Following a 2002 dental symposium held at McGill University in Montreal, a panel of dental implant experts developed a consensus statement suggesting that the minimum treatment for anyone who’s missing all of their teeth on their bottom jaw is a denture secured by two implants. This announcement meant that a complete denture could no longer be considered a satisfactory solution to tooth loss. Wide acceptance of this consensus has been slow as many individuals still opt for the complete denture treatment plan, mostly due to cost barriers. Here we highlight the different dental implant options for complete dentures and compare their prices.
1. Fixed, or screw-retained denture on implants (all on 4)
“One of the more common concerns, particularly of patients that are getting dentures for the first time, is that patients don’t want their dentures to come out... ever,” says Saberton Denture & Implant owner and denturist, P.J. Saberton. “The idea of having a denture come out at night creates visions of grandma’s teeth chattering in a glass of cold water by the bedside.” Because of this, one of the most popular dental implant requests is a screw-retained, or fixed denture on implants. These dentures are secured in the mouth by the dentist and can only be removed at a dental visit. “The obvious advantage of fixed dentures on implants is not having to take your teeth out at night,” says Saberton. “There are some drawbacks involved with these appliances, however. Firstly, cleaning underneath the denture can take a lot of dexterity. There is a gap between the denture and the gums which needs to be irrigated in order to clean the gums properly. Getting to these tight spots can be tricky for individuals who have limited hand movement or arthritis.” So, while fixed dentures seem ideal at first, they aren’t for everyone. “There are also reports of patients who are uncomfortable with the fixed aspect, describing the feeling of having the denture locked into their jaw as unpleasant” adds Saberton. The cost of fixed denture implant treatment can be quite high, ranging from $20,000 and up, depending on which materials are used.
2. Removable denture on implants
Due to the high costs of fixed dentures on implants, a removable denture on implants is a more affordable approach. “Our most recommended treatment is a removable denture on implants,” says Saberton. The cost of this treatment is less and it’s much easier to clean than the fixed option. “The denture is still secured like the screw-retained version,” describes Saberton. “The removable option simply gives the patient the ability to clean the denture and the mouth properly,” Saberton says. Adding that “when you factor in the more decreased cost of this treatment, this is really the best way to go for most patients.” Removable dentures secured with implants can cost about $10,000 for the implants and the denture with a lot of the price depending on the number of implants being placed.
3. Mini dental implants
Mini implants were developed as a more affordable solution to the costs of implant surgery. However, many dental professionals don’t even consider mini dental implants to be in the same category as dental implants because of their high failure rate. “Mini implants fail at a rate of about 30%,” says Saberton, “this means that the patient would have to pay for an additional number of implants, hoping that they don’t fail. In the end, the cost savings just aren’t there to warrant this treatment plan when for similar fees, one could get a denture on implants that are anchored into the bone securely.” Mini dental implant treatment with complete dentures can cost around $5,000 depending on the number of implants used.