Our goal here at East Valley Periodontics is always first and foremost to save teeth. However, there can come a time when saving the teeth is no longer an option. If that is the case for you, don’t worry, there are options for full arch tooth replacement that are functional and comfortable and beautiful.
What is a Hybrid Prosthesis?
A hybrid prosthesis is a dental bridge that is supported by 4-6 implants. It is an excellent alternative to conventional dentures because of the beautiful aesthetics and the functionality. It allows people to go through their lives and eat, smile and enjoy their life as normal without the hassle and ill-fit of a conventional denture.
Because the bridge is placed with an even load on the implants, most of the time we can remove the teeth, place the implants and the temporary prosthesis all in the same day. You walk out of our office with a screw retained provisional (temporary) prosthesis that looks beautiful!
After 4-6 months of healing you will see your general dentist to have the permanent implant supported bridge made. At this stage careful attention is paid to aesthetics, strength and comfortable fit since this will be your permanent prosthesis.
Advantages of the Hybrid Bridge vs. Conventional Dentures:
One of the biggest advantages to having an upper hybrid vs. a conventional denture is that with the hybrid your palate does not have to be covered. Because a conventional denture relies on palatal suction to hold it is place, the full palate has to be covered. When your palate is covered you lose 50-80% of your ability to taste food. You also have the problem of loose fit and food trapping under a conventional denture.
Lower dentures will over time “float” in the mouth because once teeth are removed, the lower bony ridge that held in the teeth tends to flatten over time leaving nothing for the lower denture to sit on. With a hybrid, the prosthesis is screwed into the implants holding it is place and, the implants maintain the bone levels like natural teeth.
A hybrid denture is held in place by implants which alleviates the need for palatal coverage. The upper denture is cut like a horseshoe. Since your whole palate is exposed, loss of taste is not an issue. Also, because you don’t have the possibility of the prosthesis “rocking” like conventional dentures tend to do, chewing is much easier.
Hybrid prostheses are screwed in place. This means that when you are eating, you don’t have the possible embarrassment of your denture falling out or the possible discomfort of having food stuck under your denture. You do not remove a hybrid to clean under it. For surface cleaning, you simply brush it like you would your natural teeth. Cleaning underneath the hybrid is easy using special dental brushes which can be purchased here or at any pharmacy and a Waterpik™ which is included in the cost for your hybrid.
Are there any drawbacks to implant and hybrid placement?
Overall, any drawbacks to implant and hybrid placement are minimal.
In the US implants in general have a very low failure rate of 3-5%. Most of the time a failed implant can be replaced and generally it will not fail a second time.
**Note: Smoking greatly decreases the success rate of a hybrid and implants in general and, smoking voids any warranty**
Is implant and hybrid placement painful?
Most of the time patients tell us that the pain with this type of procedure was very minimal. Generally, within a few days of having the surgery, any pain that you may have is gone and you are enjoying the new found freedom from the previous pain of failing natural teeth, inflammation and infection and the hassle of trying to eat with missing or broken teeth. Most often people tell us that they wish that they had done it much sooner because they are ecstatic with the results!
Who can benefit from a hybrid?
Anyone of any age that has lost teeth due to accidents, mouth related disease, severe cavities, or periodontal disease. There are occasions where due to severe bone loss or a patient’s anatomy more extensive work has to be done in order to accommodate the hybrid but in most cases, it is very doable.
What can I expect long-term with a hybrid prosthesis?
As mentioned before having a hybrid is much like having natural teeth. They must be maintained with excellent home care and regular dental cleanings every 3-6 months. Once every 12-24 months or so the hybrid is removed by your dentist and the implants and bridge thoroughly cleaned underneath and then replaced. The cost for regular maintenance is not included in the initial cost for the surgery and the temporary and permanent prostheses.
Occasionally a tooth will break and have to be repaired and over a long period of time, the teeth in the prostheses could wear down and have to be replaced.
Are hybrids affordable?
Although hybrids are one of the more costly solutions, we work with our patients to help find a way to afford it. We offer no interest financing for up to 2 years to those who qualify or it can be spread out over up to 6 years with interest bearing financing. We also offer a cash discount for those who are able to pay it in cash. We have been successful in helping many of our patients find a solution to the cost.