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How Many Dental Implants are Necessary to Secure Implant Dentures?

 

Dentures have helped people replace missing teeth for hundreds of years.  They can improve the cosmetics of a smile and enable someone missing all of his or her teeth to chew food adequately.  Traditional dentures do not use any type of anchorage in the jaws, so they pose some challenges with retention

Recent advances in dental implants have addressed those challenges very successfully.  When we use dental implants to provide anchorage for a denture, patients are able to chew, speak, and laugh without fear of the denture dislodging and causing embarrassment.

How Do Implants Secure Dentures?

Dental implants are small root replacements that your dentist surgically inserts into the jawbone where the teeth used to be.  Then we attach small connectors to the implant roots that project out of the gums.  The dentures contain receivers for those connectors on their interior surface.  When the patient inserts the denture into the mouth, it snaps onto the implant connectors, creating very solid attachment.

This connection is secure, but easily removable.  Patients who use dental implants to secure their dentures continue to remove the denture nightly for cleaning.  The best analogy to describe this connection is like the connection on a snap front shirt.  The snaps hold the shirt closed under normal wear, but you can easily unsnap the buttons with increased pressure in the opposite direction.  The same is true for implant denture connections.  You simply lift the denture away from the implants, and the connection easily disconnects.

What are the Advantages of Implant-Supported Dentures?

Implant-supported dentures have several important advantages over traditional dentures.  Most of these advantages stem from the secure connection between the denture and the implants.  Others are the result of the implants’ presence in the jawbone.

What are the Disadvantages of Implant-Supported Dentures?

We know.  They sound pretty great, right?  There are a few disadvantages, though, which means implants aren’t the best option for everyone in dentures.

How Many Dental Implants Should I Get to Support my Dentures?

When deciding how many dental implants you should get to support a full denture, you will have a thorough evaluation with imaging and a conversation with your doctor about the treatment plan.  Working together, you can determine the best option for your mouth.  Your doctor will tell you how many implants your jawbone can support.  If you have already suffered a loss of jawbone from years of missing teeth, you may have limitations on how many implants your mouth can hold.

Minimum of Two

In general, we must have relative symmetry from the implants in order to provide balanced support from left to right.  We commonly place two dental implants in the lower jawbone.  Those two implants sometimes form a line that can act as a fulcrum along which the denture can slightly shift and flex, so the stability is better than a traditional denture, but not the best.

Four to Six are Optimal

With four to six implants in a dental arch, the denture will have great stability and a small “cushion” in the event you suffer an implant failure.  Obviously, if you only have two implants and one fails, you are in an unfortunate situation.  If you have six and one fails, you still have great support for your denture.

More Questions about Dental Implants and Dentures?

Call Designer Smiles today to schedule an implant consultation with Dr. Ann.  She can answer any question you have about implant-supported dentures and assess your specific situation.  She will help you make treatment decisions that will help you meet your goals and achieve long-term dental health!