The endosteal implants used to restore individual teeth are usually titanium screws. For successful placement, these require that the patient has enough healthy jawbone tissue for the implant to fuse with. Mini-implants also fuse with the jawbone, but do not require as much tissue and may be inserted without incisions, cutting the recovery period by a few months. The mini-implants will have above-the-gum abutments which may attach to the dental plate in a few ways. In some cases, the plate has sockets drilled into it and the abutments have ball-shaped prongs which the denture snaps onto. It is also common for the dentures to rest on a bar-shaped structure or on a cushion placed directly on the patient’s alveolar ridge.
Implant-supported dentures are still removable structures, but the implants themselves are not. (This is what distinguishes them from the similar idea of all-on-fours or all-on-sixes, which are permanently implanted bridges done with full-sized implants. These require much more strenuous recoveries and for the patient to either have a significant amount of healthy bone tissue throughout their jaws or to undergo bone grafts.) Patients will have to clean their dentures as well as in between their implant abutments twice daily. But as long as the dentures are snapped back in properly, the risk of slipping has been eliminated. Mini-implants don’t stabilize the jaw bone tissue as much as full-sized ones do, but they also don’t require as much of the upper palate to be covered by the denture plate, since they do not rely on suction to stay in place.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit us at www.portcityfamilydentalassociates.com or call 229-246-5081