Implant Retained Dentures vs Traditional Dentures

Losing teeth is an all-too-common occurrence. Patients that need to replace all of their upper or lower teeth may wonder which treatment option is best for them: a traditional removable denture or one held in place with dental implants. In order to determine which option is preferable, it is important to understand the differences between traditional dentures and modern implant options which will be the focus of this article.

Traditional Dentures: Pros and Cons

One of the biggest advantages of traditional dentures is the ease at which they can be obtained. Surgery is not required meaning a set of replacement teeth can be gotten almost immediately. Because they are straightforward to obtain, traditional dentures also tend to be relatively inexpensive when compared to other tooth replacement options.

Upon closer examination though, the initial savings associated with traditional dentures may ultimately be offset or exceeded by the cost to replace the denture down the road. The acrylic in conventional dentures wears out from normal chewing necessitating eventual replacement. Additionally, the patient’s bone anatomy can change causing the denture to loosen or rub uncomfortably.

Comfort and functionality are other important considerations when determining if conventional dentures are appropriate. Because traditional dentures simply rest on the patient’s gums, often using gooey adhesives to hold in place, they can tend to shift in the patient’s mouth. This is not only uncomfortable but could also create functional issues when chewing. Significant time and practice are often needed for the patient to get used to their new prosthesis. And because the dentures do not allow as much force when chewing and biting, patients may have to stick to softer foods or cut food into smaller pieces.

Implant Dentures: Pros and Cons

Perhaps the biggest advantage implant supported dentures offer are the support provided by the strong foundation upon which the denture is attached. Where traditional dentures lack the support of any tooth roots or connection to the jawbone, the dental implants utilized in implant supported or retained dentures do. Because of this foundation, patients of implant dentures are able to enjoy more of the foods they love without limitation.

Implant dentures are also advantageous in that their design is slimmer. The design eliminates rubbing or sore spots making it more comfortable, and easier for the patient to eat and talk. The direct connection between the denture and dental implant also eliminates the need for any gooey adhesives to secure the prosthesis and prevent it from falling out.

Implant dentures do have some drawbacks. As previously mentioned, cost may be a factor for some patients as implant dentures will cost more to the patient up front. Cost to the patient could also be influenced by insurance coverage as many dental insurance companies will not cover implant dentures unless considered a medical necessity.

Another potential drawback to implant denture options is the need for surgery to place the implants and time involved in the process. While placing the dental implants can be done on an outpatient basis, months of healing time, along with multiple follow up visits to monitor progress, will be needed before the patient ultimately receives their permanent denture.

Implant Supported vs Implant Retained Dentures