Implant Reconstruction:
Creation of Implant Assisted Dentures (Overdentures)

This is where it really gets interesting and creative! Many times, due to amount of remaining bone tissues in the jaws, the need for support of the tissues of the face, or just the desire to minimize the investment in a reconstruction, the placement of 6 to 8 implants may not be the recommended approach. To address these situations, we can place from 2 to 5 implants in the jaw, and then create an implant overdenture. Your final prosthesis is still, technically, a denture, but it behaves and functions (during chewing, speaking, singing, etc.) quite differently. Your new prosthesis clips firmly; very firmly, to an implant supported retention structure. You are able to take your prosthesis in and out; but when it's in, it can hold far tighter than any conventional denture, and even tighter than most partial dentures!

Once we have carefully designed your case and determined the ideal implant positions and angulations, the first step involves placing of the implants by your surgeon. Once the implants are placed by an Oral Surgeon or Periodontist, we provide you with a cushioned denture, made new, or made from your existing denture. During the bone bonding phase, which typically lasts 6 months in your lower jaw and 3-6 months in your upper jaw, you continue to wear your denture(s) as you normally have.

After the period of osseointegration (bone bonding) is completed, a second, very minor surgery is performed to attach connectors, called "abutments", to the implants. With the abutments in place, we usually create a custom gold / platinum casting in the shape of a bar that fits with precision to your abutments. This bar attaches to your abutments by means of gold screws. In order for your reconstruction to function properly over the years, the bar must fit absolutely perfectly. Once we are satisfied that we have a perfect fit, we create your Enhanced Denture, which has matching clips or snaps (or both) that are precision fitted to your gold bar. Even though it is removable, your completed reconstruction is "U"-shaped and has no metal or acrylic covering the roof of your mouth or interfering with your tongue. Many upper denture wearers who want a return to the natural feeling, and greatly improved taste sensations, of an "open palate" choose this approach to enhance their quality of life.

Your new teeth are firmly attached to your gold bar by means of the hidden clips and snaps. They stay in your mouth, just like real teeth, during your day to day activities. At night, you can remove them for cleaning. Since your teeth are supported by bone anchored implants, it's up to you whether or not you wish to sleep with them in or out. When you are wearing them, your teeth are comfortably attached to your jaw, and provide you with an incredibly improved quality of life for your enjoyment! We are doing less and less "bar" implant dentures in favor of individual implant snap attachments like the following:

This is a relatively economical way to make an implant overdenture. After careful planning, we place two or three implants in the areas where your "eye teeth" used to be. After the period of bone bonding, we attach simple gold snaps to the implants (instead of the traditional abutments), and create a denture (or sometimes, even modify your existing denture) which has matching snap fittings underneath. While this approach still allows some of the forces of chewing to put pressure on your gum tissues (like a regular denture), it does very effectively anchor down what used to be a loose denture. This is an ideal way to go if you want to make the smallest investment possible, while putting a final end to the discomfort and embarrassment of a lower denture which never seems to fit and is always "flopping around". We like to use the "Locator System".


Above left: Gold implant heads
Above right: Denture with snap fittings
Left: Finished Locator Implant Overdenture


Actual Case - Lower Locator Overdenture
All work performed and photographed by Dr. Nicholas Zacharczenko

If you're interested in looking in to your possibilities for replacing all the teeth (or your current denture) in your upper or lower jaw with this type of implant reconstruction, feel free to give us a call for your consultation. If you need us to take X-Rays for you, we will take as few as possible in order to provide you with an informed recommendation for your implant care.

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** Implant dentistry usually involves a professional team including your Prosthodontist, who plans and oversees the entire procedure, and an Oral Surgeon or Periodontist who puts the implant into your jawbone.

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©2005 Nicholas Zacharczenko, D.D.S., P.C. All rights reserved.