Permanent Dentures

What are Permanent Dentures?

A permanent denture can restore function and aesthetics for people with an entire arch of missing teeth. When teeth are lost due to severe tooth decay, infection, or trauma, it can cause long-term problems if not replaced.

Many people initially opt for a removable denture because they are cost-effective and a quick solution to replacing teeth. However, the longevity and problems associated with removable dentures are quickly noticed. 

Removable dentures can dislodge and cause stress while eating, speaking, and laughing. Because of this, it is recommended by many dentists and prosthodontists to choose a permanent denture.

A permanent denture provides the highest level of comfort and confidence because it is locked securely in place and is custom-made using high-quality materials. Dental technology is so advanced that a permanent denture can look and feel like natural teeth.

Types of Permanent Dentures

Millions of Americans are missing one or more teeth. Fortunately, advanced dentistry offers several types of solutions. Your dental prosthetic would depend on how many teeth are missing and where they are missing. 

Implant-Supported Dentures (Overdentures)

An implant-supported denture is a wonderful option for people who are missing a full set of teeth or a single arch. Rather than struggle with removable dentures and false teeth, implants are surgically screwed into the jawbone giving the denture stability. It makes it easier to speak, eat, and clean your new prosthetic. 

removable full implant denture

Many people opt for an overdenture after years of dealing with denture challenges. Since dental implants are the closest option to natural teeth, they have several more benefits, including: 

  • Help maintain your natural jawbone
  • Provide a permanent solution compared to removable appliances
  • Allow you to smile confidently
  • Stimulate bone growth rather than have it recede
  • Offer the most aesthetic smile

Partial Fixed Dentures

Some people are only missing one or a few teeth and still look for a permanent solution. Rather than have a removable partial denture or opt for a dental bridge that will alter adjacent teeth, a partial fixed denture is a great alternative.

removable partial denture lower jaw

Partial fixed dentures use implants to replace one or a few teeth to match with your adjacent teeth. It is beneficial because it helps maintain your occlusion (bite), prevents other teeth from shifting, and is a higher quality option compared to removable appliances. 

Who is a Candidate for Permanent Dentures?

Unfortunately, not everyone is a good candidate for implant dentures. But with dental advances, your prosthodontist or cosmetic dentist can usually help you if you can maintain good oral health. 

In order for implants to osseointegrate successfully into the jawbone, you must have an adequate amount of bone. 

If you have significant jaw or bone loss from periodontal disease, you may require bone grafting in order for you to be a candidate for implants. 

Also, in order for permanent dentures to be successful, a person should not have any chronic underlying health conditions. This includes uncontrolled diabetes, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, or autoimmune disease.

Permanent Dentures Procedure: What to Expect

The permanent denture process is slightly more complicated and time-consuming than a traditional removable denture. This is because it requires surgery for dental implants. 

Some people require additional surgeries before the dental implant procedure. This is to help improve success rates if you lack sufficient jaw bone like bone grafting or a ridge or sinus augmentation.

The permanent denture process is broken down into several steps:

  1. Consultation and imaging. Your dentist will discuss your medical and dental history, perform a thorough clinical examination, and take any needed dental imaging. Many dentists will take a panoramic x-ray, a 3-D Cone Beam x-ray, and intraoral photographs.
  2. Extractions. If you need any teeth removed, your dentist will extract decayed or damaged teeth. Some people will need bone grafting at this stage to add sufficient bone quality and density for implant success.
  3. Implant placement. Once healed, your dentist will surgically insert dental implants into your bone to replace missing teeth. Sutures are placed to allow for healing. 
  4. Abutment and impressions. Once healed, your dentist will expose the implant and take impressions for your denture. You can select the shade and size of your teeth at this time.
  5. Insertion. Once your custom denture is fabricated, your denture is permanently screwed in to give you a new, beautiful smile. 

Pros and Cons of Permanent Dentures

People prefer permanent dentures because of their long-term success and improved stability compared to removable appliances. 

