The main idea behind dental implants is to insert a metal base or frame into the space where a tooth was, therefore securing the dentures. But there are several options when it comes to denture implants (also called implant-supported dentures or full mouth dental implants).
You have many options when it comes to implants. Although denture implants have pros and cons, we’re here to help you understand the differences between the choices.
Benefits Of Denture Implants
Preserve Jaw Bone And Improve Appearance
One big reason denture implants are a great option is because they help you preserve your jaw bone and prevent further deterioration. This is not only healthy for your mouth, but it can improve your facial structure.
If you’re missing multiple teeth or they’re not in good shape, there’s less in the jawbone that will stimulate bone growth. This is because your body can sense if your jawbone doesn’t need to support teeth any longer, so it will begin to pull tissues from the mouth to use elsewhere.
Missing even one tooth with no replacement can lead to deformed lips, chin, and wrinkly skin.
Boost Self-Esteem And Confidence
Because you’ll look better and have a healthier jawbone and mouth, you’ll most likely feel better physically but also mentally. You’ll probably feel better about yourself and have much more self-confidence.
Provide A Better Quality Of Life
Once you get replacement teeth, you’ll be more comfortable, confident, and have an overall better quality of life. With teeth, speaking is easier, smiling is a joy, and eating is no problem.
Denture implants are especially beneficial because you don’t have to deal with messy adhesives or ugly clasps.
Two Main Types Of Denture Implants
Once you’ve decided to go with an implant-supported denture, you have two main options that you and your dentist can discuss. They are removable implants and fixed implants, both of which can either be full dentures or partial dentures. And within these two main types, they each have two subtypes.
Let’s take a look at all of that now.
Removable Denture Implants (Snap-In Overdentures)
Under the umbrella of removable denture implants, we have two options: implant-retained overdentures and implant-supported overdentures.
An implant-retained overdenture involves two or more implants along with a removable appliance. Dentists have said this is an upgrade from your typical denture.
These provide more support than traditional dentures, but there is more of a chance of getting sore spots. Also, implant-retained overdentures can improve your chewing better than a traditional denture.
You will need your dentist to reline this type of denture occasionally because, as your bone and tissues change over time, the fixture will need to be adjusted to fit. However, these are the most affordable option out there for full-arch replacements.
Implant-supported overdentures involve attaching the replacement to four dental implants.
This replacement option is a great choice, but it does have its downsides. For instance, if you get the minimum of four implants and one of them fails, the whole fixture may not work properly anymore. Although they’re usually cheaper to repair or replace
These are usually best for people with a high upper smile because the replacement can help hide where the denture meets the natural gum tissue. And it is nice that you can remove this piece in order to clean it.
Note that they are usually a bulkier option than the fixed denture implant options, and they may even require a metal support bar. Plus, they’re usually made of acrylic, which is more porous and therefore more difficult to clean than porcelain. Although acrylic is much more affordable than porcelain.
Fixed Denture Implants (Screw-In Permanent Hybrid Dentures)
If you decide to go with a fixed denture implant, you have a couple options: implant-supported dentures and implant-supported bridges.
Implant-Supported Denture (All-on-Four, AO4)
This is similar to the implant-supported overdenture, the biggest difference being that you cannot remove it. Although your dentist will remove it if it needs to be adjusted or replaced.
These are also called “All-on-4” (or AO4’s) because four or more implants support the denture. The way the AO4 works requires no bone grafting because your dentist can put the implants in the available natural bone. And you can normally get these replacement teeth the same day as your implants.
The implant-supported bridge option is probably the most natural replacement teeth you’ll find. That’s why so many patients and dentist love going this route.
The great thing about this option is that even if an implant fails, the replacement still works just fine. And once you get this bridge inserted, you’ll experience no teeth movement. And there will be no flanges (the part that goes from the body of the denture into the oral cavity) and this fixture doesn’t rest on your gums.
Plus, these bridges are usually made of porcelain, meaning the denture looks more natural and it’s more durable.
Implant-Retained Dentures vs. Implant-Supported Dentures
It’s probably important to know the difference between implant-retained dentures and implant-supported dentures. Let’s cover that now.
When you bite down while wearing an implant-supported dentures, the fixture will take the brunt of the force. The implants and your jawbone will absorb the full force, allowing you to have the most natural bite.
With this option though, the treatment is usually more expensive than other options because more implants are involved. And before the procedure, your dentist will need to make sure your bone is strong enough. If not, they may offer a procedure to help regenerate bone and soft tissue, but many people find it invasive.
But if successfully inserted, this option is reliable, stable, and more aesthetically pleasing.
When you bite down while wearing an implant-retained denture, your gums will take most of the force.
This option requires less implants (usually two per jaw), making the procedure more affordable. Sometimes you can even use mini dental implants. It’s also much less likely you’ll need a bone graft because these implants can use just the areas with the strongest bone. The implants have balls on top of them that hold the fixture in place.
Although these replacement teeth will restore your ability to speak and eat normally, your bite won’t be as natural as with other denture options and it may not be as stable.
The Cost Of Denture Implants
So now the big question that’s probably on your mind: how much do denture implants cost?
Generally speaking, the less implants you need, the cheaper the overall cost. However, that comes with less stability in the denture. It’s really up to you and your dentist to find the right balance of quality and affordability.
Fortunately, denture implants can be very comparable in price to the traditional denture options. Implants usually last a long time, often for your entire life, so the money you spend upfront can easily be worth it.
To give you an idea of the average cost, one dental implant to replace a single tooth can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $4,500, according to The New York Times. So whether you’re getting upper or lower denture implants or a full denture implant, the cost will multiply from that range.
But ultimately, you’ll want to check with your dentist to get a specific quote for you.
Every patient is different and every mouth is not identical. Your customized treatment may be very different than your neighbor’s and therefore will have a different price tag.
User Reviews Of Denture Implants
A helpful method for getting an idea of the potential experience you’ll have with denture implants is to read user reviews. People who have dental implants can provide an eye-opening look into a life with dental implants.
One patient on RealSelf.com was super happy with his full upper bridge with six implants.
“For years and years I isolated and shut off from the world because of the condition of my teeth (it all seems so silly now to wait),” he wrote. Now, he said he’s happy with how the procedure went.
Another patient, who got an upper arch replacement with four implants and crowns, acknowledge the cost of his procedure as well as the boost to his quality of life it would bring.
“I am not excited about the price,” he wrote. “But I want to have teeth, and I am making a commitment to put all my money in my mouth for the next few years, so I can eat, and feel better again.”
A woman who got a replacement pointed out that the patient has control over how good the denture experience is.
“What people have to remember is that procedures and outcomes vary depending on your own personal habits and hygiene after the work is done,” she wrote.
Echoing what these reviewers said, it’s good to remember that every patient is different and will need their denture implants customized to them.
Talking and meeting with your dentist is really the best way to find the best denture implant option for you.