What are implant prostheses and what types are there?
Strictly speaking, implant prostheses are crowns, bridges, or complete prostheses that are placed on top of an osseointegrated implant. But in practice, only certain types of dental prostheses are often called “implant prostheses”: those that replace all the natural teeth in one or both of a patient’s arches. This specific type of implant prosthesis treatment is used to carry out what implantologists know as complete restorations.
Types of implant prostheses
Fixed prosthesis on implants: These are full-arch dental prostheses that are screwed or cemented on six or eight osseointegrated implants. These restorative dentistry treatments replace all the teeth in one or both arches with a prosthesis or “fixed denture” fixed on a reduced number of dental implants, which fulfill the biomechanical functions of the natural roots of the teeth.
Fixed prostheses on implants are 100% personalized and are usually made of materials that allow great results: a trusted dental laboratory can make prostheses that perfectly reproduce the aesthetics and shape of the teeth.
The most common prostheses are metal-ceramic, with a material very similar to porcelain. Crowns that are made from zirconia, a ceramic material almost as hard as diamond and which allows an even more natural look and greater resistance to wear, are becoming more popular.
Overdentures: Overdentures are removable dentures like lifelong dentures, which are placed on dental implants. As a general rule, fewer dental implants are needed than with a fixed prosthesis, (usually four) and may be indicated for patients with greater bone loss in the maxilla.
Instead of directly screwing the prosthesis to the implants, it is fixed using a series of indirect techniques, which allow the patient to take it off and put it on as if it were a removable prosthesis. This greatly facilitates the correct hygiene of the prosthesis, especially compared to the following type.
Hybrid prosthesis on implants: Some prostheses use the support offered by dental implants and the surface of the gum mucosa to fit the prosthesis. These hybrid prostheses are recommended above all for patients with considerable bone resorption, a product of very old dental absences since a part of the prosthesis simulates the gum tissues.
Unlike fixed implant dentures, hybrid dentures are made of acrylic materials, just like conventional dentures. For this reason, they offer, in comparison, a more artificial appearance and worse mechanical properties.
To clean them, the dentist must unscrew the prosthesis, which is fixed on the dental implants: so the patient has to periodically go for check-ups to keep his prosthesis in perfect condition.
What is the best implant prosthesis?
Your implantologist will take into account your needs and budget, but as a general rule, a prosthesis treatment on implants is always more advisable than another for exclusively clinical reasons.
Ask at your dental clinic and let yourself be guided by his recommendations: your dentist seeks the best for each of his patients, not to sell treatments.