Implant-supported dentures with a removable prosthesis are an effective solution for multiple missing teeth. They're less intrusive than traditional implants (with each implant anchoring its own prosthetic tooth) and they're far more stable than standard dentures without implant support. Most of the maintenance of your implant dentures is simply maintaining a high standard of oral hygiene, but you will still be required to attend regular dental appointments to maintain the health and stability of your implants. But what will happen at these follow-up appointments?
An Intensive Clean
The ultimate responsibility for cleaning your teeth is yours, although your dentist can perform an intensive clean (known as dental scaling) during your checkups. The same goes for your denture implants. While you will regularly be cleaning your removable dentures at home, your dentist will want to perform a cleaning process on the implants themselves (the bolts fixed into your jaw). This removes any bacterial accumulation that cleaning at home might be unable to effectively manage. If deemed necessary, this deep cleaning on your denture implants will happen during your regular checkups.
The implants might also require probing. It sounds unpleasant, but it's a straightforward process. A periodontal probe (generally made of plastic) is used to assess the gingival tissue surrounding the implant to ascertain the ongoing stability of the implant and its mucosal attachment. This basically ensures that the implant remains strong and in the correct alignment and is a good means of checking for peri-implantitis, an infection which can lead to implant rejection.
A Closer Look
Your dentist might also suggest an occasional radiograph during your checkups. This is a different form of inspection than an x-ray and offers more precision in dental assessments. Don't be alarmed if your dentist requests a radiograph. This doesn't mean that something is wrong with your denture implants; it is usually more just your dentist wanting to take a comprehensive look at the ongoing health of your implants and the surrounding tissue.
While the follow-up visits for your denture implants are primarily concerned with the implants themselves, your removable dentures will need to be inspected too. Although it won't happen with any regularity, your dentist might eventually suggest that the dentures need to be relined, which is when a thin layer of acrylic resin is added to the denture base so that it continues to offer the best possible fit.
Your implant-supported dentures will need to be properly maintained, and while you will do the bulk of this yourself, those regular follow-up appointments are essential.