The treatment of edentulous patients has been one of the most difficult challenges for the oral rehabilitation specialist. Bone loss in these patients makes it difficult to adapt total prostheses. Complete (conventional) prostheses are considered acceptable when the patient has enough bone flange to retain them. The chief benefit of non-implant retained dentures is their lower cost when compared to implant-retained prostheses such as the overdenture or hybrid prosthesis.
Dental prostheses are evaluated based on aesthetics, function, retention and stability. These last three are the main difficulties that a conventional prosthesis (not implant-retained) presents due to the lack of bone flange, mostly in the lower jaw. With the rise of dental implants, these difficulties were overcome by creating both an aesthetic and functional result.
Dental implants that are surgically placed in the bone act as anchors for the overlying denture. This provides support in chewing, speech and overall function. The more implants placed, the less the denture needs to rest on the soft tissues, and the more comfortable the patient. The more dental implants placed – 6 to 8 on the upper and 2-6 on the lower – the more likely the hybrid prosthesis can be screwed into place, rest minimally on soft tissues, be reliably stable in function, and provide soft tissue / facial support. Two dental implants can retain a denture; however, it will still sit on the gum tissue. Four dental implants allows the denture to sit above the gums, creating more comfort and stability while functioning.