Implant Retained Dentures vs Traditional Dentures
A full denture is used to replace all of the teeth in a patient’s mouth and can be held in place using suction and adhesive, as with traditional dentures, or using implants, as with implant-retained dentures. Both options are available to patients you’re missing a significant number of teeth or you have to have their teeth extracted due to medical issues or an accident.
Both types of dentures may also be used for a partial denture which will replace a few missing teeth in one area of the mouth.
Having a traditional denture fabricated is a much easier process for the patient. No invasive surgeries are involved and there is no healing time. Traditional dentures are also significantly less costly, initially, than their implant supported counterpart but will need to be replaced sooner than an implant denture. The shorter lifespan can actually cause a traditional denture to be more expensive in the long run than an implant denture.
A few drawbacks to the traditional denture is the manner in which they are secured in the mouth and their effect on bone health. Traditional dentures sit on top of the gums and are held in place with messy adhesives and may begin to slip when the patient is eating or speaking. When a denture slips, the friction can cause discomfort with irritation and sores. A traditional denture also does not support bone health the way an implant denture does. Without stimulation, bone structure can begin to deteriorate over time and can lead to a change in facial structure and the fit of the denture.
Implant Retained Dentures
Even though they are more expensive than traditional dentures, implant retained dentures have a much longer lifespan and will not need to be replaced as frequently. The implants themselves have the ability to last a lifetime with proper care and maintenance but the denture will eventually need to be replaced due to normal wear and tear. The denture snaps onto the dental implants using nylon O-rings that will also wear out over time but they are easily replaced.
Implant retained dentures also support bone health in a way that traditional dentures cannot. Dental implants are placed directly into the jaw bone and help stimulate bone regeneration and prevent deterioration. They are also easy for the patient to remove for oral care and sleeping every day.
Along with cost, the other drawback to implant retained dentures is the extensive healing time required after invasive implant surgery. Six months is usually allowed between implant placement and receiving your permanent denture.
Not everyone is a candidate for implant placement surgery so it is important to understand your options and discuss them with your dentist. If your dentist believes that you are a candidate for implants, they will refer you to a periodontist or oral surgeon for evaluation.
Caring for your denture is just as important as caring for natural teeth. Implants can fail if they are not cleaned regularly so it is important that you continue to visit your dentist for routine cleanings at which point you were hygienist will be able to remove any buildup around each implant.