Full Fixed or Removable Dental Implant Restorations: Which is Right for You?

March 21, 2022

Full Fixed or Removable Dental Implant Restorations: Which is Right for You?

What are the most effective long-term alternatives to replace a full arch of missing teeth? This article provides basic information about fixed and removable dental implant restorations for people with a full arch (upper and/or lower) of missing teeth. Talk to your dentist to help you to decide on the best option for you.

Many adults have one or more missing teeth due to a range of causes—such as tooth decay, advanced periodontal disease, injury, extractions and even genetics—and the prevalence increases with age. Fortunately, there are long-term dental restoration solutions available to help patients maintain the ability to chew effectively, support facial structure, and fill gaps that may undermine confidence in one’s smile.

While dental implants with crowns are usually used to replace individual missing teeth, restoring multiple or all missing teeth in the upper or lower jaw generally requires some form of bridge or denture. Two treatments commonly recommended by dentists are fixed or removable full arch dental implant restorations. This article explains what each procedure entails, their differences, advantages, and disadvantages, and when or the other option should be considered. 

What are Dental Implant Restorations?
A dental implant is a prosthetic tooth root that is surgically inserted into the jawbone. For full arch dental implant-supported restorations, anywhere from 4 to 6 implants are typically used as a foundation for either a fixed bridge or removable denture. These restorations provide a patient with custom-made prosthetic teeth to replace their missing natural teeth. These restorations  look quite natural, as they are specially fabricated to match your unique bite and the colour and contours of existing teeth and gums. 

The Difference Between Fixed and Removable Dental Implant Restorations
Fixed dental implant-supported restorations (also called fixed dental bridges) are permanent tooth restorations held firmly in place by abutments fastened to prosthetic roots (implants) implanted into your jawbone. They can only be removed by your dentist.

Removable dental implant restorations, sometimes called overdentures, are constructed in a way that makes them detachable by the patient at home. Rather than individual abutments, a specially designed base is attached to the dental implants, onto which the restoration snaps directly. 

What are Fixed Dental Implant Restorations?
This procedure involves inserting 4–6 prosthetic root fixtures (dental implants) into your jawbone that serve as anchors for abutments upon which the permanent fixed dental restoration (bridge) is fastened. At Tuxedo Dental Group, we custom fabricate prosthetic teeth in our on-site lab to fit your specific bite and smile from a variety of materials, most commonly all ceramics or composite resins. The precise material recommended typically depends  on your unique situation. 

Advantages of Fixed Dental Implant Restorations:

  • They can be cared for in the same way as your natural teeth: regular brushing and flossing;
  • They are a durable, long-term solution;
  • They are fabricated to appear and feel natural;
  • Because they are securely anchored to dental implants, they are not prone to shifting;
  • In many cases, they can be provided on the same day as your dental implant placement surgery.

Disadvantages of Fixed Dental Implant Restorations:

  • Some jawbones do not have enough bone to support dental implants;
  • ​​Cleaning around the restoration and implant structures can be difficult for some patients;
  • They may not support facial tissues as well for patients who have lost a lot of bone and/or lip support.

What are Removable Dental Implant Restorations?
A removable dental implant restoration begins similarly to a fixed restoration—with the insertion of several dental implants into the jawbone and the custom fabrication of a prosthetic denture.  The level of support and retention is dictated by the number of implants placed.. With the help of special components, the denture snaps securely on and off of the dental implants. A removable dental implant restoration can be easily detached by the wearer for cleaning and oral hygiene, making it a good option for those who find it challenging to clean restorations in their mouths.

Advantages of Removable dental Implant restorations:

  • They are custom-made to look like natural teeth;
  • They can provide an economical solution to a loose denture.;
  • Because they are detachable, cleaning them is very easy;
  • They tend to be more retentive than traditional dentures.

Disadvantages of Removable dental implant restorations:

  • The wearer must insert and remove them each day, typically removing them at night and for maintenance;
  • Although fully functional, they may not feel quite as natural as fixed dental implant restorations.

Which option is best for you?
To determine the most appropriate solution for you, your dentist will consider your unique dental situation, your budget, your personal preferences, and other factors. Our team can show you what these restorations look like on life-like models. ​​ They will discuss the treatment plan with you so that you may better understand which is best given your unique circumstances.  

Trust Our Dentists for Optimal Dental Restorations
Do not hesitate to reach out to our team to discuss your fixed or removable dental implant options. One of Tuxedo Dental Group’s highly trained dentists will be happy to discuss any questions or concerns you may have and support you in restoring your complete and healthy smile. Make an appointment today!