Attachments or abutments are the final prosthodontic treatment for implants.
Following verification of adequate healing of the implants, usually several appointments over a period of several weeks are required to complete the final prosthodontic treatment. You will be instructed in the necessary daily cleaning procedure with special brushes and dental floss. Following implant placement, your restorative doctor may place a temporary soft liner in your existing denture to make you more comfortable during the healing and before attaching the abutments and beginning fabrication of the implant overdentures.
Depending on the proposed final design of the implant overdenture, your restorative doctor will recommend a retainer bar or retention attachments that are placed on the implants and into the denture. These will grab onto the denture and provide retention. Depending on your individual situation and prosthesis design requirements, your restorative doctor can utilize a variety of attachment options for your overdenture. Some attachments may require additional components or appointments that may be utilized to increase your satisfaction with the complete overdenture. Some attachments may be easier for you to keep clean and this should also be discussed with your restorative doctor.
Most commonly, your restorative doctor will place the retentive components or abutments into your implants after removing your implant healing caps. This allows the restorative doctor to make accurate impressions to fabricate the new overdentures or perhaps "retro fit" your existing complete denture to the implants and convert them to implant overdentures.
Several types of attachments are available and should be discussed with your doctor. The attachments are frequently incorporated into the abutments and can include:
• locator-type attachment
• ball-type attachment
• "O-ring" type attachment
• bar-type attachment
There are advantages and disadvantages to each of these and they should be discussed with your restorative doctor. All work well in the appropriate situation. You should always discuss which one would work best for you.