Implant Retained Dentures vs Implant Supported Dentures
Because of their tendency to shift in place, which can lead to discomfort and functionality issues, traditional dentures are often an unsatisfactory remedy for edentulous patients. As such, an increasingly popular option is the use of dental implants to support or retain poor-fitting dentures. There are pros and cons associated with implant-retained dentures compared to implant supported dentures but both treatments can provide enhanced bite function and denture stability. This article will highlight some of the similarities and differences between the two options so patients are better able to determine which restoration option is better for them.
The gums absorb more of the bite force with implant-retained dentures. Because fewer dental implants are typically needed, the restoration is more cost-effective than its implant supported counterparts. Cost can also be advantageous if the patient is a candidate for mini dental implants. Though implant-retained dentures will help the patient confidently talk and eat comfortably, they can not fully replicate the natural bite and must be removed for cleaning and at night.
With all dental implants, the patient must have sufficient jawbone density to place the implants. Should the patient lack this bone density, additional procedures such as a bone graft may be needed prior to placing the implants. The need for bone grafting procedures can be minimized if the dental implants can be situated in areas with maximum available bone area that is sufficiently thick and strong.
Implant Supported Dentures
Implant supported dentures provide a more natural and effective bite for the patient because the full bite force is absorbed through the implants and into the jawbone. Because more dental implants are necessary and mini implants typically unsuitable, implant supported dentures tend to be more expensive.
Again, good quality jawbone is needed for implant supported dentures which some patients lack. The need for additional procedures, like soft tissue and bone regeneration, to ensure successful treatment may make some patients reluctant to pursue implant supported dentures. In these cases, implant-retained dentures may be a more suitable treatment option.
Factors that Influence Treatment Choice
Some of the factors that will influence the clinician’s recommendation and patient’s choice of treatment include cost, lifestyle, health, and diet choices.
- Cost: As with any medical or dental procedure, cost is likely a consideration in choosing between the two implant denture options. While implant supported dentures are more costly, some may perceive them as providing greater benefits.
- Lifestyle: The thought of removable teeth is abhorrent to some patients and they would prefer to have teeth permanently fixed in place. For these people, implant supported dentures might be considered for their psychological benefits. Others may find the removability associated with implant-retained dentures better fits their daily routine.
- Health: Patients with sleep apnea or TMJ often find it preferable to sleep with their teeth in at night and the support provided by the denture’s strong material could be advantageous.
- Diet Choices: If avoiding foods that are difficult to chew is not problematic to the patient, they will likely find implant-retained dentures suitable. This is particularly true if the patient has already been wearing traditional dentures and has grown accustomed to a diet of softer foods. However, patients that enjoy a wider range of more difficult to chew foods may find implant supported denture offer a greater level of comfort and confidence.