MINI-IMPLANT SUPPORTED DENTURES
Many upper full dentures are fairly stable and have good seal, but many are somewhat wobbly and lack seal, and people end up using denture adhesive to keep the denture in place.
Lower dentures are usually much worse. They are rarely very stable, and almost none have seal, so a large percentage of lower denture wearers use denture adhesive, and about 25%-30% leave them out most of the time, and put them in for special occasions.
Mini-implants can change that dramatically. Mini-implants are similar to traditional implants, but they are shorter and have a smaller diameter. They are also much easier to place in the mouth, and are much less expensive.
The titanium implants are started with a pilot drill that makes a very small diameter hole in the bone about half to 2/3 the length of the implant. The implant is then screwed into the bone to a point where the round knob at the top of the implant protrudes from the gum. People expect this to be painful, but there are generally no nerves in the interior of the bone, but only nerves on the fibrous periosteum surrounding the bone. The periosteum is anesthetized with a small amount of anesthetic, and the rest is usually pain-free. There is usually very little or no post surgical pain involved with mini-implants.
In most cases, if the patient has already been wearing an adequate denture, it can be prepared to engage the knobs on top of the implants. The interior of the denture is ground out enough to clear the implant knobs, and then a soft reline material is placed in the prepared denture and placed over the soft tissue and the implants. The soft reline sets up and engages the implants, and gives it a remarkable amount of stability. Later, semi-flexible "O" rings are often incorporated into the denture that snap over the implant knobs.
Lower dentures are most frequently fitted with implants, as lower dentures are usually the most troublesome. At Clark Family Dental, we usually use four implants on the lower ridge, and four to six implants on the upper ridge, depending on bone density and surrounding anatomy in the bone.