NORTHEAST TEXAS PERIODONTAL SPECIALISTS
Nathan E. Hodges, DDS, MS

What Are Implant-Supported Dentures

Dentures are a great way for patients to restore a full arch or both arches of their mouth if they are missing a significant number of teeth. There are a few different types of dentures including traditional dentures, partial dentures, rockwall implant supported dentures, and implant retained dentures. Traditional dentures are what most people think of when they hear the word “denture” and are held in place using suction and a denture adhesive. Implant dentures can be either removable, as is the case with implant retained dentures, or fixed such as implant supported dentures.

Implant Supported Denture

An implant supported denture is a dental prosthesis that is held in place using dental implants. This type of denture is fixed in place using screws or cement to secure it to the implants. This type of denture is significantly more stable and secure than a traditional denture which can slip around in the patient's mouth causing irritation and sores on the gum tissue. An implant supported denture is securely fixed in place and cannot slip around in the mouth. This type of denture cannot be removed by the patient for oral hygiene or sleeping, only by a Dentist.

Implant supported dentures can be a full denture or a partial. For a partial denture, one or two implants are placed directly into the jawbone and the partial denture is secured onto the implants. A partial works to replace a few teeth in one area of the mouth. A traditional partial denture is held in place using metal or acrylic clasps or even cement to attach to healthy neighboring teeth but an implant supported partial does not negatively affect neighboring teeth.

For a full denture, 4 to 8 implants are placed in the arch and a full denture is secured onto the implants. An implant supported full denture is also called an “all-on-four” (or six or eight, depending on how many implants you require).

Oral Hygiene and Implant Supported Dentures

Caring for your implant supported denture is as simple as caring for natural teeth! It is important to brush your denture with a soft bristled toothbrush and a non-abrasive toothpaste at least twice a day to remove food particles and stimulate blood flow to the gum tissue. A WaterPik can be a useful tool for cleaning under your denture where regular floss may be more challenging. It is important to continue seeing your dentist for regular professional cleanings at least three or four times a year. During this cleaning, your dentist will remove the denture and the hygienist will clean your implants and make sure everything is intact.

Implant supported dentures are more expensive to start but do not need to be replaced as often as traditional dentures so in the long run, they may be the more economic choice. A traditional denture can last up to 10 years but will likely need to be adjusted periodically. Since a traditional denture sits on top of the gum tissue, the jawbone can begin to deteriorate and cause the denture to become ill fitting. An implant supported denture has the added advantage of the implants which stimulate bone regeneration and can be a healthier option. Dental implants can last a lifetime with proper care and maintenance so only the denture itself may need to be replaced at some point due to regular wear and tear or if there is damage.

Cleaning Implant Supported Dentures