Hybrid dentures are an upgraded version of traditional dentures for restoring the form and function of multiple missing teeth lost to tooth decay and gum disease. Hybrid dentures are secured to a small series of dental implants which helps them hold more firmly in place than traditional dentures. While also being more comfortable than traditional overdentures.
What Are Hybrid Dentures?
If you’ve lost multiple teeth in one part of your mouth, you might be wondering what is a hybrid denture, and how is it different from a traditional overdenture. With a hybrid denture, the oral appliance is affixed to two or more dental implant abutments, rather than fitting over your remaining natural teeth.
This locks the fixed hybrid denture in place with the kind of confidence and comfort that an overdenture cannot match. Since they are locked in place, you can’t readily take them out without the help of a dentist or dental implant specialist.
A lot of people who have had traditional overdentures before, complain about the loose feeling of the denture on the gums and the stress it places on their remaining natural teeth. Especially since oral structure changes over time which gradually causes the contours of an overdenture to no longer match perfectly with the person’s gums.
Hybrid Denture Protocol and Procedures
The hybrid denture procedure has several phases. For some patients, it can take several months to fully restore the function and appearance of the missing teeth. Your dental implant restoration specialist might show you before and after hybrid dentures, photos to help you visualize the benefits of this type of restorative dentistry.
At the first appointment, the dental restoration specialist creates an impression of your upper and lower arches and all other relevant oral structures. A series of X-rays of a CT scan will be performed to assess the available bone structure.
An oral surgeon who specializes in dental implant restorations will place the dental implant abutments during a single outpatient procedure. If necessary, they might also need to extract any remaining natural teeth.
After the surgical procedure, you will be fitted for a temporary overdenture. This will allow you to retain some basic oral function while your gums heal and the dental implants fuse to your natural bone tissues. This process of osseointegration can sometimes take up to six months.
The dental implant restoration specialist will create an impression and take detailed scans of your mouth. This information will be used to create your final hybrid denture. When it’s ready they will install the hybrid denture onto the fused abutments, thus completing the dental restoration.
These hybrid denture steps can take up to 6 months or more for some patients. Especially those who need a bone graft in advance to restore sufficient oral structure to secure the dental implants.
Why Are Hybrid Dentures So Popular?
The popularity of hybrid dentures is often attributed to them being a compromise between overly invasive dental implant restorations. Hybrid dentures are also much more firm and comfortable than overdentures, which tend to fit loosely on the gums.
Many people choose a hybrid denture vs overdenture if they are suffering from a loss of oral bone structure, or their remaining natural teeth are also compromised. This makes them a great dental restoration for someone who’s lost several teeth in one place due to severe oral trauma or bone loss due to prolonged gum disease.
If you look at hybrid denture photos, you’ll see that they look very much like real teeth. While also being able to do things like bite off pieces of food or crunch down on harder foods with a level of confidence that is rare in overdentures.
Pros And Cons Of Hybrid Dentures
There are a few benefits and potential drawbacks to hybrid dentures that you want to take into account when choosing the dental restoration that’s right for you.
- Superior bite force compared to full dentures
- More comfortable than overdentures
- Looks like natural teeth and gums
- Semi-permanently affixed
- Doesn’t come loose like overdentures
- Doesn’t touch the roof of the mouth like snap-in dentures
- No gum irritation
- Bacterial buildup between the base of the hybrid denture and gums
- Food particles can get trapped near the gumline
- Needs more cleaning & care than an overdenture
- Requires careful placement
- Cannot be removed without help from a specialist
How Much Do Hybrid Dentures Cost?
The final fixed hybrid denture cost can range from $9,000 to as much as $15,000. The size, the number of teeth, and the location of the hybrid denture in your mouth can influence the cost. If you need a bone graft to restore sufficient oral structure to secure the dental implants, the procedure will also be reflected in the final cost.
When you compare the hybrid denture cost to that of a traditional overdenture there is a significant disparity. Most overdentures range in price from $3,000 to $6,000. Though they also tend to have a shorter lifespan and can become less effective over time as the oral structure of your mouth changes.
What Are The Hybrid Denture Options?
There are several types of dentures to consider for restoring the appearance and function of your missing teeth. Including implant hybrid dentures, which anchor an entire arch of dentures on four to six dental implants.
Complete Dentures (Plates) vs Hybrid Denture
Complete denture plates or “Full Dentures” feature artificial teeth which are fused into an acrylic base that mimics the appearance of natural gum tissue. The upper denture features a special type of plate that contours and covers the roof of your mouth. Then the lower denture is curved into a semi-horseshoe shape which rests firmly on your gum tissues and conforms to the available bone structure.
Complete dentures are removable but aren’t as strong as hybrid dentures. Because your natural oral structure changes over time, most complete dentures start to fit loosely. Sometimes the denture can be slightly adjusted, but usually, you need a whole new denture fitted every 7 to 10 years.
Hybrid Denture vs All On 4
When comparing hybrid dentures vs all on 4, you have to consider that all on four restorations only use four strategically placed implant abutments for a single set of upper or lower teeth.
Whereas hybrid dentures can and often use more than four dental implant abutments to create an extra-secure fit. Hybrid partial dentures can also be used to replicate a partial denture for patients who are missing multiple teeth in just one section of their mouth.
Overdentures vs Hybrid Dentures
Overdentures tend to use your existing teeth as veritable anchor points. This often makes overdentures more uncomfortable. Especially if your existing teeth have lost structural integrity due to gum disease. Overdentures also tend to be better for restoring missing lower teeth.
An upper hybrid denture tends to be more comfortable for restoring the presence, appearance, and function of upper teeth. Especially those that appear in your smile. Since it locks in place on the abutments, you never have to worry about the embarrassment of the teeth coming loose, which can sometimes happen with an overdenture.
Are Hybrid Dentures Right For You?
Hybrid Dentures might be right for you, if you’ve tried overdentures in the past and didn’t like them or if you’re looking for a minimal-maintenance oral prosthesis that you can use with confidence. Since hybrid dentures affix semi-permanently to dental implants, they do a better job of replicating the bite strength of natural teeth. All with a lifespan that is far greater than traditional full or partial dentures.
Though for some people, the cost and the extended time frame it takes to complete the restoration can feel prohibitive. You’ll want to make sure you have your finances in order before starting the restoration process. Then expect that it could take up to 6 months or longer before the final hybrid denture is installed.
Hybrid dentures tend to be much more comfortable than over dentures and traditional full or partial dentures that sit on the gum tissues. They don’t lose their custom fit over time like other denture restorations do, which means you can trust them to feel the same the first year as they do in the tenth year.
The average hybrid denture can last ten years or more. Good oral hygiene practices and proper care will maximize the lifespan of your hybrid dentures. Compare this to the average 5-to-8-year lifespan of traditional dentures and hybrid dentures tend to pay for themselves over time.
Once it’s been installed the hybrid denture can only be safely removed by a dentist or a dental implant restoration specialist. Though not being able to remove them can make it challenging at first to keep your new hybrid denture clean.
A hybrid denture needs to be brushed daily with a soft-bristled toothbrush and some nonabrasive denture toothpaste. You can then clear away plaque from the base with a floss threader or a water pick.