A denture being polished

What is Overdenture?

Last updated: March 12, 2024

What is an overdenture?

An overdenture is a type of dental prosthesis that fits over a small number of remaining natural teeth or dental implants in the mouth. Unlike a conventional denture that rests directly on the gums and underlying bone, an overdenture uses the natural teeth or implants as anchors to provide better stability and retention.

The primary difference between an overdenture and a regular denture lies in the way they are supported within the mouth. While traditional dentures rely solely on the shape of the gums and underlying bone for support, overdentures utilize the remaining natural teeth or strategically placed dental implants to help secure the prosthesis in place. This can offer a more secure and comfortable fit for the wearer, reducing issues such as slippage or discomfort often associated with conventional dentures.

Not everyone may be a suitable candidate for an overdenture. The suitability for an overdenture is typically determined by factors such as the number and condition of remaining natural teeth, the health of the gums and jawbone, and the overall oral health of the individual. Your dentist will assess your specific situation and oral health needs to determine if an overdenture is the right treatment option for you.

The process of fitting and placing an overdenture involves several steps. If natural teeth are being used to support the overdenture, any necessary dental work, such as root canal treatment or periodontal therapy, will be performed to ensure the teeth are healthy and strong enough to support the prosthesis. In cases where dental implants are used to support the overdenture, the implants will be surgically placed into the jawbone, allowed to integrate and heal, and then prosthetic attachments will be added to support the overdenture.

Once the supporting structures are in place, a mold or impression of your mouth will be taken to create a custom-fitted overdenture that will be designed to fit comfortably and securely over the remaining teeth or implants. Your dentist will make any necessary adjustments to ensure a proper fit and bite alignment, allowing you to eat, speak, and smile with confidence.

Caring for an overdenture is similar to caring for natural teeth or regular dentures. Regular brushing, flossing, and routine dental check-ups are essential to maintain the health of your remaining teeth, gums, and supporting structures. Your dentist may recommend specific oral hygiene products or cleaning techniques to help keep your overdenture clean and in good condition.

As with any dental treatment, there may be potential complications associated with an overdenture. These can include issues such as sore spots, discomfort, or adjustments needed to ensure a proper fit. It's important to communicate with your dentist if you experience any difficulties or concerns with your overdenture so that appropriate measures can be taken to address them.

The cost of an overdenture can vary depending on factors such as the complexity of the case, the materials used, and whether dental insurance coverage is available. Many dental insurance plans may provide some coverage for overdentures, but it's important to check with your insurance provider to understand the extent of your coverage and any out-of-pocket expenses you may incur.

Overall, an overdenture can be a beneficial treatment option for individuals seeking a more stable and comfortable dental prosthesis. By utilizing the remaining natural teeth or dental implants for support, an overdenture can offer improved function, aesthetics, and quality of life for those in need of prosthetic tooth replacement. Your dentist can provide more information and guidance on whether an overdenture is the right choice for you based on your individual oral health needs and treatment goals.

How is an overdenture different from a regular denture?

An overdenture is a type of dental prosthesis that is designed to fit over a patient's remaining natural teeth, dental implants, or a combination of both. It is different from a regular denture in that it provides more stability and retention due to its attachment to the underlying teeth or implants.

One of the key distinctions between an overdenture and a conventional denture is that an overdenture is not solely reliant on suction and the shape of the jawbone for support. By utilizing the remaining natural teeth or implants as anchors, an overdenture offers improved stability and functionality compared to a traditional denture. This can result in a more comfortable and reliable fit for the patient, reducing issues such as slippage or movement during speaking or eating.

The process of fitting and placing an overdenture typically involves several steps. Firstly, a thorough evaluation of the patient's oral health and remaining teeth or implants is conducted to determine if an overdenture is a suitable treatment option. If deemed appropriate, any necessary extractions or preparatory procedures are carried out.

Next, impressions of the mouth are taken to create a custom-fit overdenture that will sit securely over the remaining teeth or implants. The overdenture is designed to provide optimal comfort and function while restoring the patient's ability to bite, chew, and speak effectively. The fitting process may require multiple appointments to ensure the overdenture is adjusted and positioned correctly for the individual's unique oral anatomy.

