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Dental Implant Maintenance…OVER-DENTURE VS FIXED BRIDGE

Fixed bridges are attached to your dental implants much like your natural teeth are connected to your bone. Because they are most similar to teeth, they do require some maintenance.

Most importantly is your daily routine at home. You must brush and floss your implant fixed bridge. You will also need to have regular x-rays to monitor the level of your bone. The bite needs to be checked routinely also. These are all things done during your cleaning appointments.

Overdentures are held in place by attachments that are embedded in the underside of the denture.

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These clips are made of plastic and they do wear out. You will know when they wear out because the overdenture will feel much looser. They wear out about every 18 months to 2 years on average. They are easily replaced my office in about 45 minutes.

The actual teeth on an overdenture will wear out. The teeth hardly wear at all on a fixed bridge. This is strictly due to the material that the teeth are made of.  Porcelain fixed teeth can chip, but generally are rarely replaced.

Overdenture teeth are made of plastic and wear out about every 5-8 years. When they wear out, they need to be replaced. If left to wear for too long, your face will begin to look older because the distance from your nose to your chin has gotten smaller.

The entire overdenture will probably need to be replaced at 10 years.  Although, overdentures are great solutions, they do require replacement.

A fixed dental implant bridge requires much less maintenance than an overdenture.

14 thoughts on “Dental Implant Maintenance…OVER-DENTURE VS FIXED BRIDGE

  1. Hello Dr. Amin,

    I have been thinking about replacing my upper denture with implants. I would like to know if upper implants have more risks involved? Should I go with snap on or fixed? If fixed, do they need to be removed by the dentist for cleanings and how often? You always recommend porcelain vs acrylic teeth,can you explain why? How many implants do you recommend for upper? Wish I lived closer so I could come see you.. but I’m on the other side of the country. Thank you for your time.

    Kind Regards,

    Betty B

    1. Fixed is and has always been better. In general the upper is much more difficult than the lower because of speech and lip supportlip support. I would suggest you see an expert in the field. When done properly, they do not need to be removed by the dentist for cleanings. That is an old way of thinking or a make up for bad designbad design and materials. Your best option is a Prettau zirconia dental implant Bridge. Generally I try to get 6 implants into every upper jaw even if it means zygomaticzygomatic and/or pterygoid implants so that you can have fixed teeth within 24 hours and skip the dentures altogether!

      1. Thank you for your response.. Are the implants you recommended available from all oral surgeons? I live in Georgia, would you know anyone here you would recommend? Why are porcelain teeth better? I’ve always been told that they chip and break easier. Thank you again.

  2. This is a really helpful comparison between fixed bridge dentures and overdentures. I didn’t know that overdentures are made from plastic rather than porcelain. It seems like they require a lot more care since you need to worry about replacing parts of them every so often. I won’t need dentures for a few more years at least, but already it sounds like fixed bridge is the way to go.

  3. Dear Dr. Amin,
    I had an overdenture and had lost two implants. I moved to another state and the surgeon said the loss could be due to an overdenture and agreed to placing two more implants for a total of six for a fixed bridge. The surgery was performed May 1, 2014. The TMD in my right jaw became so severe that I just received the third permanent bridge that was cemented in. The teeth on the left side do not make contact unless forced and I finally figured out that when I open my mouth and close for the impression, my jaw pops and moves to the left when closing causing my bite to change. My dentist keeps shaving the bridge teeth and my bottom natural teeth in an attempt to adjust the bite but it changes back within hours. The only way I can get my neck straightened back up and a little of my posture back is to hold my front teeth together. I have tried a chiropractor, neck wrap and bought an expensive chair but nothing helps. I’m becoming depressed and am in desperate need of advise.

    1. Hmmm….if the bite keeps changing after being leveled many times the issue could be deeper than just “teeth.”

      Not to scare you, but I would evaluate you for a tumor that may be causing expansion of the bones that would change the bite. This is more rare but does happen.

      You can also try a DDS fabricated night guard over the teeth to help find a stable and reproducible bite.

      Good luck.

      1. Thank you. I saw my surgeon today and was given a frontal programmer for nights. She did a bite adjustment while manipulating my jaw. I received instant relief. Yay!

  4. I wish I would’ve known all this before I got my overdenture. It has broken so many times. The lower one is good but the upper 1 has had nothing but problems. One implant even fell out. I only had 2 implants on the upper

    1. Hi Bill,

      Upper over dentures are not as beneficial as lower over dentures. Need a lot more implants for them to be stable and to be without a palate. He is very rare for me to do it upper overdenture. It is much more common for me to do a Prettau dental implant fixed bridge or porcelain fused to metal fixed bridge on 6-8 implants. You can always upgrade to this.

      2 implants are never enough under any circumstances for the upper jaw to hold an overdenture. That only applies to a lower overdenture situation that requires minimal hold.

      All of this should be discussed during 3-D planning and treatment consultation so you know what expectations are.


      Ramsey Amin DDS

      1. I have 4 implants on top and I am being told I still need a partial palate made for a over denture as the denture would break other wise

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Dr. Ramsey Amin has extensive experience in surgical and restorative implant dentistry. As one of only less than 400 Diplomates of the American Board of Oral Implantology/ Implant Dentistry (ABOI/ID) he is considered an expert, and board-certified in dental implants. He is a former instructor at the UCLA School of Dentistry.