Suppose you had lost all of your upper or lower teeth. What are the options?
1. The simplest, least costly but most prone to problems, is the conventional denture.
2. An improvement is the overdenture in which the denture snaps into two or more implant attachments. See my blog entry and video of April 14, 2015.
3. Even better is the hybrid denture. For the hybrid denture, several implants, (typically six) are placed in the arch. A prosthesis that is screwed into the implants is constructed. It is a fixed prosthesis as far as the patient is concerned, but the dentist can remove it for maintenance. Thus we call it a hybrid, or fixed/removable.
The hybrid is a wonderful service. The teeth function like natural teeth. However the hybrid and surrounding tissues need to be kept clean. Calculus and plaque can lead to gingival inflammation and peri-implantitis with eventual loss of the implants. I instruct the patient to use a water pic from outside and inside, as well as running floss under the hybrid denture and use of an end tufted toothbrush. The patient also needs to return to the office at six month intervals so we can professionally clean the hybrid and remove it as necessary. The acrylic teeth can also chip or fracture. We supply a temporary hybrid so the patient can wear this if the denture needs to be repaired. Acrylic teeth may have to be repaired in five to seven years. If the hybrid opposes natural teeth, we may also make a night guard to protect the hybrid from breakage.
Alan had upper and lower hybrids that were made seven years ago in another office. The teeth had chipped and they were heavily stained as well as being a vehicle for heavy calculus and plaque. I removed the hybrids and constructed new ones. This took several visits but look how wonderful he looks now! He is more comfortable and can function better too. He promises to return regularly. He went back to Florida for the winter, his spare hybrids in hand.
Old hybrids: chipped and stained teeth