Denture permanently fixed on screws is supported by 2-4 dental screws per jaw, two times smaller than the minimum number of screws with implants in one jaw or nearly three times less than the optimal number of screws for implants in one jaw. Also, this type of denture is very easy to maintain and is less pricey than implants.
These advantages are countered by less-than-natural feeling and a bit awkward positioning on the lower jaw. Annoyances such as fragments of food being stuck in denture may occur. Patients who had their natural teeth until recently are sometimes not fully satisfied with such dentures, and it takes time to get accommodated, but the patients who were using simple removable dentures are always very happy with implant anchored dentures.
The procedure for making implant anchored denture is relatively simple. The ideal number of screw on each jaw is four, but often patients ask for denture on three implants, which is also safe. During the first phase of denture assembling, two to four screws are inserted in each jaw, they are stitched, and then the patient is sent home to rest, until the screws are integrated with the bone. When screws are inserted into the upper jaw, the minimum rest period is four months, and when screws are inserted into the lower jaw, the rest minimum rest period is three months.
In the second phase the top of the screws are opened, so-called locators are attached to them, and rings are inserted into a denture. These rings are then connected to the locators. Patients usually carry their old dentures on the new location for a few months, and then they switch to their new denture, but in some cases they can take their new denture as soon as the screws are firm, but that will force the dentist to make a denture before he/she sees the final positions of the locators.
We have already mentioned that owners of dentures are free of all the cares concerning maintaining of their dentures, because if it happens that one screw becomes loose, the denture will still be stable on remaining locators, even if there is only three of them. Also, it is much easier to repair a denture anchored on implants than to repair a complete implant work, as it is much more stationary.
Still, all these advantage of anchored dentures are balanced by a significantly greater comfort provided by complete implant treatment, and a better functionality offered by the implant work. On the other hand, it is relatively easy to switch from anchored denture to implants, as more than half of the screws needed for full implant treatment are already in place.
Until recently it was mostly so, but not anymore. It is true that if it is established, after reviewing of 3D orthopan, that the jaw bone is inadequate to receive 6-8 dental implants, a denture might be the most obvious recommendation. But advances in science are now enabling us to place implants in places previously considered risky, and – even more important – procedures of bone replacement have been also vastly improved. It is a fairly simple procedure to prepare the jaw for any implant treatment now by adding some artificial bone, which just slightly offsets the price.