Implant-Supported Dentures

Unlike traditional dentures, implant-supported dentures anchor directly to your jawbone using dental implants. As a result, they offer more stability for chewing and speaking. There are removable and nonremovable implant-supported denture options, depending on your needs.

Overview

Implant-supported dentures and how they "snap on" to dental implants in jaw.
Implant-supported dentures attach to dental implants in your jaw, offering more stability compared to traditional dentures.

What are implant-supported dentures?

An implant-supported denture is an oral appliance that replaces several teeth at once. It’s similar to a traditional denture. But instead of resting on top of your gums, an implant-supported denture attaches directly to your jawbone using dental implants. Dental implants are tiny threaded posts that replace missing teeth roots. Implant-supported dentures offer improved stability for chewing, eating and speaking.

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Who needs implant-supported dentures?

Your healthcare provider may recommend implant-supported dentures if you’re missing most or all of your teeth. People who are missing several teeth in sporadic areas can benefit from implant-supported partial dentures. Your dentist can tell you which option is best for your situation.

To qualify for implant-supported dentures, you must have enough bone in your jaw to accommodate the dental implants. In many cases, dental bone grafts can help add volume and density to areas where you’ve lost bone.

Do implant-supported dentures come out?

When it comes to implant-supported dentures, there are fixed and removable options. The treatment that’s right for you depends on several factors, including the health of your jawbone, your medical history and your personal preferences.

Removable implant-supported dentures

This type of denture “snaps on” to dental implants in your jawbone. It stays securely in place until you’re ready to remove it.

With this option, you can take your dentures out every day for easy cleaning.

Fixed implant-supported dentures

A fixed denture — sometimes called a hybrid denture — attaches permanently to dental implants in your jawbone. You can’t remove it at home, but your dentist can remove it for maintenance when necessary.

With this option, you can’t take your dentures out to clean them. You’ll brush them just like natural teeth, and you can clean underneath them using floss threaders, interproximal brushes and other special cleaning tools.

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Are implant-supported dentures effective?

Implant-supported dentures are a lifelike and effective solution to tooth loss. Unlike their traditional counterparts, implant-supported dentures won’t shift, slip or wobble when you chew, eat or speak. In fact, many traditional denture wearers eventually upgrade to implant-supported dentures because they’re more comfortable and secure.

What is the difference between All-on-4® and implant-supported dentures?

The term “All-on-4®” refers to a specific type of fixed implant denture. This method replaces an entire arch of missing teeth using just four dental implants.

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Procedure Details

How are implant-supported dentures placed?

The implant-supported dentures process usually requires multiple steps. But exact treatment depends on your specific situation. Your dentist can let you know what to anticipate.

Pre-prosthetic surgery

Before your dentist can place implants, they’ll need to extract any decayed or damaged teeth. They’ll also perform bone grafting in any areas where you’ve lost jawbone density. Depending on your situation, you may need to heal for a few months before implant placement.

Your dentist will give you a healing denture to wear during this time.

Dental implant placement

During this procedure, a surgeon (usually a periodontist or oral surgeon) will place the dental implants into your jawbone. Generally, it takes about three to six months for the implants to integrate (fuse) with your jawbone.

You’ll wear your healing denture while you wait for your implants to integrate.

Dental impressions

Once your dental implants have healed, your dentist will take impressions of your upper and lower dental arches. They’ll send the impressions to a dental lab so a technician can begin crafting your new dentures.

Denture placement

Finally, your dentist will attach your new custom denture to your implants. They can also demonstrate proper oral hygiene practices, as well as how to clean and care for your denture.

How long do implant-supported dentures last?

With proper care and maintenance, dental implants can last a lifetime. For best results, you’ll need to replace your overdenture (the denture that goes on top of your implants) every 15 to 20 years.

Risks / Benefits

What are the pros and cons of implant-supported dentures?

Benefits of implant-supported dentures

Implant-supported dentures offer a number of advantages. For example, they:

  • Don’t slip like traditional dentures can.
  • Help prevent bone loss in your jaw. (This is because the implants mimic your natural teeth roots and stimulate the nerves in your jaw.)
  • Look like natural teeth.
  • Restore oral health, function and appearance.
  • Last much longer than traditional dentures.

Risks of implant-supported dentures

Implant-supported dentures carry some risks, though they’re usually minimal. Possible complications include:

  • Infection.
  • Nerve damage.
  • Injury to your mouth.
  • Sinus perforation (a hole in your sinus membrane).

Recovery and Outlook

What is the recovery time?

Following dental implant placement, most people feel normal within one week. Your implants will continue to heal and integrate with your jaw over the next few months. In the meantime, you’ll wear a healing denture. A healing denture is functional, but it doesn’t attach to your dental implants. This allows your implants to heal properly.

On average, it takes between three and six months to heal after dental implant placement. It can take longer in some instances, especially if you had bone grafting, as well.

When can I go back to work or school?

In most instances, you can return to routine activities in two to three days. To reduce your risk of discomfort and bleeding, avoid strenuous exercise for at least 48 hours after your dental implant surgery.

Is eating with implant-supported dentures safe?

Yes. Once your dental implants heal and your dentist attaches your final denture, you can eat all of your favorite foods without worry.

How can I take care of my implant-supported dentures?

Proper maintenance helps ensure that your new implant-supported dentures last as long as possible. To keep them in excellent condition:

  • Clean your dentures at least twice daily.
  • Soak removable dentures in a denture solution overnight.
  • Brush fixed dentures with a soft-bristled toothbrush and nonabrasive toothpaste.
  • Brush and floss thoroughly around your dental implants.
  • Visit your dentist regularly for exams and cleanings.

When to Call the Doctor

When should I see my dentist?

If you’ve had dental implants placed, call your dentist if you notice:

  • Severe bleeding.
  • Pain that doesn’t improve with medication.
  • Pus or infection near your implants.
  • A fever of 101 degrees Fahrenheit (38.22 degrees Celsius) or higher.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Tooth loss can have a negative impact on your self-esteem and quality of life. But teeth replacement can help you regain your confidence. Implant-supported dentures replace missing teeth, restoring oral health and function for a long-lasting, beautiful smile. To explore your teeth replacement options, schedule a visit with your dentist.

Medically Reviewed

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 10/18/2022.

Learn more about our editorial process.

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