An overdenture is a type of denture that is secured by precision dental attachments. The attachments are placed in tooth roots or dental implants, which have been placed specifically for the overdenture attachment. If you lose most or all of your lower teeth, there is nothing to hold a denture down while you chew. An overdenture fastens a denture to the jawbone, much in the way natural teeth are anchored. The adjacent teeth may be altered with locking devices or connecting bars to ensure the denture fits properly. These bar joints support the dentures better than individual implants, though implants are still required to support the bars. Generally, the more implants, the stronger the bar, and bars on the upper arch always require more implants than bars on the lower arch due to lesser bone density in the upper jaw.
Some of the benefits of overdentures include the prevention of bone loss (dental implants actually strengthen the surrounding bone structure), esthetic appeal, improved speech (when compared with other types of dentures), proper jaw alignment, and improved chewing efficiency. Overdentures are removable appliances that are made to fit “over” natural teeth or implants when some teeth are strong enough to be kept but may be in a poor position esthetically. Conventional overdentures provide a “facade” over teeth that may be in poor position due to birth, accident, or trauma where extensive dental procedures, surgery, and orthodontics are not an option. In some cases only a few teeth or roots remain, but still can greatly aid in the support and stability of a denture as opposed to removing them. An overdenture can dramatically improve both function and appearance with little or no modification to the natural teeth.