Are Standard Dentures The Only Real Option When All Your Teeth Are Missing?

Whether your dentures are a long-term solution for your missing teeth is really up to you. Dentures are relatively functional and should look fairly natural. Nonetheless, the fact that they only sit on your palate (and subsequently have a weak bite force) may eventually begin to irritate you. They may not continue to look as natural as you hoped, either. But when all your teeth are missing, aren't dentures your only real option?


Dentures are the most efficient way to replace a missing set of permanent teeth. But standard, detachable dentures certainly aren't the most efficient way to replicate the functionality (or appearance) of permanent teeth. There's a happy medium, and that's implant-supported dentures.

Single Teeth

Dental implants are generally for single teeth, with one implant becoming an artificial tooth root (made of titanium) for an individual artificial tooth (made of realistic-looking dental ceramic). The ceramic tooth has to withstand the same amount of bite force as a natural tooth, hence the need for a single artificial tooth root. The implant must be embedded in the bone, which has to heal around it in order for the implant to have the required stability. Implant-supported dentures aren't subject to these same limitations.

All on 4

You won't need to have a dental implant for each false tooth in your dentures. Your dentist will instead use the all-on-4 dental implant procedure. A customized denture holding anywhere from 10 to 14 teeth will be fabricated. This number of potential teeth means that the procedure is suitable for both total tooth loss and almost total tooth loss, and can still be used if key posterior teeth (at the back of your mouth) have not been lost. And because the implants will be used to hold the dentures instead of functioning as tooth roots, their placement is different from single tooth implants.

Securing Your Dentures

The four implants used to secure your dentures don't need to be placed vertically (as is the case when the implant acts like a tooth root). They can be placed at angles to take advantage of available bone mass—and sufficient mass is essential to ensure the long-term success of an implant. Patients typically receive two implants at the front of their jaw, and two at the rear (on either side). The angled placement means that you can generally skip any additional surgical procedures often required to add bone density, which can be needed for single-tooth implants. 

You will still technically be wearing dentures, but since these are fixed in place (and have the vastly improved functionality and esthetics that go with that), your all-on-4 dental implants will be a remarkable upgrade from your old dentures.

Talk to a local dentist to learn more about all-on-4 dental implants.