This patient had a lower left overdenture instead of a fixed screwed in bridge for many years which she did not like. The overdenture is not a real bridge. It has a removable denture that snaps in and out of the implants.
Implant bridge Using Old Implants
What’s unique about this case is that the overdenture was only on one side! The old implants could be used just as they are to make a fixed bridge.
To me, it does not make sense to have something removable on the bottom jaw when something fixed is attainable. I suspect it was done as a removable overdenture on implants because of operator inexperience.
Over the years, the overdenture placed a lot of pressure on the gums causing one of the implants to fail. Locator overdentures rock the implants back and forth and put a lot of pressure on the gums, which chokes off their blood and nutrient supplies.
Process of Converting Overdenture To Fixed Bridge
For this patient I extracted and removed the one failing implant and made a small zirconia fixed bridge on the remaining implants. A digital impression was taken with a trios scanner. I then fabricated a temporary bridge to test the fit, function and aesthetics before going to the final. This allowed the patient to try everything out to make sure she can clean it and that we both like everything about it.
After wearing the temporary bridge for a few months I then converted her over to the final, which takes a very precise fit since zirconia undergoes shrinkage during the lab fabrication process.
The new bridge has much better contours and does not have that “smell” that she did not like. Overdentures are made out of plastic acrylic that absorbs odors.
The patient’s goal is to replace her upper as well with zygomatic implants, but she has some sinus issues that need to be resolved first.
Ramsey A. Amin, D.D.S.
Diplomate of the American Board of Oral Implantology /Implant Dentistry
Fellow-American Academy of Implant Dentistry