How Long Do Implant Retained Dentures Last?

People that have lost all their upper or lower teeth, often find traditional dentures to be a poor remedy. Because traditional dentures simply rest on the patient’s gums, they tend to shift which can be uncomfortable and lead to difficulties eating and speaking.

Implant-retained dentures, or implant dentures, provide superior performance and have become the preferable restoration choice for replacing lost teeth. Implant-retained dentures are clipped or snapped onto two or more dental implants which are surgically imbedded into the patient’s jawbone. The retained denture can be removed by the patient for cleaning. Chewing ability with traditional removable dentures is around 15% while implant-retained dentures can provide up to 100% functionality.

Patients considering implant-retained dentures are likely curious about the process and expected lifespan of the prosthesis. This article will highlight the timeline and steps involved in obtaining implant-retained dentures, how long the devices last, and steps that can be taken to prolong their longevity.

Implant-retained Denture Process

The process for obtaining implant-retained dentures takes place over several visits:

First Visit

  • Initial consultation
  • Take X-rays
  • Formulate treatment plan
  • Take impressions of the teeth
  • Schedule CAT scan - if needed

Second Visit

  • Surgically place implants into the jawbone
    Will likely need follow up to monitor healing – could include additional X-rays

Third Visit

  • Impressions are taken and sent to a lab to create the custom implant abutment and denture

Final Visit

  • Place the implant-retained denture

Time for healing is needed after the implant surgery to allow for the bone to fuse with the implants through a process known as osseointegration. During this time, the patient can wear either their existing dentures or a temporary prosthesis. Depending on the number of implants needed and the patient’s ability to recover, implant-retained denture treatment generally takes around four months for a lower jaw and seven months for an upper. Should the patient require additional procedures, such as a bone graft prior to implant surgery, additional time will be needed.

How Long do Implant-Retained Dentures Last?

Patients should understand that implant-retained dentures are composed of two parts: the dental implants and the prosthesis (denture). Situations can lead to their premature failure but in general, dental implants typically last 30 or more years.

While dentures are made of durable materials, they are susceptible to natural wear and damage from chewing and biting. As such, they are likely to need replacement eventually. With sound oral hygiene and proper care, the implant-retained denture can last 10-15 years.

How to Prolong the Implant-Retained Denture’s Longevity

Patients can help extend the lifespan of their implant-retained dentures by practicing the following tips:

  • Floss and brush regularly to remove damaging debris or plaque
  • Visit the dentist at least two times per year for cleanings and routine dental exams
  • Avoid foods that are excessively hard, sticky, or crunchy
  • Refrain from using the teeth as tools
  • Avoid clenching or grinding the teeth
  • Wear a protective mouthguard during participation in sports or other activities that could involve oral trauma

Implant Retained vs Traditional Dentures