3 Patient Factors That Can Make Overdenture Treatment Successful

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Overdentures are a more stable alternative to partial or full dentures. The stability comes from the support of a few dental-implant roots, which are titanium screw-shaped devices that twist into a hole drilled into the jawbone. The bone heals around the screw so the root is firmly and securely in place. A denture plate snaps onto the top of the roots and thus doesn't risk moving around as much as a traditional, gum-supported denture plate.

While overdentures definitely have some advantages over traditional dentures, not every patient is the best match for the implant-supported option. What are some of the patient characteristics that might make you a good fit for overdentures?

Healthy, Dense Jawbone or Graft Willingness

The dental-implant root relies on dense, healthy jawbone to heal around the root correctly and securely. If you have unhealthy jawbone due to decay or a medical condition, the root might not hold in place properly, and your dentures could lose the supports. But there are a couple of different ways your dentist can help.

Unhealthy jawbone can get bulked up through a bone-graft procedure that inserts donor bone into the weakened areas. You will have to wait during a healing period so that the segments of bone fuse together before the dentist can place the root.

If your jawbone is healthy, but you simply have less density or a narrow jawbone ridge, the dentist could potentially use mini-implant roots in place of the standard size. The dentist might need to implant more mini roots to provide the same amount of support for the dentures, but you could then skip the long graft-healing stage.

Prior Experience with Bad Denture Fit

The implant process is lengthy even if you don't require a bone graft. If you have always had positive experiences with traditional dentures, you might not consider the cost and waiting worth the hassle. But many people have had mostly negative experiences with dentures, particularly when it comes to proper fit.

You might happily sit through the dental-implant process if you have never experienced a pair of dentures that fit comfortably and allow you to chew like you have natural teeth.

Traditional dentures are removable for cleaning or simply for times you don't want to wear them, such as at night in bed. Overdentures aren't removable, so you need to keep that factor in mind when deciding whether this is the right treatment for you. You can brush overdentures like natural teeth, so removal for cleaning isn't necessary. If you have no other reason for wanting to remove your dentures, then you might find overdentures a good fit.