Caring for an overdenture is similar to caring for natural teeth and traditional dentures. Regular oral hygiene practices such as daily brushing, flossing, and routine dental check-ups are essential to maintain the health of the remaining teeth or implants supporting the overdenture. Proper cleaning and maintenance of the overdenture itself are also crucial to prevent issues such as plaque buildup, gum inflammation, or deterioration of the prosthetic.

Patients considering an overdenture may have questions about potential complications, such as pressure on the underlying teeth or implants, adjustments needed over time, or the overall success rate of the procedure. Consulting with a dental professional experienced in overdenture placement can provide valuable insights and guidance to address any concerns and ensure the best possible outcome for the patient.

Am I a good candidate for an overdenture?

Determining whether a patient is a good candidate for an overdenture is an important decision that involves several factors. An overdenture is a type of removable denture that is supported by dental implants. It offers greater stability and retention compared to traditional dentures that rely solely on the gums for support. Here are some key considerations when assessing if someone is a suitable candidate for an overdenture:

  1. Dental Health: One of the primary factors in determining candidacy for an overdenture is the overall health of the patient's teeth and gums. If a patient has severely decayed, damaged, or loose teeth that cannot be restored, an overdenture may be a viable option to restore their oral health and functionality.

  2. Bone Density: Adequate bone density is crucial for the successful placement and integration of dental implants to support an overdenture. A preliminary assessment, often through dental imaging such as X-rays, will help the dentist evaluate the quality and quantity of available bone in the jaw.

  3. General Health: The patient's general health plays a significant role in determining candidacy for dental implants and overdentures. Conditions such as uncontrolled diabetes, autoimmune disorders, or certain medications may impact the body's ability to heal after implant surgery.

  4. Commitment to Oral Care: Maintaining good oral hygiene is essential for the long-term success of an overdenture. Patients considering this option should be committed to regular dental visits, proper cleaning of the overdenture, and maintaining overall oral health to prevent complications.

  5. Patient Expectations: A thorough discussion with the dentist about the patient's expectations, lifestyle, and goals is essential in determining if an overdenture is the right choice. Understanding the limitations and benefits of overdentures will help set realistic expectations for the outcome.

  6. Cost and Insurance Coverage: Patients should also consider the financial aspects of getting an overdenture. While dental insurance may cover a portion of the cost, it's important to discuss the financial implications and potential out-of-pocket expenses involved in the treatment.

In conclusion, the decision of whether a patient is a good candidate for an overdenture depends on a combination of factors related to dental health, bone quality, overall health, commitment to oral care, expectations, and financial considerations. A thorough evaluation and consultation with a dentist specializing in implant dentistry will help determine the suitability of an overdenture for each individual patient.

How is an overdenture fitted and placed?

When it comes to fitting and placing an overdenture, it is essential to understand the process to feel more at ease and informed throughout your dental treatment journey.

The process of fitting and placing an overdenture typically involves several steps. Initially, your dentist will conduct a thorough examination of your oral health to determine whether an overdenture is the most suitable option for you. This examination may include X-rays, impressions, and other diagnostic tests to assess the condition of your remaining teeth and gums.

Following the assessment, any remaining teeth that will be used to support the overdenture will undergo any necessary treatment, such as fillings, root canals, or extractions. Your dentist will then take precise measurements and impressions of your mouth to ensure a custom fit for your overdenture.

Once the overdenture is fabricated, it will be placed in your mouth for a preliminary fitting. Your dentist will assess the fit, comfort, and aesthetics of the overdenture and make any necessary adjustments to ensure it feels natural and functions properly. This may involve trimming, shaping, or polishing the overdenture to achieve the desired result.

After the final adjustments have been made, your overdenture will be securely attached to the supporting structures in your mouth. The method of attachment can vary depending on the type of overdenture you receive - it may be anchored to dental implants, retained by precision attachments, or rely on natural tooth roots for support.

Throughout the fitting and placing process, your dentist will provide guidance on how to care for your overdenture properly. This may include instructions on cleaning, maintenance, and regular dental check-ups to ensure the longevity and effectiveness of your overdenture.

