Welcome back to Hartwell Dental Excellence‘s blog. Today we will walk you though what is involved in creating an implant supported denture and what part you play with your home care of this.
What happens at my appointments?
The initial consultation will involve x-rays and assessment of your jaw to see if you are a candidate for implant-supported dentures.
If you and your dentist decide to proceed with an implant supported denture, the first surgery will be the placement of the implants into the bone. Implants are usually placed towards the front of the jawbone as there is more bone at the front of the jaw than at the back. This involves cutting into your gums and drilling a hole into the jaw. The implant will be placed in the hole and the gums are stitched up above the implant. Several weeks are required for the bone and the implant to fuse together.
When the implants and bone would have fused together, a cut is made in the gums to expose the implant. Then a ‘healing’ cap is screwed to the top of the implant to allow the gums to heal around the cap.
After several weeks, the gums should have healed around the implant ‘healing’ cap. These caps are then replaced with regular caps that would allow the denture to snap onto them. Moulds are taken for your denture to be made.
How do I maintain my implant-supported dentures?
Home-care is very important to maintain your implant-supported denture. Taking care of your implant-supported denture is a little different from caring for natural teeth. There are three parts that you need to look after: the implants, the soft tissue (your palate, tongue, cheek) and the denture.
Similar to natural teeth, if implants are not maintained, plaque can build up around the implants and cause the gums to become irritated, swollen, and red and bleed. In addition, the lack of home-care for implants can cause the bone levels underneath the implants to break down. As a result, the implants can lose their supporting bone, become unstable and possibly fall out. The best way to avoid this is by using effective oral hygiene techniques to remove plaque. Depending on your current regime and the type of implant-supported denture that you have, your hygienist will help you choose the types of brushes and techniques to best remove plaque away from your implants.
When brushing your implants, it is important to also brush your gums, tongue and palate as bacteria can also grow on these areas.
Dentures can become unsightly and are more prone to breakdown if they are not cleaned regularly. They can also be breeding grounds for bacteria/fungi which can affect the health of your gums. Just like natural teeth, is important that they are brushed at least twice a day (morning and night). When brushing the denture, it is ideal to line the sink with a towel or fill it with water to prevent the denture from breaking if it falls into the sink. Brush the denture as low into the sink as possible to reduce the risks of breakage. According to the Dental Health Services of Victoria, it is important to brush your denture with a soft toothbrush and mild soap or denture paste every day. Normal toothpaste is not recommended. Toothpaste can be abrasive to the denture and create areas that bacteria/fungi can grow. Every night, soak the denture in one part of white vinegar to two parts of cold water. Make sure that you rinse the denture thoroughly to remove any soap, denture paste or vinegar before you put it in your mouth. It is important that you do not wear the denture for long periods of time as this allows bacteria/fungi to grow on your denture and irritate your gums.
According to the Journal of American Dental Association, dentures should be checked at least once a year by a dental professional to make sure that they are fitting well. They can also check for any lesions or bone loss around the implants. It is important that you see your hygienist regularly to clean around your implants and help you improve your cleaning technique.
- Colgate (2012), ‘Implant-Supported Denture’, Colgate, viewed on the 15th of Feb < http://www.colgate.com/app/CP/US/EN/OC/Information/Articles/Oral-and-Dental-Health-at-Any-Age/Seniors/Dentures-and-Dental-Implants/article/Implant-Supported-Denture.cvsp>
- Dental Health Services of Victoria (2013), ‘Denture Care’, Dental Health Services of Victoria, viewed on 1st of March <http://www.dhsv.org.au/dental-advice/general-dental-advice/older-adults-and-carers/denture-care/>
- Felton, D Cooper, S Duqum, I et.al (2011), ‘Evidence-based guidelines for the care and maintenance of complete dentures’, JADA¸ vol. 142 no. suppl 1 1S-20S
- Yamada, R Gorin, D Marinello, R Rosen, M Russo, S (no date), ‘Implant-supported overdentures: the standard care for edentulous patients’, Periodontics, Orthodontics and Implant Dentistry, Summer volume. Electronic source can be viewed on < http://www.periodonticsltd.com/newletter/Gorin_Summer_06.pdf>