Implant retained dentures - what are they?

Implant retained dentureThere are two different kinds of denture implants offering an effective option for those wishing to replace missing teeth in a way that most closely emulates the experience of natural teeth; implant retained dentures and implant supported dentures. If you are considering a denture implant, read on to discover important information about being a candidate for removable implant dentures, implant retained dentures cost, the pros and cons of the two different types of denture implants and what is involved getting them. But firstly, we define what denture implants are, then we explain how implant retained dentures differ from denture supported implants.

What is a denture implant?

Both implant retained dentures and implant supported dentures have two main components. The first component is the metal posts surgically implanted into the wearer’s jawbone to simulate the stabilising function of natural tooth roots. The second element is the denture which is secured in the mouth by the implanted posts thus replacing the missing teeth.

Lower denture implants are more common due to the superior stability they offer over normal dentures. Some patients find lower dentures more challenging than top dentures to hold in place because of reduced suction. Your dental prosthetist will advise and collaborate with your oral surgeon to facilitate your denture implant for full upper or full lower dentures, or partial dentures.

So what is the difference?
Implant retained dentures versus implant supported dentures

The essential differences between an implant retained denture and an implant supported denture is removability and price. The implant retained denture is designed to be removed, snapping off the implanted posts that secure it (usually between 2-6 posts), while the implant supported denture is fixed, having been screwed in place by your dentist. This is why these types of dentures are sometimes referred to as a ‘screw in dentures’.

Fewer surgically implanted posts are required with a removable implant retained denture because chewing and biting pressure is borne by the gums, making this a more affordable denture option. Whereas the implant supported denture is fixed and not removable, therefore biting and chewing pressure is dispersed on to the jaw and gums requiring more implanted posts to secure it. The expense may be further increased if bone grafts are required to allow for more post implants often needed by implant supported dentures.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of implant retained dentures?

Advantages of implant retained dentures

  • The increased stability removeable implant dentures afford, means you can eat and speak confidently. This is an especially beneficial element for patients who struggle to keep good suction and therefore stable lower denture.
  • Since by definition, the implant retained denture is secured by the implanted posts, the denture doesn’t depend on greater palate coverage for suction, so is less bulky in the mouth making for a better tactile experience.
  • Greater stability offered by the implant retained denture means better fit and comfort and less chance of sore spots, gums being rubbed, or mouth tissue irritated.
  • Bone loss can occur when teeth are missing causing changes to the mouth anatomy and facial structure. Posts implanted into the jaw assist in preventing this. Therefore, fit is maintained so dentures don’t need to be replaced as often and facial structure is preserved maintaining a more youthful appearance.
  • The implant retained denture can be easily removed for maintenance and cleaning
  • The implant retained dentures are more time economic and less expensive because they require less bone density.

Disadvantages of implant retained dentures

  • All surgery imposes some risk on the patient. It’s crucial therefore, that you conduct careful research into any surgical procedure you are considering. Be prepared to ask informed questions of your health practitioner. Disclose any underlying health issues you may have so you can discuss their possible impact on the success of your procedure with your health practitioners.
  • The following points of disadvantage are derived from the Mayo Clinic. While not common, the problems encountered may include the following:
    • Infection is always a concern where there are open wounds
    • Damage to surrounding mouth tissue, teeth, bone, or blood vessels.
    • Damage to nerves may cause pain, numbness or tingling to adjacent areas like sinuses where dental implants protrude into sinus cavities.
  • The Australian Dental Prosthetists Association (ADPA) recommends you seek a second opinion from a qualified health practitioner before you proceed. Carefully following post-operative advice gives you the best chance of a successful outcome.

How much are implant retained dentures?

For both implant retained dentures and implant supported dentures, the denture implant process requires two separate health practitioners, therefore, two different cost structures apply.

You can expect the oral surgery to perform insertion of the posts will be the most expensive part of the exercise, while the denture manufacture will be the lesser part of the implant retained dentures cost.

Firstly, you will need a quote from your oral surgeon who will perform surgery to implant the posts on which to attach the removable implant denture. Secondly, you will need a quote from your dental prosthetist who will craft your implant retained denture.

See table for approximate costs. Since each patient’s needs vary, a more definitive cost will be obtained during your initial consultation with your dental prosthetist and your oral surgeon.

Interest free denture payment plans

Denture implants procedure – Where do I begin?

You will need to make separate appointments with your dental prosthetist and your oral surgeon. Your oral surgeon will assess your suitability for implant dentures based on your general health and dental requirements. Only the process for implant retained dentures is described here, since Northern Rivers Denture Clinic does not supply implant supported dentures. For your convenience, we offer a mobile denture service for the denture aspect of the procedure, to alleviate the burden on less mobile patients.

The surgery phase of implant retained dentures process

To begin the process, you will attend your oral surgeon for two separate surgical procedures between 3 to 6 months apart. The first procedure is to implant the metal posts into your jaw, while during your second appointment excessive gum tissue will be removed to expose the top of the implanted posts allowing for the implant retained denture to be attached. There is a difference in healing time between implants, depending on whether they are placed in the upper jaw or lower jaw. This is due to differing bone thickness in upper and lower jaws and the time it takes for the posts and bone to integrate.

However, you don’t need to be concerned about being without teeth during this time. Your dental prosthetist can make you a temporary ‘placeholder’ denture to replace missing teeth. Alternatively, you can continue to wear your complete denture if you have one.

The denture phase of the implant retained dentures process

Once your mouth is sufficiently healed, the second phase of your implant retained denture process will begin. You will see your dental prosthetist who takes impressions of your gums from which a plaster model is constructed. A wax model complete with teeth, is made from this model and tried in your mouth to determine best fit and appearance. At this point you will get a good idea of what the end result will be and final adjustments will be made. Your new permanent implant retained denture will then be completed and fitted. You can expect the described process to take place over approximately four appointments.

Do I have a choice of denture with implants?

Northern Rivers Denture Clinic is happy to advise on your denture options available for denture implants. Our comprehensive range can be viewed as actual models so you can see and feel them to get a sense of what to expect. For more information on our range of full dentures, visit our full denture page by clicking the button below.

Frequently asked questions

Not all denture implants are the same. Implant supported dentures are screwed in and fixed. They cannot be removed except by your dentist. On the other hand, you can easily remove the implant retained dentures yourself for cleaning and maintenance.

The number of posts you require will differ according to your choice of denture implant type, your degree of bone density and whether you need full denture implants to replace all your teeth or upper or lower partial denture implants to replace just a few. Generally, 2 – 4 posts are required to secure an implant retained lower denture which is the most common.

An implant retained denture is a removeable prosthetic device which is secured in the mouth by clipping on to surgically implanted metal posts in your jawbone.

The price of implant dentures varies according to which of two types you choose: the removeable implant retained denture or the non- removeable implant supported denture. The implant supported denture is fixed into your mouth and incurs greater expense. Conversely, the implant retained denture requires less healing time and is more time and cost effective. Since two separate health clinicians are required to complete the denture implant process, you will need to get two separate quotes. Our Tweed heads based clinic covering Banora Point andTweed Heads South denture requirements, only manufactures the implant retained denture.

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We believe in informed decisions. That's why we offer free 30-minute consultations to all our patients, new and existing. During this no-pressure appointment, we'll discuss your denture needs and goals, provide a personalised treatment plan and clear cost estimate, with no obligation to proceed. We want you to feel comfortable and empowered.

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