Assuming you’ve already decided on dental implants to replace your missing teeth, the next decision to make is choosing between fixed vs. removable dentures. The difference between the two options is that removable implant-supported dentures can be snapped on and off of the abutments whenever you need to remove them, while fixed dentures are permanent and can only be removed by a dentist.
No matter which type of implant-supported denture you decide on, you can feel good knowing that you’ll be getting the benefits of a stronger bite, a better fitting denture, and a more confident smile. Here’s what to know about fixed vs. removable implant options.
Fixed Implant-Supported Dentures (Screw-In)
Fixed implant-supported dentures are an option that looks, feels, and functions just like natural teeth because they are permanently attached to your dental implants. You don’t have to remove them every night for cleaning or put them in a glass of water beside the bed while you sleep—you might even forget that you’re wearing dentures at all!
Traditionally, fixed implant-supported dentures required more jaw bone for support than removable dentures, so they weren’t a good fit for patients who had already experienced large amount of bone loss. Now, full arch with only four implant restorations can be used for some of these patients as an alternative. Bone grafting, too, may be used in order to strengthen the jaw for fixed implant-supported dentures.
Fixed dentures are brushed just like you would with natural teeth, although you’ll also need to be mindful of cleaning the small space where your restoration meets the gums. Many patients use water flossers, floss threaders, or small interproximal brushes to facilitate easier cleaning.
Removable Implant-Supported Dentures (Snap-On)
Removable implant-supported dentures fall somewhere between traditional dentures and fixed implant-supported dentures, offering patients many of the benefits of fixed implant-supported dentures, but also some of the drawbacks of traditional dentures. Although they don’t require messy adhesives and they’re securely snapped onto the implants so they never slip or shift, they still feel more like traditional dentures. They’re slightly bulkier and they need to be removed each night for cleaning. In the morning, you’ll snap them back in.
If jaw bone has already been lost, snap-on dentures are a better option than fixed because they require less support than a permanent restoration. Another distinct advantage for many patients is that removable implant denture options are much more affordable than fixed implant dentures. In addition, implant supported removable dentures are easier to keep clean since it can be taken out everyday for hygiene.
Fixed vs. Removable: Which Is Best?
Every patient has their own treatment goals and dental needs, so there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. The best way to determine which choice is right for you is to visit our office for a consultation. We’ll conduct a thorough exam, go over your dental and medical history, and talk to you about your expectations in order to come up with a treatment plan that’s right for you. Contact us today at 301-933-3903 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Ho to learn more.