Implant-Retained vs. Implant-Supported Dentures: Which is Better?

Dec 20, 2021 | Updates

Implant Retained vs. Implant Supported Dentures: Which is Better?

If you are missing all your natural teeth, chances are you have experienced wearing dentures. While these give you back your confidence, allowing you to eat and speak much in the same way your natural teeth did, they do come with some drawbacks. Dentures can slip when eating, forcing you to rely on goopy adhesives. Eating is not quite the same, and you will need to learn how to chew differently with dentures. In addition, you lose 80% of your chewing capacity with traditional dentures.

Implant-retained or implant-supported dentures offer a solution, giving you dentures that are much more like your natural teeth. At Soundview Family Dental, we understand that all the different denture options can be confusing, and we are here to answer some common questions.


Key Takeaways

  • Implant-retained dentures use 2-4 dental implants for support, can be removed for cleaning, provide security and additional chewing force.
  • Implant-supported dentures use 6-8 dental implants for complete support, provide natural chewing function, and prevent bone loss and facial changes.
  • Both options address downsides of traditional dentures, offer stability and bone stimulation.
  • Implant-supported dentures are fixed, require less maintenance, and are suitable for harder-to-chew foods.
  • Choosing between options depends on factors like diet, lifestyle, overall health, and cost of procedures.

What are implant-retained dentures?

An implant-retained denture is the next step up from traditional dentures. Implant-retained dentures utilize two to four dental implants that offer support and stabilization. You can still remove your denture for easy cleaning. However, the use of implants provides security and additional chewing force, as it only receives part of its support from the gum tissue and more on actual bone support. If you have limited bone width remaining in your jaw, mini dental implants can be used to still provide denture security without the need for dental grafts and additional procedures. Costs for implant-retained dentures can run between $2,500-$15,000 depending on whether you choose the two-implant technique or the all-on-four.


What are implant-supported dentures?

If you miss chewing a nice juicy steak, implant-supported dentures may be your solution. This restoration uses six to eight dental implants to support the denture completely. This means that all your bite force is placed directly on the implants and the jaw, making it the most natural denture option available. The use of multiple implants also helps to support the bone structure in the jaw, meaning you will not experience facial changes or bone loss commonly experienced with the loss of natural teeth. With implant-supported dentures, some options allow for denture removal and cleaning. However, most people opt for a permanent screw-retained denture or a fixed zirconia bridge.


Comparing the two implant denture options

Here we look at implant-retained and implant-secured dentures side by side for you to compare the similarities and differences, as well as evaluate the pros and cons of both options.


Both implant denture options offer additional security for natural teeth replacement. While traditional dentures have worked well for years, they have downsides that both types of implant dentures address. For example, when you lose your teeth, your jawbone no longer stimulates the tooth root, meaning the bone begins to shrink. You can see this in facial changes that occur after tooth loss. In addition, this causes the gums to shrink and can affect how your traditional denture fits, meaning you must have them adjusted regularly or rely on goopy adhesives. Using implants to retain or support dentures provides security and bone stimulation.


The biggest difference between implant-retained and implant-supported dentures is the number of implants used. In many cases, the decision to use either option depends on the amount of bone the patient has available in the jaw. To use implant-supported dentures, a patient must have adequate bone throughout the entire arch, whereas implant-retained dentures rely on areas of the jaw where there is a good amount of bone remaining. You can opt for bone grafts to make implant-supported dentures, an option if you have bone loss.

Pros and cons

The pros and cons of implant dentures depend on the person and what they hope to achieve. When it comes to implant security, both provide additional stability. However, implant-supported dentures offer a fixed denture that you clean like natural teeth and do not remove. In contrast, implant-retained dentures should be removed at night and allowed to soak, similar to traditional dentures. If you like eating harder to chew foods, then implant-supported dentures will rank higher than implant-retained.


Which implant dentures are best for you?

So, how do you decide which denture option is right for you? Choosing the right denture option depends on various factors, including your diet, lifestyle, overall health, and the cost of the procedures.


If your favorite food is steak or some other hard-to-chew food, then implant-supported dentures may be your best option. Because this type of denture utilizes more implants, your denture receives more bone support, and they function more like real teeth. They provide the same chewing power as your natural teeth allowing them to function like before you lost your teeth.


For some, the idea of removing dentures every night can become bothersome and even reduce their self-confidence. If this is the case, permanent implant-supported dentures mean your teeth always stay in your mouth, much like natural teeth. You can wake up with your teeth still in your mouth and can brush them the same as you did your natural teeth.

Overall health

Your overall health and oral health can play a big role in your implant denture choice. For people with conditions like TMJ or sleep apnea, the presence of dentures in the mouth at night can be beneficial, meaning the best option would be implant-supported dentures. However, if you have severe bone loss and your health may not support bone graft surgery, your best option may be implant-retained dentures, as they still offer additional support.


While you should never make your dental and health decisions based solely on cost, the truth is it is a major consideration for many people. If cost is an issue, implant-retained dentures are your lower-cost choice because they require fewer implants.


Frequently asked questions

1. Do implant-supported dentures come out?
Implant-supported dentures are available in options that can allow for denture removal. However, most patients opt for permanent implant-supported dentures.

2. What is the difference between all-on-four and implant-supported dentures?
All-on-four dentures are permanent implant-supported dentures that utilize a special technique, reducing the number of needed implants.


Let Soundview Family Dental help you find the perfect implant denture solution.

Choosing the right option to replace your teeth after tooth loss can be confusing. The team at Soundview Family Dental understands that, and we are here to help. We will work with you to determine which option will best fit your needs and achieve your desired goals. Contact us online today or call the office at (425) 563-6360 to schedule an appointment.

Eric Kitts, DDS

Eric Kitts, DDS

Owner @ Soundview Family Dental

Born in Seattle and raised in Puyallup, Dr. Eric Kitts received his undergraduate degree from Washington State University and his DDS from the University of Washington School of Dentistry. Dr. Kitts began practicing dentistry in 2000, at his office in Richmond Beach. In 2011, Dr. Kitts built a brand-new, state-of-the-art dental facility located in the heart of downtown Edmonds.

Book with us today!

Are you unhappy with the appearance of your teeth and refuse to show the world your beautiful smile? Has discomfort at the dentist kept you from receiving dental work that will give you a reason to smile again?

At Soundview Family Dental in Edmonds, WA, we understand that not everyone likes the dentist. Our team of caring professionals works with you to ensure that you feel comfortable from the moment you walk through the door. Specializing in cosmetic and restorative dentistry, Dr. Kitts and his team work hard to preserve your natural teeth and give you back a smile you can be proud of.

Contact today to schedule an appointment and let our team deliver a beautiful, natural-looking smile you can be proud to show off.

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