Implant-Retained Dentures vs. Conventional Dentures: Making the Best Choice for Your Smile

implant-retained dentures

Dentures have been a common and effective solution to the challenges that come with edentulism (tooth loss) for decades. However, there have been massive advancements in the design and efficacy of dentures in recent years, the most significant of which is the introduction of implant-retained dentures.

Due to this, people often find it difficult to choose between innovative and promising implant dentures or stick to the old-school conventional dentures. Understanding the difference between these two denture options is crucial for making a decision between the two.

In this blog, we’ll outline the basic and major differences between implant dentures and conventional dentures so you can select the option that’s best suited to your dental needs.

Conventional Dentures VS Implant-Retained Dentures: What’s The Basic Difference?

Let’s start with the basics and establish our foundational understanding of the difference between conventional dentures and implant dentures.

Conventional dentures are ‘removable’ prosthetic devices (fake teeth) that restore tooth loss in people who have a full arch of missing teeth. These dentures rest on the patient’s gums and achieve their stability by means of the natural suction forces created between the gum and the prosthesis. Additional stability may sometimes be achieved by using denture adhesives. 

Implant-retained dentures, on the other hand, are ‘fixed’ prosthetic devices for full arch teeth replacement. Unlike conventional dentures, implant dentures are fixed to the abutments of dental implants embedded in the patient’s jaw. These implants (metal posts) are inserted into the jawbone at the sites of missing teeth, where they simulate natural tooth roots and provide a strong anchorage for the attachment of dentures. This gives an exceptional amount of stability to the dentures, making them a perfect substitute for natural teeth. 

Implant dentures can also be removable, in which case they’re referred to as implant-supported dentures or snap-on overdentures. These dentures also include dental implants, but the dentures they employ are not fixed; rather, they ‘snap’ onto retentive attachments present on the implant. 

How Are Implant Dentures Better Than Conventional Dentures? A Comparative Analysis 

Unlike in the past, when edentulous people solely relied on conventional dentures, implant dentures are now becoming a treatment of choice for such patients and are well on their way to becoming the gold standard for full arch dental restoration. This is due to the increased benefits offered by implant dentures, which are discussed as follows:

Increased Stability And Comfort 

If you ask a conventional denture wearer about the major complaint they have regarding their dentures, then they’d most definitely point towards poor denture balance (as reported by most conventional denture wearers in a study conducted on a similar topic). This tendency of conventional dentures to slip and shift inside the patient’s mouth makes them extremely uncomfortable for the patients, especially during eating or speaking. A satisfactory and comfortable level of stability is not achieved with these dentures, even with the use of advanced adhesives.

This is not the case with implant-retained dentures. Their incorporation of dental implants provides a solid foundation for attachment, helping the denture stay firmly in place. This exceptional stability allows patients to chew, eat, and speak with utmost confidence, enhancing their overall comfort. Moreover, the increased stability of implant dentures allows you to enjoy a diverse diet without worrying about them breaking or digging into your gums.

Bone Loss Prevention 

One of the most grave consequences of tooth loss is the decline in jawbone. When teeth are lost, their underlying jawbone starts to deteriorate owing to the lack of stimulation. Conventional dentures have little to no preventive effect on this jawbone loss, as they merely sit atop the patient’s gums and have no direct interaction with their jawbone.

Conversely, implant dentures significantly decrease the jawbone loss associated with tooth loss. Dental implants stimulate the jawbone, just like natural tooth do. This causes preservation of the jawbone, which also helps maintain the patient’s facial structure and prevents the sunken appearances that often come with long-term prosthetic use.

Improved Aesthetics

According to a study, unfavorable aesthetics are the most common complaint of traditional denture wearers (besides chewing discomfort). This is due to the use of outdated materials used in conventional dentures, which gives them a bulky and artificial look. Also, they may lose their fit in the patient’s mouth with changes in the patient’s jaws and gums, which also contributes to their unnatural look.

Implant dentures, on the other hand, offer a perfectly natural appearance. The use of modern materials (such as zirconia) in dentures gives them an aesthetically pleasing yet natural look. Also, the precise denture fit provided by the implants allows them to closely mimic natural teeth.

Increased Cost-Effectiveness

The cost of conventional dentures is significantly lesser than implant dentures, making them more affordable for people. However, this affordability is only superficial as conventional dentures require frequent replacements and adjustments, incurring ongoing costs in the patient’s pocket.

On the other hand, implant dentures are apparently more expensive than conventional ones, but they are a long-term investment in the patient’s dental health. Their long-term benefits offset their initial higher cost, making them a truly cost-effective solution to teeth replacement.

Ease Of Maintenance 

Maintaining conventional dentures is a daunting task – they not only require daily soaking and cleaning after meals but also the application of adhesives for retention. This cleaning routine can be very inconvenient for some patients as it’s quite time consuming.

However, while implant dentures too require regular cleaning, they are comparatively easier to maintain. They don’t require the application of adhesives and can be easily cleaned as you clean your natural teeth. Also, their secure fit prevents food impaction, which further simplifies oral hygiene.

Which Option To Choose?

While the superior benefits of implant dentures that we’ve just discussed make them an undisputed winner for teeth replacement, patients should still consider the following factors while choosing between conventional and implant dentures:

  • Jawbone Health – implant dentures necessitate good quality jawbone, so patients must have it to qualify for their placement. Otherwise, they may either get bone-grafts to increase their jawbone health or get conventional dentures if they aren’t comfortable with getting bone grafts.
  • Budget – while the upfront cost of implant dentures is higher than that of conventional dentures, it’s a long-lasting investment in your smile. Patients should consider this cost-effectiveness while evaluating their budgets for teeth replacement.
  • Personal Preferences – if you need permanent fake teeth that don’t look fake and feel as stable as your natural teeth, then going with implant dentures is your best bet. However, if you can bear the discomfort and instability of conventional dentures, then they may be the treatment of choice for you.
  • Food Variety – Implant dentures allow you to enjoy a wide variety of food. Conversely, conventional dentures restrict you to a soft diet. Keep these dietary preferences in mind while selecting between the two options.

Conclusion 

While choosing between conventional and implant dentures ultimately boils down to the patient’s personal preferences and budget, implant dentures offer superior benefits as compared to conventional dentures. They’re a high quality, long-term teeth replacement solution for missing teeth.

For more details on the benefits of implant dentures and your candidacy for this treatment, schedule a FREE consultation with the implant experts practicing at 3D Smile Clinic, a premium dental practice located in Texas, USA. Our personalized professional advice will help you achieve the best possible solution for your dental needs.

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