Implant Retained Dentures

Denture implant cost and procedure information

Implant retained dentures

Perhaps in the course of researching your options to replace missing teeth, you encountered the term ‘implant retained dentures’ and are curious to find out more. Well, you’ve come to the right place. On this page, we explain what dental implants are; the types available; the pros and cons of each type and whether you are a suitable candidate.

For your benefit, we also compare and contrast the available implant options and explain why you might choose one over the other. Anticipating the kinds of questions you might like addressed, we have added other useful information, including what the process of having implant retained dentures fitted entails, and an indication of the costs involved.

What is a denture implant?

A denture implant is comprised of two separate components. The first is a surgically implanted metal post that replaces tooth roots in the jawbone. While the second component is a denture manufactured and fitted by a prosthetist which is secured by the implanted posts and replaces missing teeth.

Why would I need one?

Because the implants provide anchoring points for the dentures, they overcome commonly reported problems like looseness of the denture in the mouth, thereby giving superior stability.

Am I a candidate for dental implants?

You are a candidate for dental implants if the following applies:

  • You have one or more missing teeth
  • Your jawbone has reached full growth
  • You have adequate bone to secure the implants or are able to have a bone graft
  • You have healthy oral tissues
  • You don’t have health conditions that will affect bone healing
  • You are unable or unwilling to wear dentures
  • You want to improve your speech
  • You are willing to commit several months to the process
  • You don’t smoke tobacco (ref)

Of course, since everyone is different, a clinical assessment of your suitability will need to be undertaken by your oral surgeon.

Two different types of denture implants

There are two different types of denture implants:

  1. Implant retained dentures; and
  2. Implant supported dentures.
 Northern Rivers Denture Clinic only manufactures implant retained dentures.

What is the difference between an implant retained denture and an implant supported denture?

Fixed versus removable

The most notable difference between an implant retained denture (IRD) and an implant supported denture (ISD) is removability.An implant supported denture is screwed in by the dentist and cannot be removed at home. Whereas the implant retained denture is removable with only the posts implanted into the jawbone being fixed.

In the mouth

In terms of pressure on the mouth architecture, the two dentures are quite different. The implant supported denture disperses biting and chewing pressure onto the jawbone and gums. In contrast, the implant retained denture disperses the pressure of chewing and biting mostly across the gums. This means fewer implants are required. Further, the implants can often be placed in areas of the jaw where the bone is naturally thicker and stronger, thereby minimising or even eliminating the need for bone grafts (ref).


The need for more posts to secure the fixed implant supported denture make it a more expensive option.In some cases, depending on bone density, bone grafts and tissue regeneration are needed, therefore requiring more visits to the oral surgeon.This further increases the expense of implant supported dentures.

What is an implant retained denture?

The use of multiple names to describe the same device can be confusing for patients. The implant retained denture, is also known as an overdenture, an implant supported overdenture, or snap-on dentures. Therefore, to avoid further confusion, from here on we will refer to them as the implant retained denture.

The implant retained denture

Essentially, the implant retained denture is held in place by between 2-6 metal posts inserted into either the upper or lower jaw-bone. More commonly, implants are inserted into the lower jaw because patients generally find holding lower dentures in place more difficult than top dentures.

How much do implant retained dentures cost?

There are two separate oral health practitioners involved when you choose the implant retained denture option. Therefore, two separate cost structures apply.

Firstly, the greater cost involved is the surgery to implant the posts which hold the denture in place. Secondly, there is the lesser expense of manufacturing the denture which attaches to the implanted posts. This means you will get two quotes: one from your oral surgeon and one from your dental prosthetist.

Implant retained denture cost – denture component

Item NumberDescriptionCost
711Full upper denture$1100 (from)
712Full lower denture$1100 (from)
735Precision implant or magnetic attachment$500 (each)

 Implant retained denture cost – oral surgeon component

Surgical insertion of implant (per implant)$2950*
Locator (per locator)$650-$700*
* Quoted by local oral surgeon (2019) (2019)


Interest free denture payment plans

You shouldn’t have to put off getting new dentures because of budget constraints. That’s why we offer a range of flexible payment options to give you back your smile.

