Dentures versus Overdentures

Dentures versus Overdentures

For patients missing an entire arch of teeth, modern dentistry has many options to solve the issue of replacement. There are a number of different types of dentures that are available to replace a full set of teeth. Advances in modern dentistry have revolutionized how dentists and surgeons think about replacing teeth. While there are still merits to the traditional denture, overdentures have solved many of the problems associated with wearing conventional dentures.

Traditional Dentures

Traditional or conventional dentures are prosthetic teeth affixed to gum colored acrylic bases. These dentures are kept secure by an adhesive, suction to the roof of the mouth, or a combination of both. Because this is not a stable way of attaching them to the mouth, traditional dentures have a tendency to move about in the mouth. Saliva can wash away or dissolve the adhesive and the movement of the tongue during eating and talking can dislocate the prosthesis quite easily. For this reason, traditional dentures have a reputation for causing irritation, pain, and anxiety.

Conventional dentures have other drawbacks as well. Because the dentures sit loosely on the gums, the force when biting and chewing is lessened. This can be not only frustrating, as certain foods such as meat and crisp vegetables will need to be processed before eating, but also potentially dangerous. The jawbone requires the stimulation caused by chewing to stay healthy. The body interprets this lack of stimulation as a waste of resources and stops reinforcing the bone. In a process known as resorption, the minerals in the bone are taken elsewhere in the body. When significant resorption has occurred, the jaw loses mass, further weakening the jawbone itself and any teeth or implants set into it.

Many denture wearers also have a difficult time speaking properly, often lisping or muffling their speech due to the covering of the palate.


Overdentures, similar to traditional dentures, do a very good job of mimicking the look of natural teeth. The main difference is that overdentures sit on top of or are clipped on to titanium dental implants, not directly on the gums. This difference is what makes them so stable and durable.

Overdentures are far more comfortable than traditional dentures. They will not become dislodged while talking or eating. The stability of the prosthetic also means that significant bite force can be achieved. This means that most wearers of overdentures are able to eat normally in ways that wearers of traditional dentures cannot.

The ability to bite down with a good amount of force means that atrophy in the jawbone is far less likely to occur. The implants are able to apply the force from the bite directly into the bone, meaning that the stimulation needed to prevent resorption is achieved.

One factor that may cause a patient to consider traditional dentures over overdentures is the initial upfront cost. Traditional dentures are far less expensive to manufacture and place than overdentures. Overdentures also have a more lengthy and intensive procedure for placing the implants. The costs associated with repairs and maintenance generally favor overdentures over time however as traditional dentures are not as durable as overdentures and will often require frequent readjustments and repairs.