Your dentist will conduct an initial consultation to determine your suitability for implant-retained dentures. They will also perform an x-ray to assess the condition of your jaw and ensure it is dense enough to support dental implants.
What’s the difference between implant-retained dentures and implant-supported dentures?
Implant-retained dentures are permanently secured to the dental implants and can only be removed by a dentist. Conversely, patients with implant-supported dentures can insert and remove them as needed for cleaning and inspection.
How long does it take to fit implant-retained dentures?
The length of time an implant-retained denture fitting takes depends on the method you and your dentist choose.
In some cases, you may require two separate appointments for the implantation — one to fit the implants and another after 3 to 6 months to make small incisions in your gums, exposing the tops of the implants ahead of your denture fitting.
Suppose there will be an extended period between fitting your dental implants and receiving your implant-retained dentures. In that case, your dentist will provide you with temporary dentures to wear in the meantime.
Using a more advanced procedure, your dentist may be able to fit your dental implants and support apparatus for your dentures in a single session, drastically shortening the duration of your treatment.
Discuss your preferences and goals with your dentist. They will work with you to create a treatment schedule that meets all your needs.
What can I expect if I choose to go ahead with implant-retained dentures?
If your dentist determines you are a suitable candidate for implant-retained dentures following your initial assessment and x-rays, you will have any remaining natural teeth extracted.
Then your dentist will place your dental implants — usually 2 to 4 — evenly spaced out along your jaw.
Your dentist will administer a local anaesthetic to minimise discomfort during this first appointment.
Following the initial implantation, your implants need time to integrate with your jaw. Osseointegration typically takes between 3 and 6 months.
Once your implants are secure, you will attend a follow-up appointment, where your dentist will make small incisions in your gums to expose the tops of the implants, again under a local anaesthetic.
At this point, your dentist can fix your implant-supported denture to the implants, completing the process.
Is the procedure painful?
Thanks to the modern anaesthetics we use to numb the area before we begin, you should not feel discomfort during the procedure.
You may experience some tenderness in the days following your implant fitting, which can be managed with over-the-counter pain relief.
How soon can I start eating on my new dentures?
You should be able to start eating immediately after your dentist has fitted your implant-retained dentures.
They will advise you on how to proceed following your fitting on an individual, case-by-case basis.