Implant Retained Den­tures vs Implant Sup­port­ed Dentures

Curi­ous about the dif­fer­ence between implant retained den­tures and implant sup­port­ed den­tures? These terms are often used inter­change­ably, but they are actu­al­ly very dif­fer­ent procedures.

Both procedures are used to replace an entire arch of teeth following tooth loss. This could be down to injury, illness, ageing or poor oral health. To help preserve the facial shape and avoid the sunken appearance that comes with tooth loss, dental implants help to maintain the function of the jaw. By using multiple dental implants, we can restore an entire arch of teeth, supported on 4-6 implants.

To help you to understand the core differences and what these choices mean for your treatment, we’ve put together this helpful guide. Read on to learn more about implant retained dentures and implants supported dentures, and how you can choose the right treatment for you.

What is the difference between implant supported and implants retained dentures?

You might see some dentists using these treatment names to mean the same thing, but there are distinct differences between the treatment plans.

With implant retained dentures, the denture is fixed to the titanium implants in your jaw. These can only be removed by a dentist. With implant supported dentures, the denture is removable and “snaps” into place on the implant abutments.

The name doesn’t refer to the number of implants you have or the length of the implants, it’s only about whether the denture is retained, or if it is supported by the implants.

Benefits of removable dentures

There are many reasons you might choose to have removable dentures over fixed dentures. You might be quite used to wearing a denture now and have established a routine for caring for it. In this case, you might not be used to wearing anything in your mouth at night, so you might be more drawn to the idea of a removable denture.

With a removable denture, you can easily take it out to clean it. There is very little chance of getting food caught under your denture, which reduces the risk of gum disease and complications with your implants.

Benefits of fixed dentures

You might also be more drawn to the idea of a fixed denture. In general, an implant retained denture will be more secure. Only your dentist will be able to remove it. This means that you’ll feel more secure when biting down. For many people, this means that they can put more foods back on the menu that they might avoid with a removable denture.

Another benefit of fixed dentures is that you can often be fitted with a load-bearing denture much sooner. In some cases, it could be on the same day as having your implants placed. It’s uncommon for load-bearing implants to be placed on the same day with removable dentures, as there is the risk that removing and replacing the denture could disrupt the healing process. With this in mind, your dentist will likely want your implants to heal before placing a load-bearing denture.

How to choose the right one for you

The right solution for you will likely be determined by a trip to the dentist to explore your options. You should meet with a dental implant specialist to learn more about the treatment and what options are available to you.

You’ll need to think about your lifestyle now and your lifestyle in the future. A fixed denture might be suitable now, but you also might want to think about switching to a removable one further down the line.

You should also think about your capacity to care for your teeth. Will you be able to keep up with the oral hygiene requirements? Likewise, you should also think about if you are very forgetful. If you’re likely to lose or break your denture when you take it out, then a fixed version might be more appropriate.

The procedure and recovery time is also likely to be a factor. With removable dentures, you will typically have to wear a temporary denture while your implants heal. This could impact your confidence and your dietary choices.

With a fixed denture, you might have a load-bearing denture placed sooner, but you might need to adjust your diet to avoid hard and crunchy foods while the implants heal.

Final thoughts

If you’re thinking about the dental implant procedure and how it could help you, the first step is to book an appointment with our team. During this initial consultation, we’ll ask questions about your lifestyle and preferences to get a better idea of which denture implant would be right for you. 

We’ll also scan your mouth and jaw to make sure you are a suitable candidate. And finally, we can also outline the payment options available to help you to turn your dream of a full mouth restoration into reality.