Dentures and Overdentures
What are they?
A denture is a restoration for edentulous patients (missing teeth) which fits inside the mouth. It consists of the denture base and the teeth portion. The base is usually made of acrylic and designed to look like gums. It fits over the gums and can use suction and adhesives to create a snug fit. The teeth portion is usually made of porcelain and are permanently connected to the base.
Overdenture or "Snappy Denture"
An overdenture (also known as a snappy denture) is almost the same as a standard denture except that it is able to snap on and off to two or more implants in the patient's mouth. This allows the denture to sit more securely in the mouth and reduces the need for adhesives. It can also reduce the amount of acrylic necessary, feeling lighter in the mouth. In addition, it also helps the user to feel more confident that the denture won't fall out unexpectedly.
Who should consider getting dentures or overdentures?
Generally, dentures are discouraged by most dentists unless they are the only viable option. For some people, their bone health or their financial situation makes dentures the best option. In this case, if a patient has sufficient bone and can also afford the implants required for an overdenture, this is generally a better option. The last resort is generally a standard denture.
Are there any drawbacks?
Dentures don't protect against bone loss. This means that over time, the shape of the mouth will begin to change as the bone deteriorates and the denture will stop fitting as well. This requires the user to use more adhesive in the mouth to try and secure the denture. When the fit gets really bad, the denture has to be reshaped by a dental lab or a new one must be made to fit the new shape of the mouth. All of these things add to the lifetime costs of using dentures.
For many people, the bulky acrylic in the mouth can cause a gag reflex. In addition, food can get trapped under the denture which becomes painful and causes sores. Maintenance of dentures can also be a frustration as they must be removed each night and soaked in a rinse and then placed each morning.
An overdenture also fails to protect from bone loss except in the locations of the implants. In addition, the snapping on and off of the overdenture over time can cause wear and tear on the portion of the implant where it connects. This wear and tear requires them to be replaced periodically.