Choosing between a removable bridge and a fixed bridge is really a question for either your general dentist or your Prosthodontist (A specialist in advanced crown, bridge and denture work) and is based on your specific dental needs. In general, the decision-making process should be a balance between patient preferences and the remaining support system available.

It Depends on What Teeth Were Lost and How Much Bone You Have Left

For those patients who have lost all their teeth, but have not lost significant bone, a fixed bridge or permanent non-removable teeth, may be the treatment of choice since the new bridge is not required for facial and lip support. However, not all patients are candidates for this treatment. For those patients who have lost all their teeth and/or significant bone, facial and lip support, a removable over-denture, which fits “over” the implants, will often be the necessary treatment of choice. Over-dentures can be made with either a full-palate covered by denture plastic in the upper jaw or with an open-palate design. The approach to treatment often takes the patient’s needs and attitudes into consideration. A patient’s motivation, experiences, and perspective will strongly influence the level of satisfaction with the replacement teeth whether fixed or removable.

Let Your Thoughts Be Known When Deciding

In order to best achieve your goals, the dentist or prosthodontist must be made aware of your thoughts in deciding upon the best option for you. The dentist and patient need to work together in the decision-making process to help balance the patient’s individual preferences with what remaining bone, gum tissue, lip and cheek support is necessary to accomplish your treatment plan. For those patients with severe loss of these remaining structures, a removable over-denture will offer several advantages over the fixed type which include:

  • Aesthetics The key determining factor is that the majority of patient’s desire “pleasing aesthetics” as their end result. A removable, yet stable denture supported by implants can replace lost tissues, re-establish facial harmony and provide a remarkable “makeover” result.
  • Speech Enhancement – Patients describe speech as a major factor in the satisfaction with their denture. All implant supported dentures or bridgework, especially on the upper jaw, may alter speech. A removable denture, as compared to the fixed bridgework, has been shown to generally provide better speech for those patients who have previously worn a denture.
  • Oral Hygiene – It is extremely important to have direct and easy access to clean the tissues surrounding the underlying implants. This design is optimal to preserve bone.
  • Long-term Maintenance – All full-jaw implant supported fixed bridgework or removable dentures will require some maintenance. If well-designed, over-denture maintenance should be easier and more cost effective.

In summary, a removable over-denture will be similar to the fixed bridgework in that both are supported by implants, and in terms of comfort and the ability to chew. However, the over-denture will offer significant advantages for those patients suffering from severe loss of bone, gum, lip and cheek support. The loss of teeth affects each person on a very personal level, and their treatment, in turn, needs to be evaluated on an individual basis to be successful. Talk to your dentist at-length about what you want and need so he/she can meet your objectives. A beautiful, fully-functioning smile can be in your future.

Tri-State Family Dentistry has a lot of experience with fixed and removable bridges. Let us know your situation and we’ll create a custom solution for you.

Contact Us (859-689-1105) For More Information or to Make an Appointment!


About Tri-State Family Dentistry

Tri-State Family Dentistry is dedicated to providing the highest quality dental care possible. Being privately owned since 2009, we don’t experience the corporate pressure that other dental practices have to hit certain revenue numbers. You will never be ‘sold’ dentistry at Tri-State Family Dentistry. After we explain your treatment options, you can make your own decisions.