An implant denture is a type of denture that is supported by and attached to implants. A regular denture rests on the gums, and is not supported by implants.
An implant denture is used when a person doesn’t have any teeth in the jaw, but has enough bone in the jaw to support implants. An implant denture has special attachments that snap onto attachments on the implants.
Implant dentures usually are made for the lower jaw because regular dentures tend to be less stable there. Usually, a regular denture made to fit an upper jaw is quite stable on its own and doesn’t need the extra support offered by implants. However, you can receive an implant-supported denture in either the upper or lower jaw.
You should remove an implant denture daily to clean the denture and gum area. Just as with regular dentures, you should not sleep with the implant dentures at night.
How Does It Work?
There are two types of implant dentures: bar-retained and ball-retained. In both cases, the denture will be made of an acrylic base that will look like gums. Porcelain or acrylic teeth that look like natural teeth are attached to the base. Both types of dentures need at least two implants for support.
- Ball-retained dentures (most common) — Each implant in the jawbone holds a metal attachment that fits into another attachment on the denture. In most cases, the attachments on the implants are ball-shaped (“male” attachments), and they fit into sockets (“female” attachments) on the denture. In some cases, the denture holds the male attachments and the implants hold the female ones.
- Bar-retained dentures — A thin metal bar that follows the curve of your jaw is attached to the implants that have been placed in your jawbone. Clips or other types of attachments are fitted to the bar, the denture or both. The denture fits over the bar and is securely clipped into place by the attachments.