Implant Supported Dentures

erica medical reviewer
Medically Reviewed
by Dr. Erica Anand
Michael Bayba
Written by
Michael Bayba
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Evidence Based
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7 sources cited
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What Are Implant Supported Dentures?

Implant supported dentures are a permanent tooth replacement solution for patients who have lost their upper or lower teeth. Usually, four to eight implants are surgically placed deep in your jawbone. Then your dentist attaches the dentures to the implants. They stay firmly in place and allow you to eat foods that traditional dentures do not.

Implant supported dentures are sometimes known as snap-in or snap-on dentures

Candidates need a large amount of high-quality bone in their jaw. Not all patients will be able to get this surgery. Additional procedures such as a bone graft may be necessary. 

removable full implant denture

Implant Supported Dentures vs Implant Retained Dentures

Implant supported dentures are also known as fixed or permanent dentures. Implant retained dentures are removable or temporary dentures.

Implant supported (fixed) dentures provide the most natural and effective bite. This is because the jawbone absorbs the full force of the bite. This reduces pressure on the gums. 

Implant supported dentures usually require four to eight dental implants. This increases the price of the procedure. They also stay fixed in your mouth, and only dentists can remove them for cleaning.

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Some dentists now offer a technique called “all-on-4” which only requires four implants to support a full arch.

Implant retained (removable) dentures typically require two to four implants. Many times, mini dental implants can be used. They are used when there may not be sufficient quality bone for endosteal implants. These are called subperiosteal implants. This can eliminate the need for a bone graft.

Implant retained dentures allow you to eat and speak normally. However, your gums will absorb more of your bite, which can cause discomfort or gum damage. These dentures also need to be removed and cleaned every night.

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Implant Supported Dentures Procedure

The entire process for implant supported dentures can take two to seven months.

First, you will undergo implant surgery. The surgeon will open your gums to expose your bone. The implants will then be placed deep within the bone. The healing process for this can take two to six months. During this time, the implants and the bone will bond together. This is called osseointegration. It allows the implants to become a strong anchor for your dentures.

Depending on your surgeon’s procedure, you may need a second surgery. The surgeon will uncover your implants and add extensions called abutments. This will complete the foundation for the false teeth. This step may not be necessary if the implants already have extensions attached.

Once the implants are healed, your dentist will take a mold of your arch. Then they will send it to the lab that creates your full set of dentures. When they are finished, they will be shipped to your dentist, who will place them in your mouth.

Caring for Implant Supported Dentures

Food particles and bacteria in your mouth can lead to staining, plaque, and gum disease. Daily maintenance will help keep your mouth healthy, your dentures functional, and your smile pearly white.

If your dentures are fixed in place, only your dentist will take them out. Your at-home routine will be very similar to people with all their teeth:

  • Brush your dentures twice a day with a soft-bristle toothbrush. 
  • Use a regular toothpaste (without whitening agents or microbeads)
  • Floss may be a risk for peri-implant disease,1 so it’s best to use a water flosser on a low setting to clean your dentures and gum
  • Rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash once or twice a day
  • Brush and floss any natural teeth as you usually would
  • Visit your dentist once a year (or more if they recommend) for a deep cleaning and full dental exam

Caring for Implant Retained Dentures

If your implant retained dentures are removable, you should remove them to sleep. You can keep them clean by brushing them daily and soaking them in a denture solution. Sleeping with them can cause bacteria build-up, infection, and/or pain.  

The cleaning process is the same for fixed implant dentures. The only difference is you brush your denture as you would your natural teeth, since they are not removable. You can purchase implant brushes and flossers to help maintain your oral health. 

Implant Supported Dentures Cost

The cost of implant supported dentures varies greatly. Some insurance plans will cover part or all of the procedure, while others do not. Check with your provider for more information.

Factors that affect the price include:

  • The quality of the denture
  • Number of implants
  • Type of implants used
  • Any additional preparatory procedures
  • Location and your dentist’s specific rates

Traditional dental implants typically cost $1,600 to $2,200 per implant.

Mini dental implants cost about $500 to $1,500 per implant.

A complete set of porcelain dentures costs between $1,500 and $4,000. 

Additional costs may include sedation, additional oral health procedures, and preparatory procedures such as bone grafts (if necessary).

You can expect to spend at least $6,000 to $8,000 per arch on implant supported dentures. However, this price can vary and may increase significantly.

Most insurances do not cover dental implants, but this varies from plan to plan. Insurance is more likely to cover traditional dentures than implants supported dentures.

Pros & Cons

Pros of implant supported dentures include:
  • Fixed implant dentures feel and look natural in your mouth
  • Implants make it easy to speak, smile, and chew 
  • Implants provide you with the best bite, so you can enjoy more types of food
  • Implants prevent jawbone tissue loss and gum damage
  • Implants last much longer than any other treatment
  • Taking care of implants is very similar to cleaning your natural teeth
Cons of implant supported dentures include:
  • Implant supported dentures cost significantly more than traditional dentures
  • Most insurance plans don’t cover implants
  • The implant procedure takes approximately two to six months to complete
  • Patients who don’t have enough jawbone density may require a bone graft or may not be qualified for this treatment

Takeaways

  • You can choose implant supported (fixed/permanent) or implant retained (removable, temporary) dentures
  • Implant supported dentures provide you with the best smile, most stable bite, and are easier to speak with compared to other types of dentures
  • The implant supported denture procedure can take between two and six months
  • Implant supported dentures are the longest-lasting dentures available
  • Implant supported dentures will probably cost at least $6,000 to $8,000, and it is unlikely that insurance will cover them (check with your provider for more details)

Resources

(1) Velzen, Frank J. J. van, et al. “Dental Floss as a Possible Risk for the Development of Peri‐Implant Disease: an Observational Study of 10 Cases.” Wiley Online Library, Clinical Oral Implants Research, 11 Aug. 2015. 

(2) De Kok, Ingeborg J, et al. “Comparison of Three-Implant-Supported Fixed Dentures and Two-Implant-Retained Overdentures in the Edentulous Mandible: a Pilot Study of Treatment Efficacy and Patient Satisfaction.” The International Journal of Oral & Maxillofacial Implants, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Mar. 2011. 

(3) “Denture Care and Maintenance.” Ada.org, American Dental Association, 8 Apr. 2019. 

(4) Doundoulakis, James H., et al. “The Implant-Supported Overdenture as an Alternative to the Complete Mandibular Denture.” The Journal of the American Dental Association, Elsevier, 30 Dec. 2014.

(5) Gaviria, Laura, et al. “Current Trends in Dental Implants.” Journal of the Korean Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, The Korean Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, Apr. 2014. 

(6) Sahm, Narja, et al. “Non‐Surgical Treatment of Peri‐Implantitis Using an Air‐Abrasive Device or Mechanical Debridement and Local Application of Chlorhexidine: a Prospective, Randomized, Controlled Clinical Study.” Wiley Online Library, Journal of Clinical Periodontology, 19 July 2011. 

(7) Salinas, Thomas J. “Denture Care.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 16 Nov. 2017.

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