Comparing Removable And Fixed Overdentures For Replacing Missing Molars

Overdentures are partial or full dentures that snap down over dental implant roots for a stronger, more stable anchoring. Overdentures can be fixed, meaning you leave the dentures in your mouth at all times, or removable. Each type of overdenture has its own pros and cons and the correct choice comes down to personal needs and discussions with your general or cosmetic dentist specialist (such as one from TLC Dental Center). 

If the multiple teeth needing to be replaced are your molars, there are some additional considerations due to the amount of grinding those teeth perform during everyday chewing.

What are some factors to consider when choosing between removable and fixed overdentures to replace missing molars?

Teeth Grinder? Choose Removable

Do you grind your teeth during sleep or when you're experiencing a great deal of sleep? Grinding wears down natural teeth but can also put excess pressure on implant-supported overdentures, which can end up loosening the implants over time.

If you are a teeth grinder, you might want to consider removable overdentures even if you have a night guard to protect against grinding pressure. You might forget your guard at times or unconsciously grind during times when the guard isn't in your mouth. It isn't worth the risk of implant root failure to go the fixed root.

Removing your overdentures means that there won't be teeth there for your upper teeth to grind against. The implants will still be there, protruding from your gums, but sit much lower than the surrounding teeth.

Strong Jawbone? Choose Fixed

Do you have strong jawbone in the area where you lost the molar teeth? The jawbone-inserted implant roots in either type of overdenture will help promote bone growth and health in the area and keep your strong jawbone going. But a fixed overdenture provides even more benefits.

The fixed overdenture will constantly have artificial teeth sitting over the soft tissue even in areas where the roots aren't inserted into the jawbone. While the overlying teeth don't stimulate jawbone growth directly, the friction of the teeth can help promote soft tissue health, which in turn can continue to help protect the jawbone underneath.

Poor Oral Hygiene? Choose Removable

Did you lose the molar teeth due to less than diligent oral hygiene? Hopefully, you are being more proactive in your oral hygiene now but even the best of intentions can miss the mark sometimes. Molar teeth are particularly hard to reach using a toothbrush or floss and the molar overdentures can end up neglected. While the overdentures can't get cavities, the underlying gum tissue can still collect bacteria, which can lead to infections and tissue and bone loss.

If oral hygiene is a major concern, choose removable overdentures. You can soak the dentures overnight in a cleaner and then simply brush your gums in that area when you go to brush the rest of your teeth.