There are many options to replace your missing teeth
If you're contemplating replacing all of your teeth, I have some good news. You have options. These options are customizable to fit your individual needs and budget and range from traditional dentures to sophisticated implant treatments. The most economical option to replace missing teeth is a traditional denture that is not supported by dental implants. But the absolute best replacement for your missing teeth (when considering look, function and health) will include dental implants. So, for the purpose of this blog post, I'm only going to talk about full mouth options that include dental implants.
The implant retained denture
While it technically is possible to replace all your teeth with individual dental implants, that's almost always prohibitively expensive and unnecessary for most people. Given the rise in the technology of implant-retained dentures, there are suitable implant tooth replacement options that don't require you to get 32 dental implants! An implant retained denture is exactly what it sounds like: a denture that is supported by dental implants that are fixed in your jaw.
There are two categories of implant retained dentures: removable dentures (commonly called snap-in dentures and "overdentures") and fixed dentures.
Implant retained removable or “snap-in” dentures involve a specially designed denture with magnetic copings that are supported by 2-4 dental implants placed in your jaw. This type of denture is sometimes referred to as an “overdenture,” “snap-in denture” or an “anchored denture” and provides a more stable platform than a traditional denture. With an overdenture, you’re able to eat more of your favorite foods and avoid denture adhesives. Two big upgrades over a traditional, unsupported denture!
Much like traditional dentures, implant supported dentures require regular care and maintenance involving nightly removal to prolong the life of the denture.
Fixed dentures (or "fixed bridge")
When considering the option to replace all of your teeth, there is no option that more closely replaces missing teeth better than a fixed dental bridge. With this option, you recover the ability to eat nearly any of the foods you want and don’t have to remove them for nightly maintenance. Fixed dental bridges offer the greatest stability and long-term results. They are truly the "Mercedes" of full mouth teeth replacement.
With fixed dental bridges, you can also choose from a variety of materials ranging from a “hybrid” (a metal bar with traditional denture materials on top) to higher quality materials such as monolithic zirconia. As with most things in life, you get what you pay for. Generally speaking, more expensive materials like monolithic zirconia tend to last longer and require less maintenance over their lifetime, further upgrading an already excellent treatment option.
What's right for you?
As I mentioned, you have lots of options to replace all of your teeth. A snap-in denture and a fixed denture are just two of your choices. Both of these options are upgraded by dental implants. When possible, I always recommend my patients use dental implants. The enhanced function, quality and natural look that implants provide are unmatched by any full mouth solution that doesn't include implants. If you've been struggling with many failing or missing teeth for a while, I think you'll find that dental implants are truly life changing.