A traditional denture (also known as false teeth) is a restoration constructed to replace missing teeth that is supported by surrounding soft (gums) and hard tissues (jaw bone) in your mouth. This type of denture is removable by the patient. It should be noted that when a tooth is removed and as we age, the bone that surrounded it begins to deteriorate. As this bone disappears, traditional dentures, as they rely on your bone and gums, will lose their support and often become ill-fitting or loose. Patient satisfaction with traditional dentures is often low for this reason.
Implant supported dentures use titanium “roots” that are integrated into the jaw to give increased retention and more reliable chewing function. Implants also aid in the prevention of your jaw bone from “wearing away.” There are 4 kinds of implant supported dentures:
1. Locator Supported Denture: A denture fabricated with implant support with locator attachments (2-4 implants or as determined by the oral surgeon). Locator attachments are male and female ball attachments that grip to integrated dental implants and provide retention of a denture. This option would be removable by the patient and would need regular changing of the consumable parts (often called “O” rings) that add retention. Cost: $6,000 + oral surgeon charges for 2- 4 implants
2. Implant Bridge (denture): CAD/CAM hybrid lower bridge with multiple implant supports (6 or more implants). This restoration would have a titanium frame with tooth shapes/crowns and areas open for the implants and implant supported crowns. It would be fabricated of porcelain and composite rather than acrylic. If there should ever be a repair needed, then the individual “tooth” could be fixed without removal of the bridge in most cases. It the most expensive of the options but also the most cosmetic as it also replaces the “gingival architecture” and gives a very natural result. This denture is not removable by the patient. Cost: $17,500 for the lower jaw implant bridge + oral surgeon charges for 6 implants
3. Metal Bar Supported Denture: A denture fabricated with implant support (number determined by the oral surgeon). This denture uses a custom bar of metal rests that run in the same line as the gums. The dentures then rest on top of that bar which will hold them in place. This denture provides more support than the “Locator Supported Dentures” but still requires removal by the patient and has consumable parts. Due to increased cost compared to the screw retained denture, it is normally reserved for specific cases where the patient may not be able to support enough implants for a fixed denture. Cost: $10,000 + oral surgeon costs for implants
4. Screw Retained Denture: A denture fabricated with a custom-milled titanium bar integrated into a framework to fit implants (usually 5- 6 implants). Denture teeth are placed onto the bar using denture acrylic just as other dentures. However, the quality of the denture materials and types of teeth used are upgraded in this particular denture. The denture is retained through the use of access holes for special screws that attach to the implants. The access holes are filled in with tooth colored filling material to be hidden. The appliance cannot be removed by the patient and can only be removed by the dentist if required. It should be flossed daily and monitored by your dentist on a 6-12 month basis. Cost: $7,500 + oral surgeon charges for 5- 6 implants