For a mouth missing all or nearly all of your teeth there exists four major implant supported and/or retained options. The first two options are a fixed prosthesis that stays in all the time; the second two options can be removed by you.
The first two options are completely fixed, meaning you do not have to take them in and out.
1. Fixed full-arch implant bridges. This consists of 6-8 implants and fixed bridges. To the right is a photo of a prosthesis that is very similar. The main difference is yours would have some spaces in between the teeth to floss and in case something should ever break then a smaller section would need to be repaired. Breaking into sections lowers the cost so I see very little advantage to doing it all in one piece if you have enough implants placed. cost $26,000 and up, with most of the variance being in the surgical side ie number implants and need for bone grafting. Cost on this can get extremely high if you don’t have bone in the right places and want really top of the line esthetics.
This option gives you the second best result you could ever possibly have, next to individual implants for every tooth. It’s fixed, meaning it does not come in and out. And it would provide you with enough implants to replace all or any of your teeth. It is made out of porcelain teeth that look very natural. It would be very similar to having a new set of teeth that can not rot.
Risks: Porcelain chips on crowns – Could possibly happen over your lifetime – can usually be easily repaired
Implant fail – highly unlikely to happen – would lose implant and potentially part of bridge that that implant was attached to if still not enough implants to support that part
2. Fixed full-arch bridge on multi-unit abutments. This consists of 4 (or more) implants and a single fixed prosthesis. This option is heavily advertised as an “All-on-4” option. cost $16-25,000 with this option the variance is in the surgical side (number implants and bone grafting) and in the material selection (acrylic or porcelain)
Very good option. It’s fixed so stays in. A few disadvantages compared to the first option are that this option often provides 1 or 2 less teeth on each side in the back and if an implant ever failed on you the whole prosthesis may not function properly anymore and need repairs or replacement. Also this restoration is all one piece using high end denture teeth and acrylic versus porcelain. Denture teeth are a little less esthetic and wear away faster but are cheaper to fix and repair.
Risks: Damage or break acrylic teeth – possible – cheap fix but must give up appliance for one day. Damage or break ceramic porcelain teeth – less likely than acrylic – more expensive to fix right but can be patched cheaply
Implant fail – highly unlikely – if one lost will be less stable, may be able to get new implant and use same appliance with little expense other than implant cost
Options number 3 and 4 are removable. So you can take them out at night to clean them. They vary greatly in their stability and biting force depending on the number of implants you are getting and if have a bar.
3. Implant supported overdenture. This consists of 4 or more implants and a removable appliance that attaches in some manner to the implants. The implants and usually a metal bar support the denture. cost $16-25,000 variance depends mostly on #1 use of custom metal support bar, #2 number of implants, #3 amount of bone available, and #4 how esthetic you want it.
Disadvantage from previous options is that this is a removable denture and you take it out at night to clean. However, you should not notice any difference during the day. In a way the fact that you can remove this is an advantage because it allows you to clean underneath it. This option is used almost exclusively for people with high upper smile lines so that the prosthesis can go high enough to hide the edge between denture and gum tissue but still allow for a way to clean underneath the denture (ie by taking it out) OR individuals with extreme bone loss that need lip support (we would have to tell you this). Stable since has at least four supporting implants. Advantage over final option is more implants = more stability = you can eat more things and function more normally.
Risks: Damage or break teeth – possible – cheap fix if acrylic teeth but must give up appliance for one day
Implant fail – highly unlikely – may be a little less stable but likely will need no change or repair other than removal failing implant – can add new implant and use same appliance if you feel need to at that point
May need to reline or repair part of denture – could happen or may never happen – takes 2-3 days
Attachment parts wear out – will happen every 2-4 years – very cheap and quick fix
4. Implanted retained overdenture.This consists of 2 or more implants and a removable appliance, looks similar to the above option. cost $6,500-8,000 for 2 implants. Upper jaw needs at least 4 though so about $5,000 more.
This is one step up from a denture, but is more like a traditional denture than the other options. It provides a little more support but you will get some sore spots and need occasional relining of the denture because it will be supported by your tissue and not the implants as the previous options are. It’s better than a denture but moves around, not as stable as any of other options.
Risks: Damage or break teeth – possible – cheap fix but must give up appliance for one day
Implant fail – highly unlikely – will be less stable – can add new implant and use same appliance if you feel need to at that point
Reline denture – will need about every 3-5 years –
Attachment parts wear out – will happen every 2-4 years – very cheap fix
For the lower jaw you can do any of the previous four options. Whatever option you choose you could later upgrade to a higher level. The overall cost of doing it that way would be more since we would be making some things twice. Going from either option #3 or 4 to #1 or 2 would be the most costly and have similar costs to starting from scratch, minus a couple implants.
For the upper jaw the options are all the same except I can also make an unsupported regular denture. The upper denture functions fairly well by itself with Fixodent and most people that have one get by just fine. The cost of that is $2500.
This information sheet is meant to give you an idea about costs and options. Until you meet with both me and possibly with an implant surgeon, which option is right for you cannot be known. Some of these options may not work for you due to lack of bone. A CT scan will likely be needed to check bone levels and thickness.
I hope you find this information helpful and it is not too overwhelming. I try to provide you with a lot of information without getting too technical. Obviously everything you would need to know is not included in this. A common question I am often asked is “How long will this process take?” As a general rule implants require 3-6 months to heal in the lower jaw and 4-6 months in the upper jaw. After the implants have healed, and depending on which option you have chosen; 4-10 weeks for me to complete your teeth. There also can be quite a bit of pre implant work that I may need to do depending on your option; up to 6 weeks worth. You will always have some sort of teeth to wear through out the entire process, usually fixed in place if options 1-2 and often 3. I recommend reading this several times and making a list of questions that you have and then meeting with me again and discussing your concerns and allowing me to answer your questions. Please feel free to contact my office to set up a consult appointment with me to set up a time we can discuss your long term goals of having a functioning, attractive set of teeth.Print This Page