Hybrid dentures are a type of dental prosthesis that combines the benefits of dental implants with the aesthetics and functionality of dentures. Since a hybrid denture is fixed to the implants using screws, it provides a more convenient tooth replacement option for patients who do not want removable false teeth.
Generally, the wearer cannot remove a hybrid denture at will, unless they go to the dentist for periodic maintenance.
Hybrid dentures can be constructed using different types of high-quality materials, including acrylic, composite resins, or zirconia. These materials vary in terms durability, aesthetics, attachment systems, and cost, all of which may affect your choice when looking for a set of false teeth.
These different types of hybrid dentures are discussed below:
I. Titanium and Acrylic Hybrid Dentures
Made with a titanium substructure and an acrylic denture, this type of hybrid denture provides several benefits:
- Comfortable Fit: The titanium frame reduces biting and chewing pressure, bringing greater comfort to the wearer.
- Repairability: In case of damage or dislodged teeth, titanium and acrylic hybrid dentures can be easily repaired by dental professionals.
- Stain Removal: Although they may stain over time, these dentures can be easily cleaned and polished to restore their appearance.
- Cheaper and lighter: The material is lightweight
That said, acrylic dentures wear down faster than natural teeth; the porous material is prone to bacteria buildup; and it is prone to stains and cracking. As such, acrylic dentures require careful maintenance to preserve longevity, though they may not be as long-lasting as other options like zirconia dentures, with a life expectancy of only 5 to 10 years.
II. Smart Composite Hybrid Dentures
Smart Composite hybrids offer a combination of benefits from both acrylic and zirconia hybrids, including:
- Strength and Lightweight: These hybrids feature milled composite materials that are both strong and lightweight.
- Easy Maintenance: Smart Composite hybrids can be easily polished and repaired while in the mouth.
- Chip Resistance: They are less likely to chip compared to acrylic dentures, providing enhanced durability.
While highly durable, Smart Composite hybrids may not last as long as full zirconia hybrid dentures.
III. Full Zirconia Hybrid Dentures
Regarded as one of the most durable and aesthetically pleasing options, full zirconia hybrid dentures offer exceptional strength and longevity. Other benefits include:
- Chip Resistance: Zirconia is highly resistant to chipping, ensuring long-term functionality and reliability.
- Stain resistance: All-ceramic material is resistant to stains and bacteria build-up
- Easy to clean: the smooth, glassy surfaces are easy to clean for improved oral hygiene
- Durability: Zirconia hybrids possess remarkable strength, rivaling or surpassing the biting and chewing ability of natural teeth.
- Longevity: Can last 20 years or longer with proper maintenance
- Aesthetics: These dentures provide a combination of strength and aesthetic features, closely resembling natural teeth.
While zirconia is durable, it can be relatively heavier compared to other materials, requiring careful consideration for patient comfort. Moreover, full zirconia hybrid dentures are generally more expensive than other options, and any repair work must be done in a dental lab, meaning that the patient may have to stay without teeth for a while, or rely on removable ones.
IV. Porcelain Fused to Metal Hybrid Dentures
These hybrid dentures offer a balance between natural tooth resemblance and longevity, but they come with certain considerations.
- Natural Appearance: Porcelain fused to metal hybrids closely resemble natural teeth, enhancing the overall aesthetic appeal.
- Longevity: With proper care, these dentures can last for decades without requiring repairs or replacements.
- Versatility: Porcelain fused to metal hybrids offer versatility in terms of customization and adaptation to individual needs.
While generally durable, porcelain fused to metal hybrids have a higher likelihood of chipping compared to zirconia. This type of hybrid denture also tends to be more expensive.
Placement of hybrid dentures
A hybrid implant denture is often used when a person needs to replace multiple missing teeth. It can be a great option, especially for cases where six or more tooth replacement are needed.
In such cases, your dentist may recommend a common technique used with hybrid implant dentures called “all-on-4.” This technique involves placing four implants in total to support the entire denture:
- Two implants are placed in the canine areas of the mouth
- The other two implants are longer and are positioned at a 45-degree angle towards the back of the mouth from the premolar region.
By using this technique, the hybrid implant denture is securely supported by the four implants. This provides stability and strength, allowing the denture to function and feel more like natural teeth.
The all-on-4 technique is often chosen because it requires fewer implants compared to other methods, making it more convenient and cost-effective for some patients. However, it’s important to consult with a dentist to determine if this technique is suitable for your specific case.
Pros and cons of hybrid dentures
- A cost-effective alternative to restoring an entire dental arch compared to replacing individual missing teeth with dental implants
- The restoration closely mimics the appearance, functionality, and sensation of natural teeth
- With maximum support provided by dental implants, stability is ensured
- Patients benefit from the convenience of not having to remove the appliance, which eliminates any potential embarrassment of being seen without teeth by friends and loved ones
- Less bulky compared to traditional dentures or removable implant-supported dentures
- Allows for the full exposure of taste buds and temperature sensors
- Since the restoration is fully supported by implants, gum irritation is effectively eliminated.
- Complex procedure and long recovery: The process of getting hybrid dentures can be a significant undertaking for both the dentist and the patient. It involves implant surgery, which adds complexity and requires careful planning and execution. This surgical procedure may involve a longer recovery time and potential discomfort for the patient.
- Takes time: Another aspect to consider is that hybrid dentures may initially be restored with a removable appliance. While this provides an immediate solution, some patients may desire a more permanent treatment option in the future. Transitioning from a removable appliance to a fixed hybrid denture or another alternative treatment may require additional procedures and costs.
- High cost: The final restoration, including the implants and the denture itself, can be quite expensive. For many patients, managing the cost of the treatment within a short period of time may pose a financial challenge. The cost of the procedure can vary depending on factors such as the number of implants required and the materials used for the denture.
- Risk of complications: Additionally, as with any dental restoration, there is a potential for complications or need for future maintenance. Although hybrid dentures are designed to be durable, there is still a possibility of denture fracture, wear, or other issues that may require repairs or adjustments over time.
A hybrid implant denture, particularly when combined with the all-on-4 technique, can be a reliable and effective solution for restoring multiple missing teeth and improving your smile and oral function.
It is important for patients considering hybrid dentures to have a thorough discussion with their dentist regarding this tooth replacement option, and weigh the benefits against the challenges associated with the different types of hybrid dentures.