The Ball & Socket Over-denture
An Implant Supported Denture
“Dentures by themselves do not function like natural teeth.” The average denture wearer only wears the upper denture 60% of the time and the lower denture 20% of the time. Many do not wear them at all, because dentures are unstable and lack retention. We call the lower denture a “floater,” because it floats in the mouth, rather than being securely anchored in place. For this reason, denture wearers cannot eat the same quality of foods that they enjoyed with natural teeth. This often results in poor nutrition and poor digestion, which can lead to poor health.

Implant supported dentures provide tremendous support and fixation so eating, speaking and smiling is more comfortable.For patients with loose lower dentures, this implant supported option is a defeintly life-line

Implant-supported overdentures have been a common treatment for edentulous patients for the past 20 years and predictably achieve good clinical results. Many patients, especially those who are uncomfortable with dentures, enjoy the additional retention and support implants provide for their dentures Usually, the dental implants for overdentures are placed in the anterior region of the mouth due to the fact that most of the time, there is more bone in this area, even if teeth have been missing for a long period of time. Similarly, a lack of vital structures such as nerves in the front of the mouth means that there is less likelihood of the dental implants impinging on any vital structures. We recommend as little as two-four  implant fixtures to hold the denture so that it no longer “floats” around causing soreness and difficulty with chewing. Each implant in the jawbone holds a metal attachment that fits into another attachment on the denture. The attachments on the implants are ball-shaped (“male” attachments), and they fit into sockets (“female” attachments) on the denture. Because they fit over the implants we call them over-dentures. These dentures are removable and have to be taken out after meals and at night and morning for cleaning. You treat these dentures like regular dentures.

This option is great for patients who wish to have the benefits of dental implants but don’t necessarily wish to go through bone grafting and gum grafting surgeries that is usually required for multiple single implants or do not wish to incur the time and costs involved with having multiple dental implants. Numerous studies show cumulative success rates for all implant supported overdentures at 95.4 percent, with implant-supported overdentures placed in the mandible enjoying a slightly higher success rate than implant-supported overdentures placed in the maxilla
Procedures involved in an over denture are very similar to those described for full dentures, except for the additional preparation required for the attachment.
1. Before the procedure
The dentist determines what needs to be done and prepares both himself and the patient for the coming treatment procedure.
2. Implant Placement
The first step is installing dental implants to replace the lost tooth roots. In this case, two implants are used. Four implants may be placed in cases for added overdenture retention. Temporary dentures may be worn that enable you to eat and function like normal while waiting for the permanent overdenture to be installed.
3.Attaching the bridge to the implants
A ball is then attached on top of the implants and the overdentures installed over. The ball acts as a clip that enables the overdentures to snap securely in place.
4. End result
The removable overdentures are securely clipped on top of the implant with the ball giving the strength and stability that allows you to better than with conventional dentures.