Traditional vs. Implant-Supported Dentures

Choosing the best method to replace missing teeth is an important decision. For those suffering from substantial tooth loss, the choice is often between traditional and implant-supported dentures. Understanding the difference between these two options and the advantages they offer is essential to ensuring your best possible smile. A world-renowned prosthodontist, Dr. Neil L. Starr can accurately evaluate a patient's candidacy and provide patients with exceptional care at his Washington, DC, dental practice. 

Traditional Dentures vs. Implant-supported Dentures

Made of plastic or porcelain teeth anchored in a gum-colored base, dentures are a prosthetic designed to replace multiple missing teeth. Patients can take advantage of either partial or full dentures to replace up to a full arch of missing teeth. The main difference between traditional and implant-supported options is how they attach: where traditional dentures are held in place over the gums with dental adhesives and suction, implant-supported dentures are directly placed in the jaw with dental implants

Traditional Dentures

The most notable benefits of traditional dentures include: 

  • Affordability
  • Easy maintenance 
  • Wider range of dietary options
  • Improved speech capabilities
  • Boosted self-confidence 

However, because this prosthetic is removable, it can also be unstable. Many patients struggle with sliding dentures that interfere with meals and conversation. While dental adhesives, small metal clasps, and natural suction can help keep the prosthetic in place, keeping your dentures still can easily tire out the muscles of your mouth. 

Implant-Supported Dentures

This option offers a huge range of benefits to patients, including simple maintenance, stability, durability, comfort, and improved jawbone structure. Implant-supported dentures essentially replace the entire tooth structure, which allows them to simulate your natural teeth as closely as possible. Because dental implants are placed directly into the jaw, they offer unmatched support for dentures. Consequently, patients can easily eat steak, apples, and other foods that are usually too tough to chew with missing teeth. As an additional benefit, implants can halt jawbone degeneration and stimulate new growth.  

Both traditional and implant-supported dentures offer patients struggling with missing teeth an opportunity to restore their dental health. 

However, these advantages are balanced out by several drawbacks. Because dental implants are surgically placed, treatment is both lengthier and more expensive than that of traditional dentures. It typically takes several months for the implants to become fully integrated with the jaw and capable of supporting a prosthetic. If patients need a bone graft to replace lost bone tissue in the jaw, treatment can take even longer. 

Traditional and implant-supported dentures

Traditional (bottom) and implant-supported dentures (top)

Treatment Timeline

Dr. Starr is able to provide high-quality restorative dentistry procedures including denture placement. Patients receiving traditional dentures can expect their entire treatment to be provided at the practice. For implant-supported dentures, Dr. Starr will coordinate the implant portion of the procedure and any preliminary surgeries with an oral surgeon or periodontist

The number of appointments will depend on which option you pursue. Traditional denture placement is typically provided in two appointments: during the first, the doctor takes impressions from which your prosthetic is created and during the second, the finalized dentures are tested and adjusted to your smile. Implant-supported dentures usually require at least three appointments: the initial consultation to take impressions, the implant placement, and the attachment of the prosthetic. An additional appointment may be necessary for bone grafting procedures. For patients who qualify for Premierdontics™, Dr. Starr can collapse this process into a single day. 

Effectively Addressing Tooth Loss

Both traditional and implant-supported dentures offer patients struggling with missing teeth an opportunity to restore their dental health. Schedule a consultation or call us at (202) 293-7177 to learn more about your candidacy for treatment.