implants for loose dentures

In modern dentistry implant procedures for denture wearers are considered to be simple and routine and can be a very effective way of restoring function and quality of life for patients who struggle with loose dentures.

This procedure involve placing dental implants into the jaw bone to provide a solid connection for your denture to clip onto holding it firmly in place

….this option is called an implant retained denture.

My lower denture is loose – what are my options?

Lower dentures sit on a thin ridge of bone which is constantly shrinking and over time there is less bone to support the denture and it becomes loose and unstable-this can be uncomfortable, create soreness and make eating difficult.

Loose lower dentures are a very common problem and in some countries a lower denture wouldn’t be prescribed without implants to support it.

implants for lower denture wearers can be life changing….

Locator implants for lower dentures (suitable for patients with medium bone loss)

The bone in your lower jaw is usually very strong and dense which means that most of the time only 2 locator implants are required to support a lower denture.

The implants are placed where your canine teeth used to be.

This implant option is a simple and cost effective way of holding a lower denture in place and restoring function.

Showing an implant retained lower denture with 2 locators – this option costs £4,500 and includes the denture – Finance available for this treatment

Locators and bar (for patients with severe bone loss)

When bone loss is severe and there is no bone at all to help support the lower denture we sometimes use 4 locators (instead of 2) or an implant bar which provides a better and more secure connection between the implants and the denture.

Showing an implant retained lower denture with bar- both this option of the 4 locator option costs £6,500 including the denture – Finance available for this treatment

My upper denture is loose-what are my options?

Unlike lower dentures (which have very little surface area) a well designed upper denture will usually stay in place and function successfully without implants.

When upper dentures aren’t retentive enough it’s usually for one or more of the following reasons;

  • badly designed or manufactured dentures will never be successful-dentures need to have an accurate fitting surface and correctly positioned teeth.
  • poor bone structure can cause retention problems-in particular bone loss or a shallow palate-in some problem cases our oral surgeon can remodel and improve poor bone structure with a procedure called an Alveoplasty.
  • a spongy palate is sometimes an issue- some patients have naturally spongy soft tissue on the roof of the mouth which causes an upper denture to be unstable and ‘spring away’ from the top of the mouth.
  • Lack of saliva always creates problems for denture wearers-saliva is required to seal the denture to the soft tissue and create cohesion-dentures are held in place by the surface tension created by molecules of saliva which are trapped in between the denture and the soft tissue. Without saliva there can’t be any suction.

When considering implants to retain an upper denture we will always look at addressing any of these issues first.

Locator implants for an upper denture

When implants are required we will usually need to use between 4  and 6 implants-this is because the bone in the upper jaw isn’t as strong or as dense as bone in the lower and more implants are needed to spread the load.

Showing an implant retained upper denture with 6 locator implants-this option costs £7,995 – Finance available for this treatment

Dolder bar option

An implant retained upper denture using locator implants will usually cover the palate (top of the mouth) for extra support.

For patients who can’t tolerate palatal coverage there is another option which involves linking the implants together in the mouth with a milled metal bar called a ‘dolder bar’.

A second milled bar is built into the denture which slides very securely onto the dolder bar creating a very positive connection without the need of the lateral support usually achieved by covering the roof of the mouth.

Showing an upper implant retained denture with dolder bar-this costs £9,500 – Finance available for this treatment


What is the process for implants?

The starting point for any implant treatment is to have a consultation and bone scan with one of our implant dentists.

We have our own CAT scanner which will provide us with a 3D image of your bone structure-we  can use this scan to plan your treatment and very accurately place your implants into the bone.

Dental implants have a thread and are screwed into the bone initially but this mechanical connection is soon replaced by a biological connection as your bone grows into the pitted titanium surface of the implants-this process is called the integration period.

After your bone has fused to the implants they are then strong enough to be connected to your denture.

How long does it take?

Once we have your scan we can usually plan your treatment and place your implants very quickly-it then takes around 12 weeks for your implants to integrate with your bone.

Will I be without my teeth during this period?

The answer is no-during the integration period you simply wear your denture over the top of the implants.

Does having implants hurt?

No-all the nerves associated with tooth pain are in your teeth which will already have been removed-implants are placed directly into bone which doesn’t have any pain receptors which means that having implants is a pain free procedure.

I’m a very nervous patient-can I have sedation?

Yes-we understand that for some patients any kind of dental treatment can be difficult and sedation is available for suitable patients.

What about cleaning and maintenance?

Because your dentures are removable your implants are easy to keep clean and brush around.

Locator implants have nylon inserts built into the denture-this is to protect the part of the implant which is fixed in the mouth and would be difficult to replace.

The nylon inserts are designed to wear out and  need replacing every 2-3 years.

Replacing the inserts is easy to do and most patients combine new inserts with routine re-lining which is still required.