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Implant supported dentures have dental implants placed in the bone of your jaw towards the front of your mouth. This is where you have the greatest amount of bone in your jaw and fewer nerves that could affect the placement of the implants. Healthy and sufficient bone is required for any dental implant procedure. Dr. David Zelby will first verify that you have enough bone for dental implants. If there is significant bone loss your may be a candidate for bone grafting in order to provide enough bone in your jaw to sustain the implant. The time frame to complete the actual implant will vary, but six months is common. It may take less time if the dental implant is being placed in your lower jaw and more if in the upper jaw. Bone grafting could add as much as six months to the over all time.
After you’ve made the decision to have a dental implant supported dentures, we will take X-rays and create impressions of your teeth. A computed tomography (CT) scan of your mouth will be taken to determine the exact position of your sinuses and nerves. This will also provide us with the information to determine if there is enough bone available and serves as a guide for the ideal locations for the dental implant placements. From the impressions of your teeth and gums your temporary dentures will be designed.
The procedure for implant supported dentures usually, requires two simple surgeries. The first will be to place the actual dental implant and the second will be to expose the top of the implant. After the first surgery the implant itself will be below your gum and not exposed. There are “immediate load” implants that consist of only one surgery where the implant is placed and the supporting bar is placed in one step. You may be a candidate for the immediate implant supported denture and this will be discussed at your consultation.
For the first surgery, an incision is made in your gum where the implant will be placed. A small incision is made by your oral surgeon into the jawbone and the implant is placed. The opening in your gum is then stitched closed. After three to five weeks you can wear your temporary dentures. Your dentist will give the dentures what is called a “soft reline” which gives a new lining next to your gums. Over the next four to five months the implant will attach and fuse (osseointegration) to your bone and the second surgery will be scheduled.
Once your dentist confirms that the implant is well fused in the bone, the second surgery will be to uncover the tops of the implants. A collar called a healing abutment will be placed on top of each implant head. The collar promotes proper gum growth and will be worn for about two weeks. At your following appointment you’ll have the healing abutments removed and the regular abutments will be placed. Another impression will be made to make a full model of your mouth with the new abutments in place. Your new dentures will now be custom crafted by our laboratory. A bar will be placed on the dental implants and your new dentures will be placed, properly fitted and secured. Next step? Go home and enjoy eating a steak for the first time in a long time!