Not everyone has the resources or the anatomy to completely replace a totally missing dentition with dental implants, or perhaps not right away. Implant overdentures can offer an intermediate solution, a blending of both removable and fixed components.
These combination restorations can offer the superior aesthetics of removable prostheses, where much of the jaw bone has been lost and can't be made up by implants alone, along with the stability and reliability of several implants that don't lose bone around them and don't decay. There are two categories of restorations that blend both implants and dentures.
Implant Supported Overdentures
In this situation, two to four implants are used to support an overlying removable denture, thereby greatly increasing the stability of the prosthesis and maintaining the bone in the places were the implants are located. This offers the advantage of both removable and implant services at a lower cost.
Hybrid (Fixed-Detachable) Dentures
Hybrid dentures go one step further in combining the characteristics of a removable denture with the fixed nature of implants. They provide not only teeth but the gum tissues in the prosthesis just as is done with an overdenture. The difference is that by using one or two more implants, it is possible to permanently attach the denture/teeth components to the implants as seen to the left.