining teeth or implants using metal attachments or clasps. This gives them greater stability and reduces the risk of slippage, allowing the wearer to chew and speak with greater confidence and comfort.
History of Overdentures
The concept of overdentures dates back to the early 20th century when dentists began to experiment with ways to improve the stability and retention of dentures. In the 1950s, a British dentist named John Besford developed the first implant-supported overdenture, using dental implants to anchor the denture onto the jawbone. Since then, overdentures have continued to evolve, and today, they are widely recognized as a preferred alternative to traditional dentures.
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Benefits of Overdentures
Overdentures offer several benefits over traditional dentures, including:
- Improved Stability: By attaching to the remaining teeth or dental implants, overdentures are more stable and less likely to slip or move around when eating or speaking.
- Enhanced Comfort: Overdentures are designed to fit snugly over the remaining teeth or implants, reducing pressure on the gums and improving overall comfort.
- Better Chewing and Speaking Ability: The stability of overdentures allows wearers to chew and speak more confidently and effectively.
- Reduced Bone Loss: Dental implants used to support overdentures help prevent the bone loss that often occurs when teeth are missing, thus maintaining the structure and shape of the jawbone.
- Aesthetically Pleasing: Overdentures are custom-made to match the wearer's natural teeth, resulting in a more natural and aesthetically pleasing appearance.
Types of Overdentures
There are several types of overdentures, including:
- Implant-Supported Overdentures: These are supported by dental implants that are surgically placed into the jawbone. The denture is then attached to the implants using metal connectors or a bar.
- Bar-Retained Overdentures: These are similar to implant-supported overdentures, but instead of individual implants, a metal bar is attached to two or more implants. The denture then clips onto the bar for increased stability.
- Tooth-Supported Overdentures: These are attached to the remaining natural teeth using metal clasps or other attachments. They are often used when only a few teeth are missing.
How Overdentures Are Fitted and Maintained
The process of fitting and maintaining overdentures is similar to that of traditional dentures. The dentist will take impressions of the patient's mouth and create a custom-made denture that fits snugly over the remaining teeth or implants. Over time, the denture may need to be adjusted or replaced to ensure a proper fit and optimal function.
To maintain overdentures, it's essential to follow good oral hygiene practices, including brushing and flossing daily and regular dental checkups. The attachments or clasps used to secure the denture should also be cleaned regularly to prevent the buildup of plaque and bacteria.
Cost ofOverdentures and Insurance Coverage
The cost of overdentures can vary depending on several factors, including the type of denture, the number of implants needed, and the location of the dental practice. In general, implant-supported overdentures tend to be more expensive than tooth-supported overdentures. The cost of overdentures can range from $2,000 to $10,000 per arch, with implant-supported overdentures on the higher end of the spectrum.
While overdentures may be more expensive than traditional dentures, they are often considered a worthwhile investment due to their improved stability, comfort, and longevity. Many dental insurance plans may cover a portion of the cost of overdentures, so it's worth checking with your provider to see what is covered.
Potential Complications or Side Effects of Overdentures Like any dental procedure, overdentures can come with potential complications or side effects. These may include:
- Pain or Discomfort: It's not uncommon for patients to experience some pain or discomfort after the placement of the overdenture. This typically subsides within a few days or weeks.
- Gum Irritation: The attachments or clasps used to secure the denture may cause irritation or inflammation of the gums, especially if the denture is not properly fitted or maintained.
- Infection: Poor oral hygiene or inadequate cleaning of the attachments or clasps can lead to the buildup of bacteria and an increased risk of infection.
- Failure of Implants: In rare cases, dental implants may fail to integrate with the jawbone, resulting in the need for replacement.
Overdentures offer a more stable, comfortable, and aesthetically pleasing alternative to traditional dentures. While they may be more expensive, they are often considered a worthwhile investment due to their longevity and improved function. If you're considering overdentures, it's important to discuss the options with your dentist to determine which type of denture is best suited to your needs and budget. With proper care and maintenance, overdentures can provide a long-lasting and effective solution for missing teeth.
Q1: What are overdentures?
A1: Overdentures are removable dentures that are designed to be supported by dental implants or natural tooth roots.
Q2: How do overdentures differ from traditional dentures?
A2: Overdentures are more secure and stable than traditional dentures because they are anchored to dental implants or natural tooth roots.
Q3: What are the benefits of overdentures?
A3: The benefits of overdentures include improved stability and comfort, better chewing and speech function, and preservation of the jawbone.
Q4: How are overdentures placed?
A4: Overdentures are typically placed in two stages: first, the dental implants or natural tooth roots are placed in the jawbone, and then the overdenture is attached to the implants or roots.
Q5: How do I care for my overdentures?
A5: Overdentures should be cleaned daily with a soft toothbrush and denture cleaner. It is also important to maintain good oral hygiene to prevent gum disease and other oral health issues. Your dentist will provide specific instructions for caring for your overdentures.