When it comes to utilizing dental implants to replace an entire arch of missing teeth, there are several treatment options available to the clinician. The most permanent and natural-looking method involves placing traditional crowns and bridges upon multiple dental implants spaced within the arch that replace the roots of almost every missing tooth. Clearly, this method restores the patient’s teeth and gives them the feel and function of real teeth.
But very few edentulous patients have an adequate quantity of bone throughout an arch to replace the roots of every tooth without undergoing extensive bone augmentation surgery. Not to mention the price; the procedure is cost-prohibitive for the majority of edentulous people. Is there an alternative treatment that accomplishes similar restorative benefits while not breaking the bank? Enter hybrid implant dentures.
Types of Hybrid Dentures
What is a hybrid denture? A hybrid denture is a cross between a removable implant-supported denture and a fixed bridge. Because a hybrid denture is secured into place with fixed screws, it can only be removed by the clinician for periodic maintenance.
Hybrid dentures can be made from different materials, some of which are more durable and long-lasting than others. We’ll discuss two of the most commonly used types of hybrid dentures available and talk about the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Acrylic Hybrid Denture
Imagine a cast metal partial denture that encompasses an entire arch and is secured to multiple implants by screws. That is what an acrylic hybrid denture is. Using a custom metal substructure, usually made from titanium, the acrylic hybrid denture possesses both strength and rigidity that allow it to function as a free-end appliance beyond the constraints of the implant abutments.
- A less expensive option compared to a zirconia bridge or traditional crown and bridgework
- Minor repairs to the acrylic may be made on site in the dental office
- The material is lightweight
- Acrylic is a porous material that can trap bacteria in cracks or crevices
- The denture is somewhat difficult for the patient to clean
- Denture teeth and acrylic can stain with use
- Diminished longevity; average life expectancy is 5 to 10 years
- Acrylic is prone to cracking and breakage
Zirconia Hybrid Denture
The entire arch of teeth with any necessary flange is fabricated as a single unit via CAD/CAM milling technology from a solid block of zirconia. Since zirconia is an incredibly strong material, it provides sufficient strength and durability to function as a long-span bridge. Ceramic is layered and fired onto the surface of the zirconia denture to custom stain and color the teeth and the gum material for a lifelike appearance.