Purpose: To review and analyze the literature regarding removable vs fixed implant prosthetic treatment for complete edentulism in elderly people.
Materials and Methods: A narrative review of published articles was conducted. Electronic and manual searches were performed to identify studies comparing removable vs fixed implant modalities for edentulous patients and/or reporting on specific outcomes for fixed vs removable implant restorations in elderly patients.
Results: It is evident that there are differences in mechanical and biologic maintenance needs due to differences in prosthetic materials and designs for fixed vs removable implant restorations. Anatomical restrictions, age-related problems, lifestyle, cost, maintenance needs, access to dental services, and past experience (both of the provider and the patient) all play a role in prosthesis selection for these patients. Patient expectations and their financial means will define their choices. Patientreported outcome measures are not standardized, and any assumptions made based on different studies need to be carefully evaluated.
Conclusion: The decision-making pathway for determining what type of implant-supported prosthesis is preferable for edentulous patients is complicated by many variables that must be considered when treatment planning for maximum benefit for the patient. Detailed explanations of potential outcomes, complications, difficulties, and benefits of therapeutic options is mandatory. Proper assessment of patients’ expectations and desires before treatment is critical for a successful outcome.