Denture Implants: What Exactly Are They?

Want to know more about what dental implants are, and if they’re the right choice for you? Keep reading because we’ll discuss everything you need to know

As someone who is dealing with missing teeth—whether that is due to disease, tooth decay, or a trauma to your teeth— you know how important it is to find a suitable and durable replacement for them. Chances are you’ve already spoken to your dentist, who can help you decide what type of teeth replacement is best for your situation. If you’re in a situation where most of your natural teeth are missing, you have a couple of options, including denture implants. While you may have some idea what this method of teeth replacement is, you might want to learn a little more about them before deciding with your dentist if this is the right option for you. 

If you want to learn exactly what denture implants are, you’ve come to the right place. In this article we’re going to delve into:

  • What denture implants are
  • The benefits of denture implants
  • Types of denture implants available
  • How denture implants are put in
  • What denture implants can cost
  • If there are alternatives to denture implants
  • How to care for denture implants
female dentist standing in front of aspen dental office with arms crossed and smiling

What Exactly Are Denture Implants?

Let’s discuss what denture implants are, and what they are not

an older couple looking at each other and smiling while sitting together

Denture implants could be just the solution you’re looking for. 

If you’ve spoken to your dentist about how to replace your missing teeth, they may have already discussed the possibility of denture implants with you. But if they haven’t yet, or you’d just like to learn a little more, we’re going to discuss them in more detail. 

Denture implants are designed to help patients that are missing most of their natural teeth, whether that’s on the top jaw or bottom jaw. The implants themselves are typically made of titanium, and are implanted directly into the bone of your jaw. They are then fitted with an abutment and a crown (tooth) that will sit on top. Implants (whether for one tooth or multiple teeth) are permanent, and are a very stable and secure way to get the look and feel of your natural teeth back. You may know someone who has dental implants for a missing tooth, as they are a very popular solution to replace a tooth. However, denture implants are often used for people who need most of their teeth replaced. 

Once your denture implants are fitted and placed, you can expect to go back to chewing, biting, speaking, and smiling just as you would with your natural teeth. Denture implants are customized to fit into your mouth, and they are colored specifically so that they will blend in with any natural teeth you have remaining. 

Denture implants are a great solution if you’re missing most of your teeth. If you’re worried that you’ll have to get an implant put into your jaw for each tooth that you’re missing, worry no more! 

To get optimal results, implants are required in strategic positions to support the prosthetic but not required for individual teeth. So, depending on your needs, your dentist will use anywhere from two to eight implants (more on that later) to securely lock your dentures in place. 

What denture implants are not

So now you know that denture implants are an easy, permanent solution to your missing teeth, let’s discuss what they are not. Denture implants are not removable, which is why they are considered so stable and long-lasting. Although the word denture may have you thinking of the removable full and partial dentures available, implant dentures are put into your jaw bone so they do not require adhesive, nor will they slip around in your mouth. 

Denture implants may also not be available to you if you do not have the necessary amount of bone density in your jaw. In order to place the titanium screws in, your dentist will need to determine whether or not your jaw bone has enough mass. If it does not, and you still want to go with denture implants, your dental team may be able to perform a bone graft to increase the density. Everyone’s situation is different, so if denture implants sound like something that you might want to consider, schedule a time to speak with your dentist!

Benefits of Denture Implants

What are some of the pros of getting denture implants?

Image courtesy of Tulsa Precision Dental.

Denture implants (also sometimes known as implant supported dentures) are a convenient option if you’re in need of replacements for most of your teeth. However you may be going back and forth between whether or not you’d like denture implants, or the more traditional removable dentures in order to get back your chewing, biting, and speaking abilities. That’s why we thought it would be helpful to list out the benefits of going with a permanent option to missing teeth like denture implants.

They are very secure

Your dentist will place the titanium screws that will anchor your dentures directly into the bone of your jaw. When they are placed in your mouth in this way, the implants over time will fuse with your bone, making them durable, stable, and secure. You won’t have to worry about your dentures moving around in your mouth because they are fastened to the titanium screws. Because the denture implants are secured in this way, they can only be removed by your dentist. With the proper care, your implant supported dentures can last you a lifetime. The same cannot be said for other teeth replacement options. 

