Overdentures on Long Island
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It is a truth universally acknowledged (thank you Jane Austin) that a lower denture is difficult to stabilize and difficult for the individual to wear comfortably.  In my office I work hard to provide a lower denture that fits well, functions well and is comfortable. But if a person has excessive bone loss or strong musculature, the lower denture may be a problem.  Today the standard of care for a person without lower teeth is really the implant overdenture.  Minimally we place two implants in the lower jaw, let them integrate with the bone for several months, then attach what are called Locators. A housing is then added to the denture base that snaps into the Locators. Since the denture snaps into the Locators, the denture is very stable. It takes some strength to remove! No more wobbly lower denture, no more denture adhesive!

I always discuss the advantages of the overdenture and let the patient make the decision. The implants do add to the cost of the denture service. Sometimes people elect to try to wear the denture and add the implants later, if needed. Often cost is a factor. But when we do add the implants, the “wow” factor is amazing. People love the overdenture and it is a life-changer.

Betty had been wearing dentures for many years and had significant bone loss. She was ready for an overdenture. She had bone grafts, then healing, then placement of the implants, then more healing until we placed the Locators and housing. She is thrilled. For the first time, she has a comfortable, secure lower denture.  Listen to what Betty has to say about her overdenture on our youtube channel.

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A model of four implants on the lower jaw showing how a denture fits over the implants.

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Look at all of the calculus (tartar) and plaque on the inside of these front teeth (top photo).  See how we removed the deposits with an in-office scaling and polishing (bottom photo).  Calculus like this can build up very quickly with improper homecare.  The deposits on the teeth attract harmful bacteria and their acidic byproducts.  This causes irritation and inflammation of the gum tissue.  See how red and swollen the gums are in the top photo. These gums will bleed as soon as touched.  The bone is also attacked and begins to resorb, or dissolve.  The tooth then has less bony support and, in time, the tooth will loosen and fall out.

The bottom photo was taken on the same visit after scaling and polishing. The gums look healthier – less red and swollen.  If caught in time, if the patient develops meticulous brushing and flossing habits,  if he returns for regular dental maintenance visits, the gums and bone will heal and he will keep his teeth.  If not, he will be a candidate for implants or a denture.  Don’t let this happen to you!

 

Denise’s teeth were severely decayed, and we determined that they could not be saved.  We elected to remove her remaining teeth and replace them with an immediate denture.  This is a two visit procedure.  We take custom impressions. The immediate dentures are then fabricated by our fabulous denture laboratory. The teeth can then be extracted, and the immediate denture is inserted the same day – thus “immediate.”  The patient is NEVER without teeth. This takes careful planning!

The healing process then takes several months because the bone and soft tissues remodel where the teeth were extracted.  As the healing progresses, we reline the immediate denture so it fits the altered tissue.  We will see you for a reline as often as needed – sometimes once or twice, sometimes more.  Once the tissues are relatively stable, we will take custom impressions of the altered tissue and fabricate a new denture that will look great, function superbly and be very comfortable.  How good is that?

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