Taking Care of Tooth Implants at Home

2 Types Of Implant Dentures And Their Pros And Cons

by Randy Rodriguez

If you are looking into implant dentures to help you finally have dentures that don't slip and slide around in your mouth when wearing them, then you may have noticed that there are two types. The options are bar-retained and ball-retained dentures, and both are similar but also have some differences. Read on to find out how these two types of implant dentures differ and which may be best for you. 

The Differences

With bar-retained implant dentures, several titanium implant posts (typically three to five for each denture) are installed into your jaw-bone and a metal bar that follows the natural curve of your jaw is then adhered to the posts. This part stays in your mouth at all times, even when dentures are removed. The dentures you wear with this system is made with metal clips that clip securely to the metal bar. 

With ball-retained dentures, a similar number of titanium posts are implanted into your jaw, but there is a round metal stud (or ball) on top of each implant. There is no bar that joins all of the implants together as there is in the bar-retained denture. The dentures that you then wear have small metal sockets in them that the studs on your implants fit into to keep them securely in place. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of a Ball-retained System

Ball-retained implant dentures have several advantages over bar-retained ones. First, depending on your specific jaw size and shape, your implant specialist may determine that you only need two implants instead of more for a single denture. You may need more, but not always.  Also, there is no bar to get in the way of cleaning your gums properly. Some dentists feel that this system holds dentures a bit more securely in place than a bar system. 

The main disadvantage of ball-retained implant dentures was revealed in a study that followed people with ball- and bar-systems for several years. The study found that people with ball-retained implant dentures needed repairs a bit more frequently than people who had bar systems. 

Pros and Cons of a Bar-retained System

As the above study determined, many people with bar-retained implant dentures don't need repairs often. Also, while cleaning around the bar can be a bit more difficult than cleaning your mouth with a ball system, this study showed that there was little-to-no difference in the oral health of people with bar and ball systems who have had them for several years. 

The main disadvantages of bar-retained dentures is that you may need more implants to support the bar, and some dentists think that the bar does not hold dentures quite as securely in place as ball-topped implants. 

If you are considering implant dentures, your implant specialist can provide guidance on which is right for you, your mouth, and your goals. Whichever system you go with, you will likely be very happy that you can finally wear dentures without worrying about them slipping and sliding in your mouth anymore.