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Life without teeth can be a very difficult prospect since it greatly affects the ability of the individual to enjoy everyday pleasures. In fact, dentistry has moved from an extract first mentality as recently as a few decades ago to advising extraction of the teeth only as a last resort.
Unfortunately, even with the shift in mindset, the level of oral hygiene can be still severely lacking among people and leaves the dentist with no other option but to extract multiple teeth. They say that you truly realize the value of something once it is gone and it seems to be particularly true for our teeth.
Complete or partial dentures are still among the most popular method by which missing teeth are replaced. These dentures do not do anything to preserve the bone support of the patients in the long term and can be quite troublesome to use because of constant mobility.
This is where overdentures come in.
What Are Overdentures?
Overdentures are exactly what they sound like! They are dentures that are made over existing teeth or on dental implants. While overdentures on modified existing teeth can be used in some situations, the use dental implants to provide support to dentures is far more popular.
The idea here is simple. Dentures by themselves are not the most satisfactory kind of prosthesis for the patients to use. They may also not be fit enough or be able to afford implants to replace all of their teeth and go in for a fixed prosthesis.
Overdentures provide the middle ground by requiring less number of implants, being accessible to people with relatively poor bone support and improving the denture function so that patients can use them more effectively.
Who Are Overdentures For?
Not everyone who uses dentures will need overdentures but the fact is that a lot many people will benefit from the treatment. Here is how to check. If your dentures keep falling off while you are talking, eating or laughing then they are either not made well, need re-lining or just do not have the support necessary for proper function.
Find out from your doctor what the cause behind your poor denture performance is.
If your doctor has advised overdentures then a medical evaluation to ensure you are fit enough for the procedure is in order. To put it simply, if you do not have cancer, are not on bisphosphonates for treatment of osteoporosis, an uncontrolled diabetic or have recently had cardiac surgery then yo are more than likely fit enough for the procedure.
Of course, the doctor will take a detailed medical history to find out about any other underlying systemic causes that may prevent you from undergoing the procedure as well.
The good thing about this procedure is that the placement of the implants is away from the sinus in the upper jaw and the nerve running through the lower jaw, so most often no additional procedure needs to be done to augment the bone.
Even people that have a poor amount of bone for conventional implants are often able to undergo the procedure of overdentures.