Dental Implants vs. Dentures – Making the Right Choice for Your Smile

When facing the need to replace missing or infected teeth, most people find themselves considering two popular options, dental implants vs dentures. 

There are a variety of variables to consider when choosing between dental implants and dentures. In this blog, we will compare these two types of tooth replacements to help you make an informed decision.

image showing the advantages of dental implants vs dentures

Dental Implants vs Dentures: An Overview of Their Features

Dentures: removable dental appliances used to replace missing teeth. They come in two types: complete dentures for replacing all teeth and partial dentures for replacing some teeth.

Dental implants: a tooth replacement solution often consisting of a titanium screw (implant fixture) surgically placed in the jawbone, an abutment that connects to the implant, and a prosthetic tooth (crown) that closely resembles a natural tooth.

Most people prefer dental implants to dentures based on a variety of factors. The material is sturdier, they usually last longer, they feel more natural and comfortable, and they are the closest tooth replacement option to natural teeth in their ability to chew. In contrast, dentures feel less natural and need to be held in by adhesive. They are more difficult to clean, and the material is more fragile and limited in its ability to chew. However, they offer a more affordable alternative to dental implants, at least when it comes to replacing whole arches of teeth.

Dental Implants vs. Dentures Pros and Cons

Evaluating the strengths and weaknesses allows you to know exactly what you’re getting when committing to a treatment

Dental ImplantsDentures
ProsNatural look and feelAffordability
LongevityNon-invasive
Durability
Prevent bone loss (stimulate jaw bone)
Minimally invasive surgical option (at our office) 
ConsCost considerationsSlippage and discomfort
Surgical procedureMaintenance requirements
More difficult to clean

Dental Implants

Pros of Dental Implants:

1. Natural Look and Feel: Dental implants closely mimic the appearance and function of natural teeth, providing a seamless smile.

2. Longevity and Durability: With proper care, dental implants can last a lifetime, making them a worthwhile investment.

3. Improved Oral Health: Implants preserve bone structure and neighboring teeth, contributing to better overall oral health and preventing bone loss.

Cons of Dental Implants:

1. Cost Considerations: Dental implants can be expensive, and insurance coverage may be limited. If you want to learn more about whether or not insurance can cover implants, you can read about it here

Prices also change dramatically if you are getting a single tooth or an entire arch. We have written an updated, comprehensive guide to how much money different dental implant procedures will cost you. 

2. Surgical Procedure: Implant placement involves oral surgery, which might not be suitable for everyone.

Dentures

Pros of Dentures

1. Affordability: Dentures are often a more budget-friendly option, especially compared to a procedure like dental implants. 

2. Non-Invasive: No surgery is required for denture placement.

3. Easily Replaceable: If damaged or lost, dentures can be replaced relatively easily.

Cons of Dentures

1. Slippage and Discomfort: Dentures can sometimes slip, causing discomfort and embarrassment.

2. Maintenance Requirements: Dentures need regular cleaning and may require adjustments over time.

Hybrid Option: Implant-Supported Dentures

Implant-supported dentures are a hybrid option between traditional dentures and dental implants. They combine the best of both worlds by using dental implants to anchor the denture in place, while still allowing the denture to be removed for cleaning.

This is a great option for patients who want the stability and function of dental implants, but who don't want to have a fixed bridge or crown. Implant-supported dentures are also a good option for patients who have lost multiple teeth, but who still have some bone density in their jawbone.

If you want a more in-depth look at implant-supported dentures, you can find answers in our comprehensive breakdown.

Benefits of implant-supported dentures:

Stability: Implant-supported dentures are much more stable than traditional dentures because they are anchored to dental implants in the jawbone. This means that you can eat, speak, and smile with confidence without worrying about your dentures slipping or moving out of place.

Function: Implant-supported dentures allow you to chew and bite with more force than traditional dentures. This is because they are supported by the jawbone, just like natural teeth.

Comfort: Implant-supported dentures are more comfortable to wear than traditional dentures because they don't put pressure on the gums. They also don't require any messy adhesives to keep them in place.

How implant-supported dentures work:

Implant-supported dentures are attached to dental implants that have been surgically placed in the jawbone. The number of implants needed will vary depending on the patient's individual needs.

Once the implants have healed, the denture is attached to them using special attachments. These attachments allow the denture to be removed for cleaning, but they also keep it securely in place when it is worn.

If you are considering implant-supported dentures, be sure to talk to your dentist and read more about it here

Dental Implants vs Dentures Decision-making Guide

When it comes to choosing between dental implants and dentures, several key factors should guide your decision. Understanding these factors will help you make an informed choice that aligns with your unique needs and preferences. In this comprehensive buying guide, we'll delve into essential considerations:

1. Your Budget and Financial Capacity:

If price is the biggest factor in your decision, dentures are generally a more budget-friendly option compared to dental implants. If you're on a tight budget or lack insurance coverage, dentures usually are still an accessible option.

2. The Condition of Your Oral Health:

Dental implants are often the better option for long-term oral health because they preserve the strength of your jawbones over time. They help solidify your smile as if it were your actual teeth instead of a “band-aid solution” like dentures.

3. Your Desire for Permanence and Natural-Looking Teeth:

Dental implants are renowned for their natural appearance and feel. This is by far their strongest quality. They are the closest thing to a natural smile that you can receive from a restoration solution. If natural-looking teeth are your motivating factor, dental implants are for you. 

Conclusion:

In the dental implants vs. dentures decision-making process, it's crucial to evaluate your budget, oral health condition, desire for permanence and natural-looking teeth, and lifestyle. 

Ultimately, the right choice will depend on your individual circumstances and priorities. 

Consulting with a dental professional is highly recommended to receive personalized guidance and ensure your chosen solution aligns with your needs and goals for oral health and aesthetics. 

Remember that both dental implants and dentures can be effective solutions when selected appropriately to meet your unique requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Are dental implants painful?

The implant surgery is typically done under anesthesia, so you should not feel pain during the procedure. Some discomfort afterward is normal but can be managed with pain medications.

2. Can dentures look natural?

Modern dentures are designed to closely resemble natural teeth, and advancements in denture materials have improved their aesthetics.

3. How long do dental implants last?

With proper care, dental implants can last a lifetime. Regular check-ups and good oral hygiene are essential for their longevity.

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dr Steve Brown, dr brown dentist

Dr. Steve Brown is the Founder and Lead Dentist of The Dental Implant Place. He has practiced implant dentistry for over 20 years and has placed over 12,000 dental implants. He enjoys Baylor football and time with his wife, children, and two dogs.

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