Do upper dentures need implants?
Most people function well with upper dentures by themselves. The reason is due to the suction. Still though, some patients want a better fit to their upper denture and then we recommend implants. With upper dentures, a minimum of four implants are needed but sometimes as many as six are used.
The two main reasons for placing implants to hold an upper denture are either to make the upper denture it more comfortable or make it more retentive. As the traditional upper denture gets its retention from the suction, the entire roof of the mouth has to be covered to get the best possible suction. For people who want to remove this, placing implants allows the dentist to remove this portion and therefore thin out the denture quite a bit without weakening the denture. Sometimes the denture has to be remade with a metal base much like a cast partial to help support the denture.
The other time where implants are useful is when the upper denture is being chewed on by a patient with lower teeth or a lower denture with four implants placed. In these cases, the suction from the upper denture is not strong enough to keep the denture in place. While this doesn't happen often, it can happen and make it more difficult to chew.