Implant Retained Dentures

One of the best options to restore your mouth

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Free New Patient Implant Consultation in Chattanooga, TN

We strive to offer a personal and professional touch at Shallowford Smiles.  We offer a free x-rays to determine if you are a candidate and to discuss your options.  Exam cost is free as well, you don't pay to find out what's wrong*  🙂


Implant Retained Dentures

Implants are placed, allowed to heal for 4 months, and then your dentures are attached.

  • Smile With Confidence
  • No Palate on the Top Once Implants are Attached
  • No More Glue or Paste
  • Minimal Maintenance
  • Easy to Repair if and when Life Happens
  • Highest Satisfaction Rating Out of All Options

The Process

At this appointment we will be placing the implants into your bone.  Most people choose conscious sedation for this, which allows them to have a much more pleasant experience.  We will make sure you are comfortable and then prepare the bone.  We typically place 4 implants on top and 4 implants on bottom.  2 implants on bottom are acceptable, but the denture will rock much more with only 2 implants, but will still be retentive, so they won't fall out.  The implants and healing cap will be placed below the level of bone, so you can still wear your current dentures.  Sutures will be placed as well, and we will remove them at 2 weeks if they haven't come out on their own.  You will need a driver for this appointment if you choose conscious sedation.

We like to see patients at 2 days, 2 weeks and 2 months post-implant placement, at the minimum.  Denture adjustments are common as the tissue does change slightly because of the surgery.  Sutures will be removed at 2 weeks and we will be taking x-rays and doing exams to determine how well you are recovering.  Most people require 4 months for the implants to fully heal, but some require 6 months.  These post-op appointments will help us determine when to uncover the implants. 

Because the implants have been placed below the bone and gum, we will have to uncover them.  Most people choose not to have sedation, but it is still an option for this appointment.  We will numb your gums and use a laser or uncover the implants with other means.  We will remove the flat healing cap that is on top of the implant and place longer ones that will stick through the gum.  We will also adjust your denture so you can still wear them over the healing caps.  It will take approximately 2 weeks for the tissue to heal before we can attach the denture to the implants.

This is typically a morning and afternoon appointment, and the only time you will be without your denture as it is being processed to attach to the implants.  Because the healing caps are sticking through the gum now, we typically don't have to numb you.  The healing caps will be unscrewed, which is an odd sensation, but not painful, and permanent implant abutments will be placed.  Your denture will be adjusted around those abutments and a cap will be placed in your denture that attaches to the abutment.  A reline will be done that "picks-up" the attachments, and the lab will process your denture.  We will deliver the denture in the afternoon.  If you had an upper denture, the palate will be removed.  THIS ENTIRE PROCESS WILL CAUSE SORE SPOTS TEMPRARILY.  Because the denture won't be moving, sore spots will get generated.  Post-op appointments will be necessary.  Retention is also kept low for comfort.  It will be increased.

Adjustments are necessary and a normal part of the process after.  Because the denture is more securely attached, the gums will get irritated for a bit.  This will settle down and is a normal part of the process.  Make sure to wear your denture for 24 hours before coming to adjustment appointments, as this allows the sore spot to be visible.  Retention can often be increased within a week, but is best left for after the sore spots slow down.  The o-rings/inserts will wear out between 6 months and 2 years, and will need to be replaced, but this is a very easy procedure.

See What Our Patients Have to Say:

Clinton Gipson
Clinton Gipson
May 6, 2023
Shallowford Smiles, and it's entire staff have taken tremendous care of me, my friends, and family for many, many years now. Great people, providing first rate services... I never hesitate to recommend these guys to anyone in need of the best kind of dental care.
Anita Houston
Anita Houston
May 4, 2023
They did a wonderful job and really mean that from the bottom of my heart friendly service with a smile 🥰🥰🥰🥰🥰
Sheena Grove
Sheena Grove
May 4, 2023
So friendly and helpful.
Gloria Hickman
Gloria Hickman
May 3, 2023
FRED Stewart
FRED Stewart
May 2, 2023
Always Courtious and efficient!
Jerry Toler
Jerry Toler
April 27, 2023
They are the best of what they do
Jenny Mcmahon
Jenny Mcmahon
April 20, 2023
Always thoughtful taking his time! Thank you!
Letricia Mayweather
Letricia Mayweather
April 19, 2023
The staff were really friendly and caring. The dentist was very professional and nice and comforting in my anxiety. Will recommend to other people!! Only problem is there payment options. There is none other than care credit
Steve Dohrn
Steve Dohrn
March 30, 2023
Friendly people. great service and reliable dental care.