The pros of permanent dentures include: 

  • They look and feel natural
  • They prevent your jaw bone from deteriorating 
  • They give a more youthful appearance
  • They make it easier to chew, smile, and speak
  • They last longer than other types of dental treatment
  • They make it easier to clean and maintain good oral hygiene

Still, with any dental treatment, there are downsides. The main cons of permanent dentures are:

  • They require surgery
  • They can require more time to fabricate than removable appliances
  • They are very costly 
  • They require sufficient bone density

Snap-In Dentures vs. Permanent Dentures 

Implant dentures can be removable or permanent. Both have benefits depending on a patient’s needs.

A snap-in denture is a denture that hooks onto dental implants but can be removed when a person goes to sleep or wants to clean them. They work well for people who are missing teeth due to tooth decay or injury and want to restore their function and esthetics. 

3d render of implant partial denture

These dentures are an excellent option for people who want a more permanent solution than removable appliances like a conventional denture or partial denture. 

A downside of snap-in dentures is that the prosthesis can require repair or replacement over time. Patients will experience their implant abutment becoming loose or requiring tightening after some time. 

Permanent dentures are similar to snap-in dentures in that they require dental implants. 

However, they are a permanent option because your dentist will attach your denture to the dental implant where it cannot be removed at home. If there is a problem, your dentist will have to unscrew the appliance from the dental implant. 

Dental Implants vs. Permanent Dentures

If you are only missing a single tooth, a single dental implant may be the best option for you. Dental implants are the closest dental treatment that mimics natural teeth. Single implants are great for people who are missing teeth from tooth decay, trauma, or congenitally missing teeth. 

jaw with teeth and dental molar implant

An implant mimics your tooth root, while an artificial crown mimics your natural tooth. Implants are custom-made to look and feel like natural teeth. 

Permanent dentures are a solution for people missing all of their teeth. This usually results from severe tooth decay and periodontal disease. A permanent denture can restore the function and esthetics lost when all teeth are missing.

When a person is missing all of their teeth, it affects their entire overall health ranging from nutrition to gastrointestinal issues to temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD). People feel less confident to eat, smile, and laugh when they are missing all of their teeth. Tooth replacement is necessary for a good quality of life. 

All-on-4 Dental Implants

All-on-4 is a suitable option for people looking for immediate loading of new teeth. At the time of extractions, your dentist will insert four implants and four abutments into the jawbone because an overdenture is fitted. 

AdobeStock 203366795

A major benefit is reduced surgery time and healing time compared to other types of implant treatment. It has a high success rate compared to individual dental implants. 

Sometimes All-on-4 dental implants are referred to as All-on-4 dentures because it is used to replace an entire jaw of missing teeth. Patients have the option of choosing porcelain or zirconia crowns to fit over their custom acrylic base. 

Are Permanent Dentures Right For You?

If you wear a traditional denture and experience the difficulties of it slipping while eating or speaking, causing mouth sores, or require frequent relines, you may want to consider a permanent denture. 

A permanent denture offers a much higher quality of life than a conventional removable denture. It allows for more comfortable chewing and delivers a highly esthetic appliance compared to removable dentures. 

How Much Do Permanent Dentures Cost?

Cost is one of the major factors to consider when opting for a permanent denture. Your cost will vary based on the type of dentist you go to and if he/she is a cosmetic dentist. 

The price may also range based on the number of implants, the material of the denture, and if you require any preparatory surgeries like bone grafting. 

Permanent dentures typically cost an average of $6,000 to $8,000 per arch because of the surgery required and amount of time the dentist spends to plan and deliver your prosthetics. 

However, this price can widely vary and may be significantly more expensive.

Are Dentures Covered By Insurance?

Dentures are typically covered by your insurance. Most insurance plans will cover 50 percent of your denture, and the patient is responsible for the remainder. Denture costs will vary based on the quality of the denture. 

The average cost of a denture with dental insurance is $250 to $2,000 per denture or $500 to $4,000 for a complete set.


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