News & Press
John C. Chao, D.D.S., M.A.G.D
Faculty, USC School of Dentistry
New Instant Implants Stabilize Dentures Immediately
The FDA has recently given an implant manufacturer approval to market instant denture implants as a permanent medical device. Until recently, mini-implants that are used to stabilize dentures in one appointment have been considered "provisional" implants. New five-year data indicates that these implants can and do last as long as other types of permanent implants.
Dental implants can be thought of as artificial roots, on which artificial teeth or dentures are attached. These implants are made of titanium, the same kind of alloy used in hip replacement surgery. There are basically two types of implants. The traditional type of implant is surgically placed in the bone under the gum for three to six months. This amount of time is required for the bone to grow into the implants (called osteo-integration). Once the implant has been integrated into the jaw bone, the implant is surgically exposed. Specially machined parts called "abutments" are then placed on the implants so that the denture can be "clipped" onto them. Dentures thus attached to the implants are secured in the mouth, and resist movement.
The second type of implant is specially made to stabilize the denture as soon as they are placed in the jaw. There is generally no need to wait any period of time. No osteo-integration is needed. No surgery, in the ordinary sense of the word, is necessary. These "mini-implants" are 1.8 mm in diameter (less than one-tenth of an inch) and up to 18 mm in length (three-quarters of an inch). They are rotated into place with a minimal amount of anesthetic. Once placed they serve as brass buttons onto which the denture is clipped. The patient can immediately use the denture for normal chewing, such as biting into an apple.
For patients who tend to gag, the upper denture can be made roofless. An upper denture needs a root so as to create suction. Since implants are now holding the denture, the roof can be dispensed with.
Where the existing denture is serviceable, it can be modified to fit onto the implants. Often a new denture is not necessary.
So see your dentist about whether you are a good candidate for instant denture implants.