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Implant retained dentures - what’s the right choice for me?

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Dr Teresa Li
April 23, 2024

Implant retained dentures, implant supported dentures or implanted dentures (“You say tomato I say tomato…”) and other variations cover two different types of implant treatments to replace missing teeth.

Specifically, an implant retained denture is a denture or a tooth bridge that is held in place in your mouth with dental implants, and is either or ‘fixed’ in the mouth (can only be removed by your dentist) or ‘removable’ (by you). This article discusses why you’d choose implant dentures over traditional dentures, the pros and cons of the two types of implant supported dentures (suitability), and the costs involved for each implant treatment.

A patient discusses the implant retained denture procedure with Dr Leigh
Denture implants will be a life-changing decision - it is a surgical procedure after all, so you want to be armed with the right information.

Why choose denture implants over traditional dentures?

For those of you already wearing dentures, you will be well familiar with the challenges:

  • Potential embarrassment due to dislodgement - always at the most inconvenient times!
  • The rubbing of dentures on gums, and resulting sores and irritation (due to them moving around in your mouth - think of the feeling of an ill-fitting new shoe!)
  • The repetitive, time-sucking adhesive applications (that clearly isn’t very strong)
  • Having to remove them for cleaning and soaking overnight and every night
  • Jaw bone loss 
  • The ‘caving in’ of your facial structure. 

Further, traditional dentures are often referred to as ‘false teeth’ for a reason - they’re no match cosmetically to natural teeth.

In contrast, an implant denture will:

  • Allow you to taste food  (i.e. traditional dentures cover the roof of your mouth - preventing flavour to reach your mouth palate)
  • See your bite strength improve given their ‘retained’ nature, therefore you’ll be able enjoy a wider variety of food - dig in to a great steak!
  • Have your speech sound as per normal
  • Look more like your natural teeth.

For most people, the decision to get denture implants will be a life-changing one - it is a surgical procedure after all, so you want to be armed with the right information to make an informed decision about what treatment will work best for you.

Want to learn more about these denture implant options?

Book your initial appointment now or download our New Patient Guide for more information today.

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Fixed implant retained dentures, or removable implant dentures?

Fixed implant dentures, fixed teeth, permanent dentures and ‘All on 4’ are  some of the different terms for when dentures are ‘fixed’ in the mouth with dental implants, and can only be removed by your dentist. 

Fixed dentures are fully implant supported dentures, and no part of the denture rests on your gums, thus removing any likelihood of irritation from dentures slipping.

Fixed dentures: All on 4 - the process

All on 4 patients are usually people who have advanced gum disease (the common cause of adult tooth loss), people with failing and broken teeth, and/or traditional denture wearers who are tired of the irritation. Following an appointment where 3D x-rays, scans, and digital images are taken of the patient’s mouth - for crafting and positioning of the implants and tooth bridges - the subsequent four implants (or sometimes six) are then placed in the jaw (upper jaw, lower jaw, or both). Within a few days (depending on healing) a tooth bridge is attached to these implants, with screws, that only your dentist can remove.  


  • All on 4 are widely regarded as the implant dentures that look like natural teeth
  • Due to their position the fixed implants will prevent bone loss or will stop further bone loss 
  • The procedure can be performed in a little as three days from tooth extraction to the final placement of the temporary bridge (whilst your permanent custom bridge is being crafted)
  • The surgical procedure is performed under sleep sedation so you will have no ‘experience’ or memory of the implant process
  • It is a permanent denture designed for the long-term with a high success rate of effectiveness.


  • It is an expensive treatment
  • Surgery is required and as such recovery and healing is involved
  • It is a staggered approach.


An All on 4 implant treatment begins at $25,000 and your dentist will be able to help you understand costs further. Please note, there are a number of payment options available for All on 4 with us, and some of these include:

  • Specialist dental loans such as Medipay
  • Early release of your Superfund
Dr Li shows a patient the  x-rays and digital images taken for crafting and positioning of the implants
Fixed dentures are fully implant supported dentures, and no part of the denture rests on your gums.

Removable implant dentures - the process

Commonly referred to as ‘snap on’, ‘snap in’ dentures or overdentures, these removable implant dentures are held in the mouth by two implants at the front of the lower jaw (note: they are not available for the upper jaw). The denture rests partly on the implants and partly on the back of your gums, by two attachments that are on top of the implants, and two that are within the denture, i.e they ‘snap’ into place.

If you are already wearing a lower denture or missing all lower teeth, it will typically take one day to perform the implant placements (under sleep sedation), you’ll then wait for 3-6 months for the implants to heal, and then two appointments will be needed to fit your new denture.

If you still have remaining teeth in your lower jaw that are beyond repair, these teeth are removed first and an immediate denture is supplied while your jaw bone and gums heal.

Dr Leigh photographs a patient after implant retained denture procedure
Most people who are missing most of their teeth will be suitable candidates for All-on-4.


  • An implant denture is a physically secure, cost effective option for those already wearing a lower traditional denture
  • For those facing the prospect of losing teeth in the lower jaw, it is a significantly better option than a traditional denture, as it will prevent bone loss at the front of the jaw, and will be a much easier and natural (feeling) transition to replacement teeth


  • Because there are only two implants at the front of your mouth, it will not prevent bone loss at the back of your mouth 
  • There will still be some movement of the denture as it is only partially supported by the front-positioned implants
  • Movement may create sores and irritation at the back of your mouth
  • You will need to remove and clean the denture each night


This implant treatment costs approximately $9,000, including 3D x-rays, treatment planning, implant placement and your new snap-in implant retained denture.

Are implanted dentures right for me? 

This is a question best answered by your dentist. Most people who are missing most of their teeth will be suitable candidates for All-on-4, however this permanent option is a significant financial investment. The snap-in / overdenture option for your lower jaw might be an appropriate option to get initially, in preference of traditional dentures. 

To end, to properly assess what teeth replacement option will work for you - the first step is to book an implant consultation with us, in Port Macquarie dentist TL Dental where we will perform a 3D x-ray of your jaw bone/s and discuss your personal goals and circumstances.

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