Traditionally, wearing “dentures” was a sign of old age and lack of teeth. Emotionally, when patients have to wear removable teeth, they have great resistance. Traditional dentures suffer from lack of retention and unwanted mobility during mastication and speech. As implants became popular, the retention problem of dentures was resolved by attaching them to implants, however, they were still removable appliances, and they were fraught with social stigma.
In the past 20 years, various solutions have been adapted to fix this appliance to the jaw bone by the implants so that patients do not have to face the embarrassment of “wearing dentures”. This solution always involved either casting a gold bar that was an intermediary between the implant and the denture, or more recently, milling a titanium bar to act as an intermediary. This procedure is tedious, laborious and expensive. It takes hours of chair time and thousands of dollars of outside fees.
Apart from the cost and time it takes to fabricate these bars, this technique has the great disadvantage that it is fixed for both the patient and the dentist (unless spending 2-3 hours of chair time unscrewing and re-screwing). As a result, the bars were hardly ever removed for maintenance of the teeth or implants.
Now for the first time in the US, Dental Evolutions Inc. has introduced a dentist removable patient fixed implant-supported bridge – FRIDGE™. This technique has become possible by virtue of precision fit machine parts and taking advantage of newer, more flexible titanium alloys.
Apart from eliminating many of the time consuming and expensive steps and parts required in the screw retained system, this system has the benefit of being fixed for the patient and yet is easily removable by the dentist. The patient cannot and should not attempt to remove the teeth (therefore eliminating the stigma of “wearing dentures”) and at any checkup, the dentist can remove the teeth within 10 seconds to inspect, clean, and service them while the implants can be examined and cleaned. The teeth can then be re-inserted in a matter of seconds. This is indeed a revolutionary solution; a best of both worlds.