It is important to communicate openly with your dental provider during the fitting and placing of your overdenture. Feel free to ask any questions or express any concerns you may have to ensure that you are comfortable and confident with your new overdenture.

By understanding the steps involved in fitting and placing an overdenture, you can approach the process with knowledge and clarity, ultimately leading to a successful outcome and improved oral health and function.

Will an overdenture affect how I eat or speak?

An overdenture is a type of removable dental prosthesis that fits over a few remaining natural teeth or dental implants in the mouth. Unlike a traditional denture that rests directly on the gums, an overdenture is designed to be more stable and secure due to its attachment to the remaining teeth or implants.

When it comes to eating and speaking with an overdenture, many patients find that their experience is significantly improved compared to a conventional denture. The added stability provided by the remaining teeth or implants helps to prevent the overdenture from shifting or moving around while eating. This increased stability can give patients more confidence when enjoying a meal, as they don't have to worry as much about the overdenture slipping out of place.

Similarly, the improved stability of an overdenture can also enhance speech for many patients. The secure fit of the overdenture can help prevent speech impediments that may occur with traditional dentures that move around in the mouth. With an overdenture, patients may find it easier to pronounce words clearly and confidently.

It's important to note that the experience of eating and speaking with an overdenture can vary from person to person. Some individuals may still encounter challenges with certain foods or may require some time to adjust to speaking with their overdure. It's essential to communicate any concerns or discomfort to your dentist or prosthodontist so they can make necessary adjustments to improve your experience.

Additionally, practicing good oral hygiene and caring for your overdenture properly can also contribute to your comfort and overall success with the prosthesis. Regular dental check-ups and cleanings are essential to ensure that your remaining teeth or implants supporting the overdenture remain healthy and stable. Proper cleaning and maintenance of the overdenture itself can help prevent issues like plaque buildup, which can impact the fit and function of the prosthesis.

In conclusion, an overdenture can offer improved stability and comfort when eating and speaking compared to a traditional denture, thanks to its attachment to remaining teeth or implants. While adjustments and adaptation may be needed initially, many patients find that an overdenture enhances their overall quality of life by providing a more secure and natural-feeling solution for missing teeth.

How do I care for an overdenture?

Caring for an overdenture is crucial to maintaining good oral health and ensuring the longevity of the appliance. Here are some important tips on how to properly care for your overdenture:

  1. Daily Cleaning: Just like natural teeth, overdentures require daily cleaning to prevent the buildup of plaque and bacteria. It is recommended to brush the overdenture at least twice a day using a soft-bristled toothbrush and a non-abrasive denture cleanser. Avoid using regular toothpaste as it may be too harsh and abrasive for the denture material.

  2. Soaking: Overnight soaking can help remove stains and loosen any plaque buildup on the overdenture. You can use a denture cleaning solution or a mixture of water and vinegar to soak the overdenture. Make sure to rinse the overdenture thoroughly before reinserting it into your mouth.

  3. Handling with Care: When cleaning or handling the overdenture, make sure to do so over a soft towel or a sink filled with water to prevent damage if it falls. Avoid using hot water as it can distort the shape of the denture.

  4. Regular Check-ups: It is essential to visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and adjustments of the overdenture. Your dentist can ensure that the overdenture fits properly and make any necessary modifications to improve comfort and functionality.

  5. Proper Storage: When not wearing the overdenture, storing it properly is important to maintain its shape and integrity. Keep the overdenture in a clean container filled with water or a denture cleaning solution to prevent it from drying out.

  6. Avoid Harmful Substances: Do not use bleach or other harsh chemicals to clean your overdenture as they can damage the denture material. Additionally, avoid biting on hard objects or using your teeth to open packages, as this can put unnecessary strain on the overdenture and lead to damage.

  7. Regular Oral Hygiene: While wearing an overdenture, it is important to maintain good oral hygiene by brushing your gums, tongue, and any remaining natural teeth to prevent gum disease and infections.

By following these care tips and maintaining regular dental visits, you can ensure that your overdenture stays clean, comfortable, and functional for years to come. If you have any concerns or questions about caring for your overdenture, do not hesitate to consult your dentist for personalized advice and guidance.

