Traditionally, a full denture is held in the mouth by resting over the gums and forming a seal with the gums. The denture is made of an acrylic plastic base that is colored to look like gum tissue, and it supports a full set of prosthetic teeth. This type of dental appliance is removed for cleaning and while asleep at night. It is often called a “full removable denture” or “overdenture.”
It is very common for a removable overdenture to slip out of place while eating and speaking. That is why I discuss with my patients the alternative of a removable denture supported on dental implants or a fixed (not removable by the patient) hybrid denture that is retained on dental implants.
There are several advantages of a hybrid denture. First, it is highly stable. It does not cover the soft palate of the mouth so eating is more enjoyable. Biting strength is nearly fully or fully 100% restored so you can eat all of your favorite foods. The denture never slips because it is firmly attached to your jawbone. And because the dental implants stimulate bone growth, the jawbone maintains much its bone dentistry and shape, so your facial structure is maintained.
Hybrid dentures are called “All-on-4” because edentulous patients (patients without teeth) can have an upper or lower overdenture fixed on as few as four dental implants. Rarely do bone enhancement procedures need to be performed prior to All-on-4 implant placement. In fact, oftentimes, a precision-fit hybrid denture can be delivered in the same appointment as implant placement.
Hybrid dentures are worn 24 hours a day and are brushed and flossed much like natural teeth. When you visit us for your regular appointments, I will remove the denture for cleaning and examine your gum and bone tissue. If you have difficulty cleaning your denture, we will provide in-office cleaning on a more frequent basis until you become proficient at it. The good news is that a hybrid denture fixed on dental implants will last much longer (with proper care) than a removable denture.
If you are interested in this alternative to removable dentures, I will be happy to evaluate the appropriateness of the All-on-4 implant procedure for your oral health circumstances.