Overdentures: An examination
The effects of untreated edentulousness on the mandible bone
When people are edentulous (toothless) for many years, the bone in the lower jaw becomes progressively thinner over time. In extreme cases, the lower jaw may be as thin as a pencil making denture wearing virtually impossible. Therefore, it is important that the patient receive their necessary treatment option before the bone in the lower jaw becomes too thin.
Overdenture as treatment
One viable option rests with a denture treatment called “overdenture”. Two implants are secured into the mandibular bone, acting as securement that the dentures “click” into. The dentures are still removable, which is beneficial for cleaning, but are also better fixed, reducing discomfort. The advantage of such a treatment is that bone loss is markedly reduced, thus maintaining the integrity of the lower jaw.
Overdenture studies and results
As far back as 1997, a study by Dr D. Wismeijer and colleagues from the Amsterdam Dental School examined the results for 110 patients who had difficulty wearing a lower denture and who were provided with overdentures. An elevated level of patient satisfaction was found.
A more recent study by Dr SA Alfadda and colleagues from the University of Toronto, found a similar level of satisfaction for 77 patients given implanted-supported mandibular overdentures.
Both studies display patient satisfaction over an extended period. The former study being conducted sixteen months after implant installation and the latter being researched over a period of five years. This infers positively towards everyday usage and comfort when using such a dental treatment.
Advantages of Overdentures
First and foremost, the dental implants lead to less bone loss in the lower jaw. In terms of usage, with dentures fixed into place they do not move while eating or talking. Furthermore, overdentures do not require adhesives to be secured to the inside of the mouth. The removability allows for better oral hygiene and maintenance.
Additional advantages include aesthetic results, which in turn lead to increased confidence and self-esteem. A final advantage comes in the form of cost effectiveness, with overdentures being relatively more affordable for a larger demographic of people.
Viability for patients and potential candidates
Patients who are missing teeth in the bottom jaw, should consult a dentist to see if they are suitable candidates for this treatment. Dr John Ferguson can be contacted online or on (03) 9898 1877.
Wismeijer D1, Van Waas MA, Vermeeren JI, Mulder J, Calk W.
International Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. 1997 Aug;26(4):263-7.
Five-year clinical results of immediately loaded dental implants using mandibular overdentures.
Alfadda SA1, Attard NJ, David LA.
International Journal of Prosthodontics. 2009 Jul-Aug;22(4):368-73.