There are two main types of dental implants available: fixed and removable. While fixed implants remain permanently in the mouth like natural teeth, removable implants are more like dentures and can be taken out to be cleaned.
Removable implants are implants that patients can snap on to a base that is implanted in their gums. Fixed implants are permanently embedded into the gums with a metal abutment and fixture serving the purpose of a natural tooth's "root."
Some patients prefer either fixed or removable implants depending on their unique dental histories and needs. If you are considering dental implants, you should be aware of the following five factors that influence whether fixed or removable implants are right for you:
How many teeth are you missing?
Generally speaking, removable implants are only possible when all or the majority of the teeth are being replaced. Removable implants are not typically an option for patients who only need to replace a single tooth or a small number of teeth with an implant.
If you are having all of your teeth replaced with implants, you need to think about whether you would prefer to be able to remove your teeth for cleaning or not. Those who are accustomed to dentures may opt for removable implants because they are used to removing their teeth at night.
How supportive are the existing bone and tissue structures?
Sometimes, it's necessary to choose removable implants for patients whose existing bone and tissue structure are somewhat weak. A permanent implant requires great strength in the tissue and bones of the gum and jaw.
If your existing bone and tissue structure are strong, you should have no problems with getting permanent implants put in.
How much are the costs of the implant operation?
There are cost differences between fixed and removable implants. A removable implant is generally constructed from acrylic denture material. This material is generally less expensive than the porcelain and/or gold from which fixed implants are typically constructed.
How easy is the maintenance?
Removable implant teeth are made of acrylic and are therefore not quite as strong as permanent implants. They will generally need to be replaced sooner.
However, it's easier to replace removable implants because these implants can be replaced by simply creating a new removable implant. This doesn't require a dental operation that the patient must sit through.
Do you have any unique preferences?
A lot of patients who are considering implants are already used to wearing dentures. For these patients, removable implants might feel more familiar and natural.
For patients replacing missing teeth for the first time who are used to their natural teeth, fixed implants will feel more familiar and mimic the feel of natural teeth exactly.