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Ball Attachments Overdenture

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Ball Attachment Overdenture | EM™ Dental Implant components

The classic ball attachment, also known as a ball abutment, is an extracoronal superstructure that serves as an attachment mechanism for full or partial overdenture systems.

Edison Medical classic ball attachments are available as sets, which include a single straight implant ball attachment, metal housing, protective silicone disc and elastic silicone retentive cap. Ball attachments are available in five heights ranging from 1.0 mm to 6.0 mm, and elastic silicone retentive caps can be selected with one of two removal forces: 0.8 - 0.85 kg (pink) or 1.2 - 1.3 kg (transparent).

The EM portfolio of classic ball attachments is milled from Ti-6AL-4V-ELI titanium that is finished with a titanium nitride (TiN) coating. Ti-6AL-4V-ELI titanium is ideal for medical indications, as it is known for its high strength to weight ratio, fracture toughness, and corrosion resistance. The TiN coating further improves the ball attachment’s resistance to wear and corrosion.

Edison Medical’s ball attachments feature across-brand usability with most implant systems on the market, including Implant Direct® Legacy™, Lamina®, Noris Medical®, Alpha Bio®, MIS Implants®, BioHorizons®, and more.

The pros and cons of the ball attachment overdenture system


Despite the classic ball attachment’s historical success for decades, the arrival of Zest’s LOCATOR® attachments to the dental implant market has rendered the ball an older implant overdenture attachment technology.

The ball attachment is considered less effective than Zest LOCATOR® attachment in terms of versatility and final esthetic result, and requires more upkeep, as the o-rings in the system are known to loosen gradually with time and need periodic replacement. That said, ball attachments still retain some advantages over Zest LOCATOR® attachments and other similar, low-profile overdenture attachment systems. 

Ball attachments can be a better overdenture solution where bone strength is of concern, as they have been found to minimize force exerted to the bone, which in more extreme cases can lead to fracture. Cortical bone preservation is also higher through the use of ball attachments compared to Zest LOCATOR® attachments, and ball attachments are therefore preferable for use in edentulous patients when bone health or strength is in question.

With older patients suffering from edentulism, ball attachments may also be preferred due to their relative cost effectiveness, easy handling, hygienic restoration and simplicity of treatment.


The ball attachment’s geometrical design has an intrinsic disadvantage, which is that of the ball itself. Due to the extra height of the attachment caused by the presence of the ball, the placed prosthesis sits higher above the gum line and thus yields a higher vertical profile than attachments that do not feature a ball, such as the Zest LOCATOR® attachment. ZEST Locator®-type attachments achieve a lower profile that ball attachments cannot, and the prosthesis is therefore able to have a much improved esthetic result, forming a seamless meeting point with the gumline.

Furthermore, due to the rigidity of ball attachments, the retention capacity of the prosthesis by the implant system is not stable over time, and may result in micro-movements and attachment abrasion, which can weaken the connection and potentially cause damage to the surrounding bone. 

Another source of reduced retention with ball attachments is the lower durability of the o-rings within the system. These o-rings weaken with time and need to periodically be replaced. Despite these disadvantages, as mentioned before there are still several instances in which the ball attachment is currently the preferable abutment in partial overdenture systems over the Zest LOCATOR®-type attachment.

What is a ball attachment?

A ball attachment is an extracoronal removable denture attachment that retains an overdenture prosthesis to a series of dental implants placed along the jaw. This type of attachment features a ball and socket design, in which a spherical-shaped metal alloy or plastic abutment fits into an attachment metal housing.

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