The Use of Magnets in Prosthodontics
The field of prosthodontics has utilized magnets for many years, namely in the design of corrective implant-supported overdentures and maxillofacial prosthesis. While prosthodontic engineers, orthodontists, and dentists originally experimented with aluminum-nickel-cobalt magnets (Alnico), their success was limited due to corrosion-causing saliva. More recently, they’ve found success with rare earth magnets like samarium-cobalt and neodymium, which are stronger and more resistant to corrosive elements when coated.
The Difference Between Dentures and Overdentures
An overdenture is a kind of dental implant that forms a gum-supported base onto which a denture can be placed. Standard dentures require any remaining teeth to be extracted, but traditionally, they were fitted with a kind of cement or set in place with removable adhesive.
In the case of overdentures, your dentist starts by surgically implanting anchors into your jaw. Then, they use a ball and socket arrangement to attach the prosthetic denture to the implant. This method keeps the dentures from shifting or popping out of place.
With magnets, a steel plate or some type of ferrous metal may be attached to the implant or remaining teeth. Rare earth magnets, which can be effectively manufactured in small dimensions due to their strength, will lock securely into place when they come into contact with the implants.
This is a subspeciality of prosthodontics for patients rehabilitating from birth defects or disabilities due to trauma or illness. Typically, they’re used to replace missing bone or tissue in the face and mouth area and to restore certain oral functions like swallowing, chewing, and the ability to speak.
Magnets are used in mechanical retention methods instead of or alongside retaining wire bands, springs and clamps, stainless steel studs, pins, tubes, and hinges. They may hold portions of an implant together, or, like with overdentures, they may attach to a permanent implant inside the mouth.
Why Are Magnetic Prosthodontics so Important?
Overdentures and prosthetics, specifically the kind that implement magnets, give people a better quality of life. Whether the person has lost their teeth due to age or is dealing with the aftermath of trauma or disease, magnetic prosthodontics eliminate any fear they might have about eating certain foods and accidentally dislodging teeth. Plus, when people are able to fully chew their food, they absorb more nutrients.
Additionally, magnetic prosthodontics slow the facial deterioration — bone loss, jaw collapse, premature aging — that may come with traditional dentures or maxillofacial prosthetics. They also provide support and integrate with the gums and bone. This, of course, improves a person’s appearance, but more importantly, their frame of mind and overall mental health.
If you’re interested in some of our smaller neodymium magnets like the kind used in prosthodontics, check out our series of neodymium discs as small as 3 x 1 mm or 4 x 1 mm. If you have any questions, concerns, or ideas you’d like to discuss with a representative, call us any time of day at (1-304) 257-1193.