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Implant retained dentures

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The term implant retained dentures or implant supported dentures is a general term that can refer to a couple of different treatments to replace missing teeth.

It merely describes dentures or a tooth bridge that is held in place in your mouth with dental implants.  These implant retained dentures might be ‘removable’ (by you) or ‘fixed’ in the mouth and can only be removed by your dentist.

The term Implant retained dentures can refer to the following different types of treatments:

  1. Overdentures or “snap-on-dentures”
  2. All on 4

If you are searching for dental implants for dentures then you or a family member may be facing the prospect of losing your teeth or perhaps are already wearing dentures.

We understand that having to have all your teeth removed can be an extremely difficult and emotional time.  Trying to figure out which is the best teeth replacement option for you, taking into account your personal circumstances, your budget, lifestyle and your timeframe can be overwhelming and stressful.  

For those of you already wearing dentures, you will understand the challenges associated with this.  You may also be experiencing loose dentures due to bone loss and are worried about a denture mishap.

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

In this article, we hope to clarify these options by explaining in detail all the different Implant retained denture options.  

We will go through the different implant denture terminology you may have heard used and break it down into easy to understand terms.  We will also help you understand:

  • Am I candidate for implant dentures
  • What implant dentures cost
  • Approximate treatment time
  • Implant denture pros and cons
  • Alternatives for each treatment type

If you are only missing one or just a few of your teeth (i.e. not all of your teeth) and are looking at implant tooth replacement options this is referred to as ‘implant crowns or bridges’ not ‘dentures’.  You can read more about implant crowns and bridges here.

What's the difference between fixed implant retained dentures and removable implant retained dentures?

Fixed dentures or fixed teeth, sometimes known as permanent dentures is the term referred to 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 rests on your gums.

Fixed denture treatments are:

  • All on 4

They are great for people who: 

  • Never want to have a denture wearing experience
  • Have bone loss due to wearing dentures for a long time

Removable implant dentures are dentures that are held in place with two implants and can be removed by you.  They are partially implant retained dentures and partially supported by the gums at the back of your mouth.  These are only for teeth replacement in the lower jaw.

Removable implant denture treatments are:

  • Overdentures or snap on dentures

They are great for people who: 

  • Are already wearing lower dentures and want a more secure option
  • Want a lower cost option

Am I a candidate for Implant retained dentures?

If you are missing all teeth, or about to lose your teeth and want replacement teeth that are secure in your mouth then you are a candidate for implant dentures.  

If you have been wearing dentures for a long time you may have been told that you are not suitable for dental implant retained dentures due to bone loss.  The fact is, that with the different treatment options available today, most people are a candidate for implant retained dentures.

How much do Implant Dentures cost?

Cost vary based on the type of treatment.  We have provided the costs for each treatment type in the sections below.

Implant Denture Treatment Options

1. Overdentures

What are Overdentures?

Overdentures are held in the mouth by two implants at the front of the lower jaw.  It rests partly on the implants and partly on the back of your gums.  Even though it is held in place by dental implants, it is still removable.

The denture is held onto the implants by two attachments that are on the top of the implants and two attachments inside the denture and ‘clicks’ in and out your mouth.  Hence why you may have heard of them also being referred to Snap on dentures or Snap in dentures.

Who are Overdentures for?

If you already wear a lower denture, an Overdenture is a good option if you want something more secure to be able to enjoy the foods you love again and stop the worry of a denture mishap.

If you are facing the prospect of losing all your lower teeth an overdenture is an alternative for those who don’t want a denture wearing experience.

If you have been researching your options and have been considering All on 4 but it is out of reach perhaps for financial reasons then an Overdenture can be a great alternative.  You can even speak to your dentist about getting an Overdenture now with a view to maybe ‘upgrading’ to an All on 4 in the future.

How much do Overdentures cost?

A lower overdenture costs around $9,000.  This includes 3D x-rays, treatment planning, implant placement and your new snap in denture.

Approximate treatment time of Overdentures

If you are already wearing a lower denture or missing all lower teeth:

  • Implant placement: 1 day
  • Waiting period for implants to heal: 3 - 6 months (in which time you can still wear your dentures as per usual)
  • Number of appointments to convert the denture: 2

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

Pros and Cons of Overdentures


An Implant overdenture is a secure, cost-effective option for those already wearing a lower denture.

For those facing the prospect of losing your teeth in the lower jaw it is a significantly better option than a denture as it will be more secure, prevent bone loss at the front of the jaw and be a much easier transition. 


Because there are only two implants at the front of your mouth, you will still experience some bone loss at the back of your mouth.  There will also still be some movement of the denture as it is only partially supported by implants as opposed to an All on 4 or Trefoil solution which is wholly supported by implants.  This movement may also create sores at the back of the mouth.

Alternatives to Overdentures

2. All on 4

What is All on 4?

An All on 4 is a permanent, fixed teeth replacement option that is the closest resemblance to natural teeth.  

Four implants (or sometimes 6) are placed in the jaw, and then a tooth bridge is attached to the implants with screws that only your dentist can remove.  

An All on 4 can be placed in the upper jaw, the lower jaw or both.  

Who is All on 4 for?

Because of the nature of the procedure, there are very few people that cannot be treated with All on 4.  Even if you have been wearing dentures for a long time and have already experienced bone loss, All on 4 could still be a solution for you.

The most common All on 4 patients are people who have advanced gum disease (the most common cause of tooth loss in adults, people with failing and broken teeth and denture wearers.

How much does All on 4 cost?

An All on 4 will cost around $25,000.  If you are researching All on 4 costs you will see that they may vary quite a bit, there are a number of reasons for this.  Your general dentist will be able to help you understand costs further.

There are a number of payment options available to patients for All on 4, some of these include:

  • Early release of your Superfund
  • Specialist dental loans
  • Credit card
  • Personal loans

Approximate treatment time of All on 4

  • All on 4 treatment can be completed from start to finish in just 3 days

Pros and Cons of All on 4


All on 4 is the closest possible thing to your natural teeth.  Due to the position of the implants, it will also prevent further bone loss.  An All on 4, performed correctly, will be able to restore your smile to its former best.

All on 4 can be done in as little as 3 days from tooth extraction to the final placement of the bridge.

The procedure can be done under sleep sedation so you will have no memory of the procedure.


There are very few disadvantages to All on 4.  To replace all missing teeth, All on 4 is the optimal solution for most people.  Yes, it is the most expensive treatment, but the treatment is developed to last the rest of your life.

Alternatives to All on 4

  • Overdentures (lower jaw only)
  • Conventional dentures

In summary, the only way to properly assess what tooth replacement option will work for you is have an implant consultation and to do a 3D x-ray of your bone. It can be a scary prospect but we here at TL Dental in Port Macquarie are here to help you every step of the way. Click here to book an implant denture consultation to discover your options.

Further reading on implant dentures, dentures and dental implants can be found here:

Implant dentures


Dental Implants

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