Implant dentures are a popular tooth replacement option that many dentists are recommending. They come with an array of benefits that many other replacement options do not have. When undergoing a consultation appointment regarding implant dentures, having questions ready will be helpful when preparing for the appointment and the possible tooth replacement process. Outlined below are…
How Many Dental Implants Are Used with Implant Overdentures?
While not a possible option for everyone, a dental implant can provide oral stability and support for patients who suffer from the frequent loss of teeth or a weak denture foundation. A common concern among prospective implant patients is the number of implants required for a successful procedure. However, the number of screws placed is dependent on a variety of factors, such as:
- Existing bone structure
- Musculature and chewing strength
- Type of overdenture (removable or fixed)
- Jaw selected for treatment
Though all factors are important, the most vital is where the dentures will eventually sit, either the upper or lower jaw. To understand how many implants are needed for an overdenture, it is necessary to understand the requirements for placement as well as the typical conditions and characteristics of each jaw bone.
Dental implant placement
For overdentures to sit securely in the mouth, they must have adequate support from the implant screws. However, the number of screws required varies by patient and which jaw bone is used for the procedure. Patients with conditions that ultimately weaken or deteriorate the bone structure of the jaw may require more implants. A lot has to do with location as well.
The upper jaw is softer when compared to the lower jaw. The difference in density means that the upper jaw requires more screws, with a minimum of four being the basic requirement. However, there are other considerations between the two bones that determine the final number of implants required.
A dental implant placed into the upper jaw can be like a screw going into Styrofoam. Some patients will have a stronger jaw bone. But, the typical upper jaw is incredibly soft when compared to other bones. On top of that, the upper jaw has sinuses, or hollow spaces, where implants cannot be placed.
For patients seeking a full dental arch, they typically need at least four implants to secure the overdenture properly. However, depending on the strength of the patient’s bite, the density of the existing bone and the type of overdenture being used (fixed or removable), a dentist may recommend as many as eight implants. This is to ensure the stability and success of the final prosthesis.
The lower jaw is more stable than the upper jaw, and its density is better compared to oak than Styrofoam. Therefore, patients should not require as many implants to secure and stabilize their overdenture prosthesis. For example, a patient with a removable overdenture may only need two implants rather than the four required of the upper jaw. However, the number required depends on the condition of the bone.
A dental implant can give patients the opportunity to achieve better results and a more pleasant smile. For the upper jaw, a minimum of four implants is generally required. But for the lower jaw, two may suffice. The required number of implants is dependent on the overall condition of the jaw bone and the location of the eventual prosthesis. But, they typically allow for a more stable denture connection.
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