Implant-retained Dentures vs. Traditional Dentures

If you need to replace all of your teeth, either on the top or bottom row or both rows, you may be thinking about the best way to do so. The two most common types of full-mouth dentures are conventional, removable dentures and those that are supported by dental implants. While many people are more familiar with conventional, removable dentures, implant-retained dentures are a cost-effective, comfortable alternative to the old standby options.

Traditional, removable dentures are usually cheaper, as an initial investment, than their more permanent counterparts. Traditional dentures need to be replaced more frequently, however. This is because the acrylic they’re made of wears out, and because the bones of the jaw will change in size and shape as the bone resorbs, which happens when teeth are removed from the mouth. The roots of the teeth support the bone that surrounds them; when the roots are gone, the bone begins to shrink and shift in shape. As the bone resorbs, a traditional denture loosens, becoming uncomfortable and awkward and possibly causing friction to the soft tissues inside the mouth and adversely affecting the ability to eat with ease. Traditional dentures take some getting used to, too. They can affect the way people talk, and they may affect the foods people can eat; it’s necessary to cut food into small, manageable pieces when eating with traditional dentures, as they don’t effectively withstand all the force exerted by biting and chewing. Traditional dentures provide an immediate solution and are generally the most affordable option; if you experience significant tooth loss rather suddenly, they can be a quick and reasonable option for replacement.

Implants not only provide a long-lasting alternative, they also work to support the bone in which they’re placed, increasing the health and strength of the jaws. Implant-retained dentures snap onto the dental implants, providing secure support for eating and chewing. They are generally more comfortable than their removable counterparts, and it is easier to talk and to eat with them in. They don’t fall out unexpectedly, require no messy adhesives, and won’t rub against the delicate soft tissue of the mouth. Dental implants can support significant weight, too, which means that it may be possible to attach an entire row of teeth onto only a few implants, depending on the strength and position of the jaw in which they’re placed. The greatest health benefit of implant-retained dentures is the bone health that is restored upon placing dental implants, as this preserves the height and shape of the jaw and prevents the sunken appearance that befalls so many people who are missing their natural teeth. Implant-retained dentures are removed daily for cleaning, though regular oral hygiene is still important to maintain the health of the gums and bone in the mouth and to keep the implants strong and supportive. While implant-retained dentures cost more than traditional dentures, for many people, the aesthetic, functional, and health benefits they provide is well worth the additional cost. A consultation with your dentist can help you decide which option is the best for you.