Which is Better: Fixed or Removable Dentures?

Which is Better: Fixed or Removable Dentures?

Losing your teeth can make you feel self-conscious, unattractive, and all alone. But, guess what? Plenty of people are in the same boat. In fact, the American College of Prosthodontists reports that about one-half of American adults (120 million people) are missing at least one tooth, and roughly one-seventh (36 million people) have no teeth at all. 

While those figures might make you feel a little less isolated, they do nothing to address the other “side effects” of tooth loss, like lower self-esteem, changes in your appearance, and an increased risk of other oral health problems. But solutions are available, and for many people, that means dentures.

At SmileBoutique in Mount Vernon, New York, Wayne Hofflich, DDS, helps people replace missing teeth with both fixed and removable dentures. If you’re not sure which option is right for you, here’s a quick overview of each type, along with their relative benefits.

Fixed vs. partial dentures: understanding the differences

Pretty much everyone knows what a removable denture is: a device that includes artificial gums and teeth and rests on top of your gums. These dentures are also called traditional dentures, because they’ve been around for a long, long time, and for years, they were the only option for replacing missing teeth.

Fixed dentures are a recent development. These dentures use a similar device with artificial gums and teeth, but instead of just sitting on top of your gums, they’re attached to your jaw bone using four or six dental implants. You may have heard them referred to as implant-supported dentures.

Whichever type of denture suits you, it’s important to replace missing teeth as soon as possible to preserve your bite mechanics and help avoid other problems.

Choosing the right option for you

Both removable and fixed dentures offer benefits — some similar, and some very different. Both help restore your bite and your oral mechanics, making it easier to eat and speak. Both improve the contours of your face and your smile aesthetics.

Fixed dentures

One of the biggest benefits of fixed dentures is security. Because they’re attached to your jaw bone via titanium posts, fixed dentures are very secure — there’s no risk of slippage or sore spots from ill-fitting devices. 

Fixed dentures are designed to feel and function more like your natural teeth, and the care routine is simpler. Many patients find they feel more confident with fixed dentures, since they’re more like their own teeth. 

The implant posts used by fixed dentures also act to promote jaw bone replacement, preventing the jaw thinning that tends to occur following tooth loss. This also helps keep the posts — and the dentures — very secure.

Another big benefit: Because fixed dentures are so secure, you can eat whatever foods you like. With removable dentures, you’ll need to avoid foods that could cause your dentures to “pop out,” like fresh apples, caramels, or corn on the cob.

Removable dentures

When it comes to removable dentures, there are two potential benefits. The first one is cost. Removable dentures tend to cost less than fixed dentures, and for many people, that’s a big consideration, especially if your insurance company doesn’t cover the cost of fixed dentures.

The second benefit comes into play in patients with very thin or weak jawbone. Fixed dentures require strong jawbone to provide adequate support. If your jawbone is very thin (one of the “side effects” of long-term tooth loss), there may not be enough bone to support the denture. 

In that instance, you may be able to “build up” the bone tissue with grafts, but your treatment will take longer (and be more costly). Many people opt for removable dentures, instead. Take note, though, that if your jawbone is still thinning out, you’ll need frequent adjustments to ensure your removable dentures fit properly to avoid slippage and sore spots.

Restore your beautiful smile

Don’t let those missing teeth take a toll on your self-confidence or your overall wellness. At SMileBoutique, you can get state-of-the-art dentures to restore your smile and feel great about the way you look. To learn more about both fixed and removable dentures, call 914-664-7400 or book an appointment online with Dr. Hofflich today.

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