How many implants are needed for a lower denture?

By February 17, 2015 November 30th, 2018 Dental Implants, Dentures

Surveys indicate that 80% of patients who have a lower denture are not happy with they way it fits or functions. A mandibular denture can lift when you speak or chew, or cause pain in the molar areas.

Although as few as two implants can be used to stabilize the denture, the number of recommended implants may vary, depending on the issues you are experiencing.

  • Dentures that lift when you speak or chew – This problem can occur due to lack of jawbone density or insufficient seal of the denture against your jawbone. Often, two dental implants between the premolar and canine area are sufficient. Your implant dentist will ensure proper spacing of the implants to prevent the denture from tipping and coming off the implants.
  • Burning or sharp pain when you bite – As the jawbone shrinks due to missing teeth, the tooth nerves can slowly move to the bone ridge. Sensitivity commonly occurs in the nerves in the area where premolar teeth existed. Biting puts pressure on the nerves and causes radiating pain.

    In this case, stabilizing the denture with implants is not enough. The tooth nerves need to be alleviated of the pressure that the denture is placing on them. At least four dental implants will be needed to accomplish this. Careful planning and placement is required to ensure there are adequate bone density, ideal placement, and no pressure on the nerves. Some dentists recommend a bar-retained denture. The customized bar will extend over the nerve-sensitive area and alleviate your pain. Some patients hesitate to receive a bar-retained denture because it is more expensive than receiving implants alone.

Finding a skilled implant dentist is important to the success of stabilizing your denture and addressing the cause of your slippage or pain. We recommend that you seek two or three opinions from experienced prosthodontists. An examination and diagnostic studies are required to determine the best treatment options for your case. In advance of your consultations, prepare questions and compare notes. If you need financing or a payment plan, you can ask each prosthodontist about his or her financial arrangements.

This post is sponsored by Naperville board-certified prosthodontist Dr. Anthony LaVacca.