Photograph of a woman with short, straight red hair smiling while looking in a handheld mirror while at the dentist.

Fixed vs. Removable Implant Options

Aileen Sideris Dental Implants

Once you’ve decided that you want to get dental implants, you’ll have another choice to make: fixed vs. removable dentures. (These two options may also be described as screw-in vs. snap-on.) The difference, as suggested by their names, is that fixed implant-supported dentures are permanent and screwed onto your implants at the dentist’s office, while removable dentures can be detached and reattached to abutments whenever you need to remove them. 

That said, no matter what type of implant-supported denture you choose, you’ll be getting the benefits of a stronger bite, a more secure fit, and a more confident smile. Here’s what you should know about each option.


Fixed Implant-Supported Dentures


Because these dentures are permanently affixed to your implants, they offer the most realistic look and feel. Since you won’t have to remove them every night for cleaning, you may even forget that you’re wearing dentures at all. For traditional fixed implant-supported dentures, patients need to have sufficient bone density in the jaw for support. When bone loss has occurred, grafts will be needed in order for implants to be successful, although All-on-4 restorations may also be an option for some of these patients.

Cleaning your fixed implant-supported dentures is as easy as brushing, just like you would with natural teeth, but cleaning around your dentures may pose a challenge. This is because there’s still a small amount of space that needs to be cleaned where the restoration meets your gum. Water flossers, floss threaders, and small interproximal brushes can help make this easier.


Removable Implant-Supported Dentures


If we look at denture options on a spectrum, traditional dentures fall on one side, fixed implant-supported dentures on the opposite side, and removable implant-supported dentures fall right in the middle. They offer patients many benefits over traditional dentures, but they still feel like dentures—although they won’t shift in your mouth and don’t require messy adhesives, they’re a little more bulky than their fixed counterparts and they will need to be removed nightly for cleaning. Some patients don’t mind this, though, and many feel that it makes caring for their restoration easier.

When the jaw bone has already started to deteriorate, snap-on dentures are a better option because they don’t require the same amount of support as a permanent restoration. Another advantage that shouldn’t be overlooked is that dentures that are removable are more affordable than fixed implant-supported dentures. Because you may be responsible for paying all or most of the costs out-of-pocket, this may end up being a deciding factor for you.


Fixed vs. Removable: Which Is Best?


Ultimately, every patient has their own unique needs and goals. The best way to know which type of implant solution is right for you is to visit our office for a consultation. We’ll conduct a thorough exam, discuss your dental and medical history, and help you decide upon the best restoration for you. Contact us today at 413-224-1493 to schedule an appointment at one of our three locations.