Overdentures: What They Are, When They’re Used, and 5 Other FAQs

Understanding overdentures

If you are missing all of your teeth and are worried about tooth replacement, you are certainly not alone. In fact, The American College of Prosthodontists estimates that over 35 million Americans are edentulous and missing every tooth. But, the good news is that dentistry has advanced, so you don’t need to worry about old-fashioned dentures slipping or causing an embarrassing social situation. Your dentists at Farless Dental Group can replace all of your teeth with aesthetic and natural-looking overdentures.

What are overdentures?

Overdentures, or snap-in dentures, are a dental prosthetic that helps traditional dentures stay in place with implants. Dental implants are screwed gently into the jawbone and connect to the dentures at specific spots to keep it stable. The denture can be removed, but the implants are permanent.

Snap-in dentures are very popular because you can remove them at night to clean, you can eat nearly anything you want without worrying, and your denture is often more slender and less bulky. 

When is an overdenture used?

An overdenture can be used for patients who are missing an entire arch of teeth or a few teeth to secure a full or partial denture. 

An overdenture is a great option for patients who want a more permanent solution to missing teeth. Dentures can make it challenging to eat, speak, and laugh. They often require a considerable adjustment period to get used to what is technically a foreign object in the mouth. An overdenture helps secure the denture in the mouth so it feels more natural and less likely to move or cause an issue when speaking. It also helps protect the jawbone to avoid further deterioration of bone, which can cause your dentures to become loose and contributes to that sunken face appearance. 

What is the overdenture process?

The overdenture process is a combination of both designing a denture and the surgical implant process. First, you will go for a consultation to review if you are a good candidate for dental implants. You need to be in good health and have adequate bone structure to support the implants.

X-rays are taken to assess your bone height and determine whether your bone can support the necessary implants to hold the denture in place. Imaging and intraoral scanning are used to take the necessary impressions to create your implant surgical guide and overdenture. 

The dental implant process is when implants are surgically screwed into the jawbone. You will get a temporary denture that sits on top until you properly heal. 

Once you’ve healed—usually in a few short months—your dentist will make an incision in the gum to expose the implants so proper abutments can be fitted that will connect to your denture.

Your denture is custom made to fit your mouth with the proper shade and size of teeth to suit your smile. Once the denture is fabricated, it will be connected to your implants and you will be shown how to snap it in and out if it is removable. 

You will also be taught how to properly clean around your denture so it stays in good shape. Don’t forget that you still need to go for routine visits to the dentist to make sure your implants and dentures don’t need any adjustments. 

What is the difference between implant-supported vs. implant-retained dentures? 

Depending on your needs, budget, and preferences, there are different options for denture implants. The main difference is that one is removable and one is permanently installed.  Implant supported dentures use a false teeth denture that is permanently screwed onto the implants so that it can not be removed. In contrast, an implant retained denture is when you can remove the denture from the implants. 

Are there any downsides to an overdenture?

It is not recommended that you sleep with an overdenture because your soft tissues need rest and to “breathe.” If you don’t remove them or they are permanent, that’s okay, but you may be more at risk of developing a fungal infection.

Overdentures are more expensive than traditional dentures because you need to consider the implant cost. Sometimes, this type of prosthetic is considered cosmetic and is not covered by dental insurance. 

An overdenture requires implants, so you need enough bone to support them. If you have inadequate bone, you may need a sinus augmentation or bone graft, which requires more time to heal and more out-of-pocket costs. 

5 Facts About Overdentures

1. Overdentures prevent bone loss.

Dental implants help secure bone in the jaw. When teeth are removed, the bone around the teeth becomes less dense and tends to deteriorate over time. Implants help stabilize the bone because the pressure from chewing forces help maintain bone structure

2. There are different types of overdentures.

There is no single type of overdenture. An overdenture can be designed to a patient’s needs, but the most common types are permanent implant supported dentures and removable implant retained dentures. 

3. You still need routine dental visits.

You cannot get cavities with dental implants, but you still need to ensure your bone around the implant is healthy and that osseointegration (where the jaw bone grows around the implant further securing it) is present so you don’t have inflammation or an infection that can lead to implant loss. Routine dental visits are necessary whether you have all, some, or none of your teeth because you need to ensure your prosthetic is in top shape, check for oral cancer, and check the health of your gums. 

4. Overdentures give you a better eating experience.

Chewing with dentures is not the most pleasant experience because they are held in by suction and denture adhesive. If the adhesive is weak or wears away, your denture can slip, causing an embarrassing and uncomfortable eating experience. Overdentures give you a better chewing experience because your dentures are secured in your mouth and it feels as close to natural teeth as possible. 

5. An overdenture is a good transition to dentures.

Losing all of your teeth can be a major transition and sometimes feels traumatizing because it changes the way you chew and smile. When you get an overdenture, it is simply restoring your natural smile. It is considered the most natural prosthetic because it is permanently installed and won’t move—just like natural teeth. 

Let Farless Dental Group restore the look and function of your smile. 

Overdentures are extremely popular because they offer more comfort and stability than traditional dentures. The best way to find out if you are a good candidate for overdentures is to schedule a consultation with your dentist at Farless Dental Group. You will not be disappointed with an overdenture when you are able to eat, speak, and smile naturally again.