A set of well-made dentures can be a real godsend for people who have lost a substantial number of teeth, but even the most well-crafted set of conventional dentures can be difficult to keep stable during every day use. Denture adhesives and retaining strips can help stabilise your dentures to a certain extent, but can be messy and difficult to use.
There is, however, a type of denture that can be counted on to remain in place in almost any circumstances. Overdentures are a specific type of denture and are not suitable for every dental patient, but can convey a number of advantages to patients who choose them over conventional dentures.
What are overdentures?
Unlike conventional dentures, which sit flush with the gum line left behind by your missing teeth and are held in place with adhesives, overdentures require no adhesives at all. Instead, they are anchored in place in one of three ways:
- The overdenture is slotted over your remaining natural teeth, and held in place by the roots and gums of your remaining teeth.
- Implants are installed in the gum line before the overdenture is inserted, allowing the overdenture to be screwed directly into the jawbone like a conventional dental implant.
- A combination of natural teeth and installed implants are used to hold the denture in place; this approach is generally taken when larger overdentures are fitted.
What are the advantages of choosing overdentures over conventional dentures?
Though overdentures may differ in how they are held in place inside your mouth, they all possess the same advantages over conventional dentures:
- No adhesive required: Anchoring the overdenture in place with your natural teeth or jawbone-mounted implants precludes the need to use denture adhesives, saving you time, money and probably a significant amount of frustration. No adhesives also makes your dentures easier to clean, with no time wasted scrubbing stubborn adhesive deposits away.
- Increased stability: Even a well-adhered regular denture cannot match the solid staiblity of a well-anchored overdenture. This increased stability can make your dentures feel far more natural to use, making activities such as talking and eating feel more comfortable.
- Increased comfort: The incredible stability of overdentures prevents sections of the denture from rubbing against exposed gum tissue and mucous membranes, reducing instances of pressure sores, lacerations and other problems caused by overly-mobile dentures.
- Diminished gum loss: Using conventional dentures for an extended period of time can accelerate the loss of gum tissue normally associated with tooth loss, especially if the denture is unstable and abrades against the newly-exposed gum. Overdentures do not create additional pressure on exposed gum lines, helping to reduce the rate at which your gums recede.
- Diminished bone loss: Losing teeth can also cause the bones of your jaws to shrink and weaken, as the loss of stimulation provided by the absent tooth prevents the bone from renewing itself. Overdentures are able to replicate this natural stimulation by placing pressure on bone-mounted implants and/or the roots of your remaining natural teeth, dramatically slowing bone loss and preventing noticeable changes in the shape of your face.