For well over a century, complete dentures have been the traditional standard of care for edentulism with its focus on replacing lost tissues bone and gum tissues), though not necessarily function. Studies indicate that most people are more satisfied with their upper (maxillary) denture as compared to the lower (mandibular) one. And at least half of all lower denture wearers will not be satisfied with their retention (stability) or comfort.
The original goal of implant treatment was to help patients avoid dentures altogether by treating their impairment with a non-removable or “fixed” prosthesis (tooth replacement device) supported by dental implants. Dental implants replace the root parts of teeth that are anchored in the bone, below gum level, allowing attachment of the crown portions of teeth – the visible part of teeth you can see. And while this approach has helped many people, not all patients are candidates for this treatment. Many times it does not address all the deficiencies caused by tooth loss, or satisfy cosmetic needs; and for some, it is economically unrealistic.
Fortunately, there is another option to dentures or complete implants – the lower jaw implant overdenture (an implant retained denture). In a sense, it is a combination of both a denture and dental implants. Two/four dental implants, strategically placed to support a “traditional” lower denture. The denture is then modified to fit on this new “platform” and placed over the implants – hence the term “overdenture.”
Studies over the past decade have continued to demonstrate the enormous benefits of lower jaw overdenture treatment. Results have led to the development of what is called the McGill Consensus Statement on Overdentures (May 2002) which states “As a minimal treatment objective: the mandibular (lower jaw) two-implant overdenture (as opposed to a conventional denture) should be considered as a first choice standard of care for the edentulous patient.”