Bar structureIn the top radiograph, six upper implants (the ones on the sides tilted backwards) and their distribution allows them to be joined by a bar structure that has teeth attached to it and the hybrid bridge is permanently screwed in place. It can only be removed in the prosthodontic office. The prosthesis is more like a row of teeth, has minimal soft tissue coverage, and derives all of its support from the implants. This prosthesis is most like having your natural teeth back again.
Tissue barIn the bottom radiograph, four upper implants are joined by a tissue bar. The resulting prosthesis is called a tissue bar overdenture--it is a removable prosthesis that attaches with clips or snaps to the bar for stability and retention when in place, but can be taken out to allow the implants to be brushed and cleaned. The prosthesis is horseshoe shaped (open in the center of the palate) but does cover the ridge and adequate lateral tissue for additional support. Sometimes, when there has been a lot of bone shrinkage, the removable prosthesis allows teeth to be better placed for lip and cheek support, esthetics and phonetics.
Implants optionsYou don't like your complete upper denture and would like to have some implants. What are your options? They depend on the amount of available bone you have remaining and the dimensions in your mouth (clearance for your bite, the sizes of the structural components of the prosthesis, and proper arrangement of teeth) that are required.
Robert G. Tupac, DDS, FACP, Inc., Diplomate, American Board of Prosthodontics (661) 325-1275 | www.drtupac.com 5060 California Ave., #170, Bakersfield, CA 93309