Are there any potential complications with an overdenture?

Complications with Overdentures:

Overdentures, like any dental treatment, can come with potential complications. However, awareness and proper care can help minimize the risks associated with overdentures. Here are some common complications that patients may encounter:

  1. Sore Spots: One of the most common issues patients may face initially is the development of sore spots. These are localized areas of irritation on the gums that can be caused by pressure points from the overdenture. It is essential to communicate any discomfort to your dentist or prosthodontist so that adjustments can be made.

  2. Loose Fit: Over time, due to changes in the jawbone and gum tissues, overdentures may become loose. A loose fit can lead to discomfort, difficulty chewing, and speech issues. Regular dental visits are crucial to ensure that the overdenture fits properly, and adjustments can be made as needed.

  3. Gum Irritation: Some patients may experience gum irritation, especially if proper oral hygiene practices are not followed. Food debris and bacteria can accumulate between the overdenture and the gums, leading to inflammation and discomfort. Maintaining good oral hygiene by cleaning the overdenture and gums regularly can help prevent gum irritation.

  4. Bone Resorption: When natural teeth are lost, the jawbone can start to deteriorate over time, a process known as bone resorption. While overdentures help preserve the bone structure by providing stimulation, bone resorption can still occur to some extent. Regular dental check-ups are essential to monitor the bone health and ensure the overdenture continues to fit properly.

  5. Speech Issues: Adjusting to speaking with an overdenture may take some time. In the initial stages, patients may experience speech difficulties such as lisping or slurred speech. Speech therapy and practicing speaking aloud can help overcome these challenges.

  6. Allergic Reactions: In some rare cases, patients may develop allergic reactions to the materials used in the overdenture. Symptoms may include oral discomfort, soreness, or swelling. If you suspect an allergic reaction, seek dental care immediately.

  7. Breakage or Damage: Overdentures, like natural teeth, can be prone to breakage or damage if not handled carefully. Avoid chewing on hard foods or using excessive force when cleaning the overdenture to prevent fractures.

In conclusion, while overdentures offer many benefits, it is essential to be aware of potential complications and take proactive steps to prevent or address them promptly. Maintaining good oral hygiene, attending regular dental visits, and following the dentist's instructions are crucial in ensuring the long-term success of overdentures.

Does dental insurance typically cover the cost of an overdenture?

Dental insurance coverage for overdentures can vary depending on the specific insurance plan. In general, dental insurance providers may offer some coverage for overdentures, but the extent of coverage and associated costs can differ significantly among different plans.

When considering getting an overdenture and evaluating the insurance coverage, it is essential to check with your insurance provider beforehand to understand what is included in your plan. Some insurance plans may cover a portion of the cost of the overdenture, while others may provide coverage for specific aspects of the treatment, such as extractions or dental implant procedures that may be necessary to support the overdenture.

Before proceeding with getting an overdenture, it is recommended to review your dental insurance policy carefully and consult with your dentist or the dental office's insurance coordinator to clarify any questions regarding coverage or potential out-of-pocket expenses. Understanding the financial aspect of the treatment can help you make informed decisions about your dental care.

In some cases, dental insurance providers may categorize overdentures as a major dental procedure, which could impact the coverage and any associated copayments or coinsurance amounts. Additionally, some insurance plans may have waiting periods or limitations on coverage for certain dental treatments, including overdentures.

If your dental insurance does not cover the full cost of the overdenture or if you do not have dental insurance, it is advisable to discuss potential payment options or financing plans with your dentist or the dental office administration. Many dental practices offer flexible payment arrangements or financing options to help patients manage the cost of dental treatments, including overdentures.

Moreover, some dental discount plans or savings programs may offer reduced rates for dental services, including overdentures, for members who participate in these programs. These alternative options can be beneficial for individuals seeking cost-effective ways to access quality dental care, including the placement of overdentures.

Ultimately, communicating openly with your dentist, understanding your dental insurance coverage, exploring potential financing options, and discussing any concerns about the cost of overdentures can help you navigate the financial aspects of the treatment and make confident decisions about your oral health and dental care.

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