No need for adhesives

If you’ve ever had to use traditional removable dentures, you know that there is always the possibility that they can start to slide around, and possibly even fall out. That’s because over time, our mouths change shape, causing the dentures you were fitted for years ago to no longer fit properly. With denture implants, you do not need to worry about using adhesives to prevent your dentures from moving around in your mouth. You also won’t have to worry about the added and ongoing expense of having to use an adhesive just to keep your dentures securely in place.

When you’re concerned that your dentures could move or worse, fall out, while you’re in public, you might find yourself  thinking or worrying about this. It may cause you to not eat how you normally would, or speak and smile with confidence.. 

Eat more foods you enjoy

This is one of the biggest benefits to using denture implants—you can eat more of the foods that you love again. With removable dentures, you do get back the ability to eat more foods than you would without dentures, however, you may not get back the same biting strength. With denture implants, because they are so secure, you’re going to get back a lot more biting and chewing ability than you would with just traditional dentures. This means you can feel free to enjoy more of your favorite foods again, foods that might not be feasible should you choose removable dentures. 

Clean them like regular teeth

Traditional dentures need to be removed daily and cleaned with specialized products. Not only do you need to clean dentures in this way, but you also need to clean your gums to make sure they are free of food debris and bacteria. Because you are taking them in and out of your mouth constantly, there’s an increased risk that you could drop or damage your dentures in the process. Denture implants are permanently secured in your mouth, and you will clean them just like you cleaned your natural teeth. There is no need to take your dentures in and out daily. You’ll simply use a toothbrush and toothpaste (and floss) to ensure that your denture implants are clean and to prevent the build up of plaque.

Prevent additional bone loss

When you’re missing teeth, the bone in the gap where the tooth should be will eventually start to dissolve since there is nothing there to stimulate the bone. The gap will also cause your other teeth to become misaligned and fall towards the gap, creating additional issues. Although regular dentures can give you back the ability to chew and restore your smile, they still sit on top of the bone, and are unable to prevent additional bone loss. With denture implants, you are putting the implant directly into the jaw bone, and will eventually fuse with it. You can actually prevent additional bone loss with implants.

Are there any cons of denture implants?

While the benefits of denture implants are many, we think it's important to make you aware of the cons as well. 

  • Are more costly. Because the denture implant procedure is more in depth than that of a traditional denture fitting, they can be more expensive. However, it’s important to weigh the factors of strength, stability, and permanence when considering the cost of dentures versus denture implants. 
  • Not everyone is a candidate. You will need to speak with your dentist to determine if you’re a good candidate for denture implants. They will be able to see if you have the required bone density needed to successfully place the implants. You may be able to get the necessary bone density after a bone graft, but your dentist will help you decide if this is an option for you.

What Kinds of Denture Implants Are Available?

Your dentist will determine which type of denture implant is right for you

Fixed bridge implants

A fixed bridge implant is designed for those patients who have a few missing teeth in a row. If this sounds like your situation, then your dentist will insert the implants directly into the bone and use them to anchor in the crowns. This is a great option if you are missing teeth all on the one side of your mouth. The dental bridge will be held in place with the secure implants, providing bone stabilization, increased chewing and biting ability, and give you your smile back while keeping your face from potentially losing shape.

illustration of a fixed bridge implant
Fixed bridge implant. 

All-on 4 implants

If you’re looking for a complete set of dentures for your lower, upper, or whole mouth, your dentist may choose to use the all-on 4 denture implant. This procedure allows you to permanently secure a full set of dentures to your upper or lower jaws with the use of four titanium implants. Once the four implants are in place and have successfully bonded to your bone, your dentist will attach a full set of dentures. You won’t need to worry about taking your dentures in or out again.

All-on 6 implants

This type of procedure is very similar to the all-on 4 denture implant, except that your dentist will instead use six implants to hold the complete denture in place. Because everyone’s mouth and situation is different, some people may need the extra implants to keep their set of permanent replacement teeth secure. Although one procedure uses four implants per arch, and one uses six, it does not mean one is more secure than the other. Depending on your needs, your dentist will determine which procedure will benefit you the best. 

How Are Denture Implants Placed in Your Mouth?

What is the denture procedure like?

