If you’re missing all or most of your teeth, implant-supported dentures are the best option to replace them. Unlike traditional dentures, implant-supported dentures are anchored to your jaw just like your natural teeth, which gives them more stability and prevents bone loss. Rather than replacing each missing tooth with its own single-tooth dental implant, an implant-supported denture allows us to strategically place a few dental implants on an arch to support an entire set of replacement teeth. Aside from full or partial dentures, there are two other main categories for implant-supported dentures: fixed or removable. Here’s the difference.
Fixed Implant-Supported Dentures
A fixed implant-supported denture is not meant to be taken off and put back on each day—instead, these dentures are permanently attached to your dental implants. Fixed implant-supported dentures function the most like real teeth. To care for them, you’ll simply brush—you don’t have to take your teeth out every night before going to bed and use a cleaning solution. Many patients appreciate this type of restoration because it lets them forget that they even have dentures.
One downside of fixed implant-supported dentures is that they require more bone and tissue support than removable implant-supported dentures. If you don’t have the bone mass needed for fixed implant-supported dentures, you’ll need to either choose a removable option or you may also be a candidate for an alternative procedure, the All-on-4 full arch restoration.
Removable Implant-Supported Dentures
Removable implant-supported dentures (also known as snap-on dentures) are more like traditional dentures—the key difference being that instead of using adhesives to hold the denture in place, dental implants are used.
Not only are removable implant-supported dentures a better option for patients who don’t have the bone mass to support fixed dentures, they’re also good for patients who are used to wearing traditional dentures and don’t mind having to take their dentures out at the end of the day for cleaning. Some patients may even prefer this option because they find cleaning easier. Removable implant-supported dentures are more affordable as well.
Fixed vs. Removable Dental Implant Options: The Bottom Line
As you can see, there are pros and cons associated with each implant-supported denture option. A fixed implant-supported denture is most like your natural teeth, but it’s also more expensive and not all patients have the required bone pass to support it. Removable implant-supported dentures are easier to clean and less expensive, but many patients don’t like that they’re so similar to the experience of having traditional dentures.
Ultimately, the best way to decide which is right for you is to come in for a consultation. We’ll go over your dental history, talk to you about your lifestyle, conduct an exam, and discuss your treatment goals. Taking all of these into consideration will help us determine the dental implant solution that best meets your needs.