Full Upper Denture: How Many Dental Implants Are Needed?


Isaac asks:

Are 4 dental implants sufficient to support a full upper denture? What if one fails? Do you recommend 5 or even 6 dental implants for a full upper denture?

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Expert Advice and Comments
smmoss's picture

How many implants

Answered By: Dr. Steven M. Moss - Rutherford , NJ

Hi Isaac

Even two implants with appropriate attachments will help you with "retention" of the denture. In this instance, it would remain a removable prosthesis. However,with 4 or more implants (though only 4 are needed when following MALO CLINIC "All-on-4" protocols) you can say "good-bye" to your denture and have fixed (non-removable) teeth once again. Long term studies show over 98% success (implant survival)with "All-on-4",so failure is not very common,but in the event one is lost, it can be almost always be replaced. So if your considering investing in implants, you may want to consider this option!

Best of luck!
Dr. Moss

Dr. Steven M. Moss
MALO Advanced Oral Rehabilitation

Johnvravick's picture

How many implants

Answered By: Dr. John Vravick - Vernon Hills , IL

The key to your question is that implants are not used to support a denture, they are used to help retain a denture. Two to four implants can stabilize a denture. This will depend on the amount of bone you have. If you want a fixed implant bridge you will need at least 6 implants. If you do not have enough bone you will need to build that up first. Then you need to know if the sinuses are low. The sinus areas could possibly need a graft also. If you have been wearing a denture for years you will need grafting prior to implant. Be carefull with implants in a day treatment. The main question I would ask the surgeon is: "who is going to help me maintain these implants". If they do not have a answer walk away. Using four implants will leave you with a chance for failure if your loose one.
The need for a fixed upper bridge will depend on how many lower teeth you have and how stable they are. If there are any problems with these teeth you need to take care of them first. Then you need to think about how committed you are to taking care of these implants. With implants you need to make sure you are brushing at least three times a day and seeing your dentist for professional cleanings every three months. If you are not going to commit to maintenance I would simply think about using the implants for retention.

A fixed implant bridge is similar to a fixed denture screwed into implants.

John A. Vravick, D.D.S., M.S., LTD.

tgrossman's picture

Maxillary Denture Implant Retention

Answered By: Dr. Theodore M. Grossman - Aventura , FL

Hi Isaac
I recommend 4 implants with locator attachments for retention of a full maxillary palateless prosthesis.
Select your surgeon carefully for an adequate evaluation of the boney alveolar ridge and sinus position. Quality implant selection and surgical care with proper maintenance instruction will give years of prosthetic success. This design allows excellent hygiene access.

Best of Luck

Theodore M Grossman DMD

Dr. Theodore M. Grossman

drkazemi's picture

Number of implants for upper denture

Answered By: Dr. H. Ryan Kazemi - Bethesda , MD

Four dental implants are ideal for support of a removable overdenture as it provides stability and support in all directions. With 5 or 6 implants, it may be possible to provide you with a fixed prosthesis, so that is a decision that you should discuss with your treating dentist and oral surgeon.

Dr. H. Ryan Kazemi

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