If you and your dentist determine that denture implants are a good idea, that’s great news! Here’s what the denture implant process will look like. Source:
  1. Initial appointment with your dentist

At this appointment you will discuss with your dentist whether or not a denture implant is right for you. Here they will tell you the pros and cons (which we’ve already listed!) and how much you can expect your denture implants to cost. You will also need to share with them your medical history and any medications you are taking. Since your implants are inserted surgically, it is important for your dentist to know if there is anything they should be aware of as it relates to medication or conditions you are managing. 

They will also discuss how long the procedure and recovery will take, and any steps after the implant surgery you’ll need to be aware of to care for your new dentures.

  1. Get imaging and scans of your mouth

At your denture consultation, your dentist will also take x-rays of your mouth and use a 3-D scanner to make sure that every contour of your mouth is analyzed to ensure the perfect placement and fit of your dentures. Although you will not get to see what the implants will feel like before they are placed in your mouth, your dentist will do all they can to ensure the implants are successfully placed where they need to be. This ensures that your dentures will be attached correctly to get a stable and long lasting solution to your missing teeth.

  1. Put the implants in your mouth

Typically, the denture implant procedure will be done in two visits, however, you will discuss the specifics with your dentist. If you have any additional teeth that need to be pulled, they will ensure that this is done and healed before inserting the titanium implants. On the day of your procedure your dentist will use general anesthesia to put you under and place the implants into your jaw. You may be given a set of temporary crowns to use while your implants heal and fuse with your jaw bone. 

Your dentist will send you home with instructions for caring for your implants while they heal.

  1. Healing

After the surgery, your implants will need time to heal. Everyone responds differently to implants, so your healing time might be longer or shorter than someone else's. Your dentist will ask you to come back in to check on the progress of the bone fusion. When they are satisfied that it has healed, you are then ready for the final step in the implant process.  

  1. Secure your dentures

The last step is to have your abutments and permanent dentures locked onto the implants. Once your dentures are secure, you’ll need to make sure you properly care for your new teeth. This means regularly brushing, flossing, and visiting your dentist at least twice a year for check ups. 

How Much Do Denture Implants Cost?

What can you expect to pay for full denture implants?

two hands holding dentist tookls and a mouth model
Denture implants are a great way to get your smile and your confidence back. Image courtesy of Peoria Family Dentistry.

An important question to consider when deciding whether or not to get denture implants is the cost. There are some factors to consider when speaking about how much denture implants will cost.

  • Your location. There is a wide range in the cost of denture implants depending on what part of the country you live in. If you’re in a large city, the cost might be higher than if you’re in a smaller town or rural community. This is why it’s crucial to speak to a dentist in your area, as they can give you a more accurate representation of your cost. 
  • The amount of work you need done. The price of your denture implants will also be determined on whether you need one jaw done, or your full mouth.
  • If you have insurance. Insurance may help with the cost of denture implants. So if you have dental insurance, make sure to double check your policy to see if they will cover a portion of this procedure.

The cost of denture implants can run anywhere from $7,000 to $90,000 for snap-in, but most procedures are likely to cost around $35,000 for the hybrid/fixed implant retained. Again, speaking to your dentist near you about this procedure is the best way to get a better understanding of what you can expect to pay for denture implants.

What Are the Alternatives to Denture Implants?

Are there other options besides denture implants?

You can always choose to get traditional dentures instead of denture implants. This type of replacement is much less expensive, but it’s important to keep in mind:

  • They are not a permanent solution
  • You will need adjustments
  • Regular dentures do not prevent bone loss
  • They can move around in your mouth
  • You will need to remove and clean them daily

You and your dentist can discuss which option might be best for you.

Ways to Care for Your Denture Implants 

It’s important to care for your denture implants daily

One of the many benefits of having denture supported implants is that because they are permanent, you can clean them just like your natural teeth. This means using a toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste to brush them both morning and night, and floss between them to prevent the buildup of plaque. Make sure to also brush your tongue and gums to keep them bacteria-free. It’s essential that you visit your dentist at least twice a year for professional cleaning and so they can inspect your implants. In addition to keeping your implants clean, your dentist will also ensure that they are looking and feeling good. 

Denture implants are a secure, permanent solution if you’re missing most of your teeth. Talk to your dentist today and see if this solution is right for you. 

*General industry pricing only. See your local Aspen Dental for specific pricing.

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