What is an Attachment Overdenture

What is an Attachment Overdenture?

Attached overdentures are a great way to restore your smile if you need to replace an entire arch of teeth. Overdentures refer to dentures that are secured to dental implants in your jawbone. As opposed to traditional dentures, overdentures are comfortable and stable. While traditional or conventional dentures are a great cost effective option for some patients, there are many drawbacks associated with them that are solved by the more modern attachment overdentures.

The main benefit of overdentures is that they are far more comfortable than traditional dentures. While dentures are fixed above the gum with adhesives or cover the palate with suction, overdentures are attached to dental implants placed directly into the jawbone. This means that the irritation caused by friction is completely eliminated. Overdentures will not slip or fall out while chewing or talking, unlike traditional dentures.

Overdentures require a somewhat intense and lengthy procedure to install. The first step is extraction of any remaining teeth in the arch. After the jawbone has healed, it is time to place the dental implants. Many arches only require four implants to support an entire overdenture, but some mouths may require six or eight.

To install the implants, first a small incision is made through the gum to expose the underlying bone. A small hole is drilled into the jawbone and a titanium post or screw is inserted into the hole. The incision is sewn up and left to heal. Over the next few months, a process called osseointegration will occur. During this process, the jawbone and metal implant will fuse together, firmly fixing the post into position. While the mouth heals, temporary crowns, bridges, or dentures cap the implant, allowing for normal careful use.

While osseointegration is ongoing and the mouth recovers, a dental laboratory will manufacture custom made prosthetic teeth. During the next visit to the dentist, special abutments will be placed on top of the implant posts to which a metal bar is affixed. This bar provides a stable shelf above the gums for the prosthesis to sit upon.

The prosthesis itself is made up of a gum colored acrylic skirt and tooth colored porcelain prosthetic teeth. It is attached to the bar with special clasps that allow for firm attachment as well as easy removal for nightly cleaning.

After the procedure, the patient will be able to enjoy all the features of a natural set of teeth. Attachment dentures provide a stable platform for exquisite bite force, allowing the user to experience eating many foods that traditional denture wearers would be unable to try. The prosthetic mimics the natural look of teeth, which can lessen anxiety and restore confidence. With proper daily maintenance and regular check ups, the prosthesis can last for years and fully restore the form and function of your smile!