More Information

The dental implant size

The size of the implant depends on the jawbone thickness. Those patients with less bone density have the option of mini implants. A full denture needs between 2 – 6 strategically placed implants serving as artificial tooth roots to hold the denture or false teeth in place.

How it works

The overdenture sits on two to six implant posts to hold the denture in place on either upper or lower jaws (more common on the lower), spreads the pressure on the denture between the implants and gums. Implants are normally placed towards the front of the jaw, and the denture rests partly on the implants and partly on the back of the gums. Implant retained dentures perform in the same way as regular dentures where most of the force that is applied when biting or chewing, is transferred to your gums.

Northern Rivers Denture Clinic only manufactures implant retained dentures.

What are the advantages of implant retained dentures?

  • Implant retained dentures are more time and cost-effective than other implant options.
  • The implant retained denture relies on the implants to hold them in place rather than the natural suction of a conventional denture providing greater stability. The result is you can talk, eat and laugh with confidence.
  • Further, because of this stability, there is less chance of the denture rubbing on your gums and affecting surrounding soft tissues, resulting in a better fit and greater comfort for longer.
  • Less of the palate is obstructed with implant retained dentures, therefore the taste and texture of foods and drink are more readily experienced. This means eating and drinking is more natural and enjoyable.
  • The implanted metal posts in the jawbone help with the prevention of further bone loss. Consequently, dentures fit better and do not need to be replaced so frequently. Facial structure is maintained affording a more youthful appearance.
  • Implant retained dentures require less bone density than other implant options
  • Even though the denture is held in place by dental implants, you can still remove it like a regular denture
  • Implant retained dentures are an alternative option for patients who may not want the expense of implant supported dentures.

What are the disadvantages of implant retained dentures?

It’s important to remember that any surgery, including dental implant surgery, poses some health risks. Conducting careful research into your procedure enables you to pose questions to your oral health practitioner which may set your mind at ease. While not common, The Mayo Clinic advises problems encountered may include:

  • Infection at the implant site
  • Injury or damage to surrounding structures, such as other teeth or blood vessels
  • Nerve damage, which can cause pain, numbness or tingling in your natural teeth, gums, lips or chin
  • Sinus problems, when dental implants placed in the upper jaw protrude into one of your sinus cavities.

The Australian Dental Prosthetists Association recommends seeking a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner before proceeding.

Can implants fail?

A study outlining the factors affecting the survival rate of dental implants conducted in 2017 acknowledges that despite dental science advancements in the use of dental implants, failures can still occur. Reasons for this include failure of bone and implanted post to integrate within the first several weeks or months. Issues like bone necrosis, bacterial infection, surgical trauma, inadequate initial stability are among reasons for this.

Given these findings, it’s wise to do your own research and choose your practitioners wisely, before having the implant procedure. A thorough initial assessment to determine your suitability for implants can mitigate the possibility of failure. Similarly, careful attention to your practitioner’s post-op instructions gives you the best chance of success. Seek more than one opinion if you have doubts.

Implant retained denture

Initial consultations with your prosthetist and oral surgeon

Although you will see them separately, your prosthetist and your oral surgeon collaborate throughout the process to give you the best possible result. During your initial consultations, your dental prosthetist will take impressions of your natural teeth and gums on which the temporary denture will be based. Your oral surgeon will assess your individual medical and dental histories to determine your suitability for dental implants. X rays will be taken as part of this assessment, and scans too, if deemed necessary.

What is the process of getting an implant retained denture?

Seeing your oral surgeon

The process of getting implant retained dentures involves separate visits to your prosthetist for the denture components, and to your oral surgeon for the post implants. Your oral surgeon will conduct two separate surgical procedures which can take between three and six months.