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The total process, without extractions, is 5-7 months total.  Implants take 4-6 months to heal in the bone after being placed.  At the 4-6 month mark we will uncover the implants and allow an additional 2 weeks for the gum to heal.  Then we will attach your denture to the implants.  Extractions add 3-4 months of healing time on occasion if teeth are in the locations where we would place implants. These timelines are not guarantees, just a guideline.

These dentures use a locator system where a locator abutment screws into the implant and a corresponding female housing in the denture clips onto these abutments, securing the denture in place.

Benefits include improved stability and comfort, less gum tissue irritation, better chewing efficiency, and the preservation of bone.  Implants help prevent bone loss which does occur in patients that have dentures and don't have implants.  In addition, one of the main benefits of having upper implants is that the palate can be removed.  This makes the upper denture look more like a U-shape like the lower.  Patients typically rave about how much better it feels and how much better food tastes to them.

Typically, a minimum of four implants is used for the upper jaw and four for the lower jaw. However, two implants are possible on the lower jaw but will result in suboptimal stability.

Ideal candidates have sufficient jawbone to support implants, are in good general health, and seek a more stable alternative to traditional dentures.  When you visit Shallowford Smiles and Dr. Wilkinson in the East Brainerd area of Chattanooga, TN, we will take a 3-dimensional x-ray to determine if you have enough bone, and if the bone is of good quality.  We will also examine your gums and mouth to make sure there aren't other issues.

The entire process takes a minimum of 5 months.  If you have healed bone, implants will be placed and allowed to heal for a minimum of 4 months.  People heal at different rates from each other.  We will be taking 3-dimensional x-rays and regular x-rays to determine how you are healing and when a proper time to uncover the implants will be. We will then uncover the implants.  Implants are allowed to heal underneath the gums and well in the bone.  We need to expose the implants to the mouth and then let the gums heal for 2 more weeks.  After that we attach the dentures to the implants.  So the process is 4.5 months to 6 months on average.

The denture itself is removable for cleaning and maintenance, but the implants are permanently placed in the jaw.

Daily cleaning of the denture and the abutments, regular dental check-ups, and professional cleanings are essential to maintain oral health.  The abutments can be brushed with a soft bristle tooth brush as can the denture with a soft denture brush.  Don't use toothpaste of any such abrasive while cleaning the abutments or denture.

Locator abutments are special attachments that screw into the dental implants. They have a male part that fits into the female housing of the denture to secure it in place.  There are inserts in the housings that act like O-rings.  These come in various retentions and are easily replaced.

Every person is different, but typically in the range of 6 months to 3 years.  Some people get in the habit of clicking the dentures in and out, which causes the inserts to wear faster.  Other habits like they way in which one chews, if people clench or grind, also have an impact on the lifetime of the inserts.

It is $50 for every 2 inserts changed, $100 for 4, or $150 for 6-8

If you don't have enough bone, typically bone grafting will be done.  We will refer you to an oral surgeon for that.

Most patients find them more comfortable than traditional dentures because they are more stable and less likely to shift or irritate the gums.

Yes, they are designed to look like natural teeth and improve the overall aesthetics of your smile.  The lab we work with is fantastic and based close by in Hixson, TN.

While the implants are permanent, the dentures themselves may need replacement or adjustment every 5 to 7 years due to wear.  This is the same as for regular dentures and depends on multiple factors.  We have seen dentures need to be replaced after 3 years due to the patient grinding so much, and we have seen dentures last 20 years.  The Locator abutments on occasion need to be replaced as well, but this is VERY patient-dependent.  Typically people that grind their teeth will need to replace the abutments somewhere in the 5-10 year range due to metal wear.

Due to their attachment to implants, these dentures are highly secure and unlikely to slip or fall out under normal conditions.  At Shallowford Smiles in Chattanooga, TN we can place varying levels of retention in the housings to make the dentures feel as secure as possible if you so choose.  Most people find that level difficult to work with and unnecessary.

Implant retained dentures are just like regular dentures in that they are made of acrylic and can break.  Unlike All-On-4 restorations, this is a fast fix usually, and can be mended in the same day.  Not all breaks are the same though, and some will require more time to fix.


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7613 Shallowford Road

Chattanooga, TN 37421