Fixed vs. Removable – Dental Implant Solutions
Learn the difference between the main options for all teeth replacement.
A removable solution is where your new teeth are ‘removable’. This means that the prosthesis can be removed by the patient, as and when they like. The prosthesis may be held in place through its skilful design that ‘sucks’ onto the contours of your jaw, or may use a denture paste/glue, or may use special ‘snap on’ implant fixtures. This is where the prosthesis can be clipped on, held securely in place, then removed for daily cleaning, by the patient.
A full removable denture replaces all your teeth, on either your upper or lower jaw, using the one single solution which sits on top of your gums and offers the appearance of natural teeth. This form of denture was more common in previous times, but due to patient satisfaction is used less often these days.
A full upper denture has a flesh-coloured acrylic base, which covers the roof of your mouth. A full lower denture is horseshoe-shaped and sits on top of the lower jaw. For some, dentures can feel a little loose and unstable. As it is not held in place, it can move around as you talk and laugh, and make it difficult to eat certain foods. A denture is the cheapest option to replace a full set of upper or lower teeth.
An Implant-Supported Denture, known as Overdenture, is a step-up solution for individuals missing all their upper or lower teeth and don’t want traditional denture issues. They may look similar, but instead of sitting in your mouth, this solution uses dental implants surgically placed in your jawbone with special ‘clips’ that snap and hold the denture in place. Your ‘teeth’ now cannot move around inside your mouth while eating, laughing, or talking – improving your confidence!
Implant-supported overdentures are popular as they offer many benefits over traditional dentures. They dramatically improve stability when compared to a traditional denture, so they have increased retention, restore the ability to bite and chew food, allow for a wider variety of foods to be eaten (improving your nutritional intake) and improve in-mouth-comfort with less gum and cheek irritation. An Overdenture is a more expensive than a traditional denture but is a more affordable solution to a ‘fixed’ solution – or suitable for patients who want the ability to remove their dentures to clean. You can read more about removable solutions here.
A fixed solution is where your new teeth are ‘fixed’ (screwed) on to implant fixtures surgically placed in your jawbone. This means that they are super strong and do not move, but it also means that the patient is not able to remove the prosthesis from their mouth. Once fitted, it can only be removed by your Aria Dental professional. You will need to learn how to clean your dental implant-supported bridge at home and it will need to be removed to be professionally cleaned every 6-12 months.
All on 4
Four dental implant fixtures are placed in your jawbone, typically two at the front and two at the back. To use only four implants for support, a dentist requires the occlusion (the biting plane) to be fairly flat and level. This is usually achieved by removing all your existing teeth and grinding your jawbone down to create a flat plane, so your new prosthesis fits nicely against the bite plane of your jaw, and it can be secured by using just 4x implants.
As the process removes sections of your bone and changes your gumline, the physical All-on-4 prosthesis needs to be taller and thicker to make up for the jawbone that was removed, so your new teeth sit visually in the correct space. You can learn more about All on 4 solutions here.
As supported by only 4x implants, the bridge is made from an acrylic material which means that the prothesis needs to have adequate “thickness” so that it does not break. A typical All on 4 requires a bulkier prosthesis, more like a denture, and it can feel thicker in the mouth; and in some cases, can often create some minor lisping when talking. An All on 4 solution is more expensive than an Overdenture but is cheaper than a Full Arch Rehabilitation.
Full Arch Rehabilitation
The Full Arch Rehabilitation is the preferred long-term dental treatment solution. With the aim to deliver high quality, natural tooth aesthetics to our Aria patients, the Full Arch Rehabilitation offers the most natural looking, feeling, and functioning teeth result.
A Full Arch is a more advanced procedure than All on 4, and at Aria is completed by our Specialist Prosthodontist, Dr Michael Zaninovich. While a Prosthodontist is a dentist, not all dentists are Prosthodontists. A Prosthodontist specialises in the design, fabrication, and placement of dental restorations and prosthetics. This is achieved by years of specialist training and experience.
While both are a ‘fixed solution’, the biggest difference between All on 4 and Full Arch Rehabilitation is the number of implants that are installed, and the quality and size of the final bridge used to replace your teeth.
Dr Zaninovich will evaluate your jawbone with a cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) scan, so he can diagnose the optimal locations in your jaw/s to place the dental implants. At Aria, we prefer not to unnecessarily remove bone or tissue, but instead opt to preserve as much healthy bone and tissue as possible. This way, we replace only what is needed. Further diagnostics may determine if other procedures are needed to support your chewing or biting functions and your overall smile aesthetic goals. Having a very supported prosthesis with the correctly placed, correctly located and correct number of dental implants is actually very important to reduce the risk of any future complications. Having more implants also continues to stimulate your jawbone, reducing any jawbone recession over time.
A Full Arch Rehabilitation bridge can be made from ceramic materials that are still strong when in thinner sections, and which mimic the natural feel and optical properties of enamel. The key benefit to the patient is a strong, thin-in-mouth, very natural looking teeth replacement option. At Aria, a beautiful custom-hand-crafted full arch prothesis will be made for just for you, by our highly skilled in-house dental laboratory team. We utilise a series of moulds, models, digital scans, and try-in sessions to ensure a snug and minimum fit against the natural ridges and contours of your jaw / occlusion plane, so it appears as though the teeth are emerging naturally from your gum.
A full arch fixed implant mimics the natural contours, shape, and form of natural teeth. Your new full arch ceramic teeth will be super strong and have a very minimal, streamline look in your mouth, making them look and feel much like natural teeth. You can eat ANY food with ease, smile, laugh, and feel like your old self again! You can learn more about them here.