  1. The first procedure involves surgically implanting metal posts into your jawbone.
  2. The second procedure takes place some three to six months later and involves exposing the top of the implanted posts in readiness for attaching the implanted denture.

The timing for the second procedure depends on where the implants are placed. If the posts are implanted in the upper jaw, then you can expect the second phase of the implant procedure to be performed 5-6 months later. If the implants are inserted into the lower jaw then only 3-4 months is necessary for your bone and the implants to integrate or biologically ‘fuse’ together.

During the interim period between procedures, your prosthetist may need to make you a temporary denture to replace missing teeth and serve as a ‘placeholder’ until you get your final denture. If you already wear a complete denture, you won’t require a temporary denture.(ref) 

Seeing Northern Rivers Denture Clinic

When your mouth has healed, your prosthetist will take impressions of your gums and the abutments to make a plaster model of your jaw.  He uses this model to construct the metal framework for your denture. Once this fits correctly with the abutments, artificial teeth are temporarily set in wax onto the framework. We then schedule an appointment for a ‘try-in’.  This is when your prosthetist places the wax model of your denture, complete with teeth, into your mouth to check for fit and appearance. This gives you a good idea of how your new dentures will look. Once satisfied with the result, your permanent denture is made. We fit your new denture during your final appointment when your prosthetist will explain to you how to care and maintain your new implant retained dentures. Generally this process takes about four appointments to complete.

Is there a choice of denture type when getting an implant retained denture?

Yes. You have a choice between our premium, custom and standard dentures for your implant retained denture. See the table below.

The Standard Full DentureThe Custom Full DentureThe Premium Full Denture
Standard full denturesCustom full denturePremium full denture
Standard acrylicHigh impact acrylicHigh impact acrylic
Good tooth quality - VitapanBetter tooth quality - VitapanBest tooth quality - Vitapan
Heat cure compression processing systemHeat cure compression processing systemIvoclar Ivobase injection system
1 x personalised change at try-in preview2 x personalised changes at try-in previewPersonalised changes at try-in preview
Customised tooth arrangementCustomised tooth arrangement
Unmatched fit, comfort and security
Material is lightweight and odor resistant
Highly personalised

Frequently asked questions on implant retained dentures

What are the cleaning instructions for an implant retained denture?

The denture component of your implant retained dentures can be removed and cleaned in the same way as a normal denture.

  • Regular cleaning with a soft bristle brush and Australian pure soap, effectively cleans the denture and helps avoid stain build up
  • Avoid abrasives like normal toothpaste or other household cleaners which can erode or scratch the denture
  • Be sure to hold the denture low in the sink over a face-washer to avoid breaking it in case it should slip from your fingers. Read our blog White, Bright Smiles: how to keep your dentures sparkling
    for further information on how and why you should look after your denture.
Can implant retained dentures be repaired?

Yes. The denture component can be repaired in the same way as traditional dentures.

Can the implant retained denture be relined?

While it is possible to reline an implant retained denture, it is rarely necessary. This is because dental implants halt bone atrophy by mimicking tooth roots and providing stimulation. Without the need to support teeth, the jawbone would shrink and lose its shape and strength.

What maintenance is required for an implant retained denture?

In terms of maintenance, implant retained dentures must be viewed in the same way as teeth. Since prevention is always better than cure, periodic check-ups are recommended to avoid the possibility of gum disease and other issues which may compromise your oral health and therefore the continuing viability of your implant retained dentures. Seeing your prosthetist and oral surgeon or dentist on a regular basis will ensure your oral health, comfort and the long term success of your implant retained dentures (ref).

Are adjustments to my implant retained denture free of charge?

Yes. Although rarely required, we tighten the implants free of charge.

 Be aware that any surgical invasive procedure carries risks. With this in mind, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner, before proceeding.

Call (07) 5536 4241 (07) 5536 4241




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