Dental implants supporting a denture

There are more and more people having dental implants fitted in their mouth. Dental implants are designed to replace a missing root of the tooth and to hold an artificial tooth in place. An implant is one of many possibilities to close a gap, and there are several options available: 

 - you have one tooth missing: a dental implant might be an option to replace an individual tooth;

 - dental implants can be a treatment of choice if you have two or more teeth missing

 - dental implants can replace all of the teeth in a toothless jaw; 

 - dental implants can also support a denture (plate) - called overdenture. This is what I would like to talk about today.

 

CARE OF IMPLANT SUPPORTED PROSTHESIS 

Many patients think that when they wear a denture their mouth is 'maintenance-free'. This is usually because patients do not receive enough information about how to take proper care of the denture in order to maintain healthy, comfortable mouth. 

For example, not taking the denture out during the night may result in a painful and irritating condition - oral thrush. 

It is very common nowadays to have a denture fitted over a set of dental implants; the denture 'clicks in' in place for an enhanced comfort. It is so easy to be mistaken this is a permanent replacement and does not require a maintenance other than brushing with a toothbrush with the denture still in mouth! An implant supported denture can and must be removed for oral hygiene.

an implant supported plate (overdenture)

If you have a denture placed over dental implants, it is important that:

1. You remove denture at night, brush it and keep it clean so that it is fresh for the next day; if you find it difficult to take the denture out during the night, take it out during the day when you are alone, for at least a few hours every day.

2. You need to brush the denture twice a day, like natural teeth, using a denture brush and a denture creme. Rinse with water after you have food.

3. It is crucial that you keep your implants clean and plaque free. Plaque is a bacterial layer that accumulates around teeth, implants, dentures, and it contains microorganisms which release toxins. If plaque is allowed to grow, the toxins damage the gum and bone, leading to gingivitis (inflammation of the gums), periodontitis (disease involves the bone and structures anchoring the tooth), bone loss and eventually tooth or implants loss. Yes, you can get a periodontal disease around an implant which is called peri-implantitis (inflammation of the tissues surrounding an implant). And the progress of the disease of this tissues is quicker and more severe than around natural teeth. Please watch the video to get a better idea about peri-implantitis.

Brush around implants with a single tufted brush like this:

You can also use a single tufted brush to clean inside a hollow implant (this is where the denture clinks in).

brush inside a hollow implant using a single tufted brush

If your implants are connected with a bar for an extra support, make sure you clean under the bar as well. you can use either super floss or a small interdental brush.


I remember seeing a patient with four dental implants supporting a denture (a plate). There were two bars supported by the implants; they help to retain the denture in place. The patient was in pain because of the inflammation of the tissue around the implants and also suffered from an oral thrush since the day before.

When I examined the patient it turned out that they were not aware they had to remove the plate from the mouth at night to let the tissues rest; in fact, they never took the plate out for the whole four years. They were also not aware that there were bars connecting the implants and that cleaning under the bars was essential to keep the soft tissue healthy. Lastly, they did not realise that they had to brush around implants, too. They were fitted with implants and a denture but never made aware of proper oral care of their mouth.

This was an inspiration for today's post. 

 

I used a NISSIN model in the video

Overdenture images: courtesy of Straumann Ltd