Dentures vs Implants

If you need to replace one or more missing teeth, you have a few options, including both dentures and implants. Choosing the appropriate restoration depends on several factors, beginning with the health, integrity, and density of your jawbone and remaining natural teeth, the total treatment cost, and your personal preference with the completed restoration.

There is no reason to continue through your life with missing teeth. With the advancements in dental technology there are many good options available. Dentures and dental implants are the most common. Dentures are false teeth, and even though their quality has improved, they are not an ideal solution for everyone. If not properly secured in your mouth with a denture adhesive, dentures can slip or slide out of place while eating or speaking, and partial dentures can promote infection and decay in your remaining natural teeth if they are not fitted correctly. Dentures might be the best choice if your gums and jaw are too weak or unhealthy to support dental implants.

Dentures and implants each have their own list of advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to carefully evaluate your options at length with your dentist. It might also be worth investigating other alternatives to dentures and implants, like dental bridges.

The Objective Purpose with Both Dentures and Implants

Dentures and implants essentially serve the same purposes. They:

  • Help you bite and chew foods you may not otherwise be able to eat.
  • Maintain supporting structure for your facial muscles.
  • Improve and maintain your speech.
  • Increase and preserve your self-esteem and self-confidence by restoring a healthy smile.
  • There are also significant differences between the two dental solutions. Here are some pros and cons for each approach that should be considered before you decide.

The Benefits and Disadvantages of Dentures and Implants

Here is a brief review of both restorative treatment options:

  • Functionality- Dental implants are usually made from titanium, and acting like an artificial tooth root, are comparable in strength and performance to natural teeth. That is not true for dentures, which can slip and slide in your mouth, sometimes making it uncomfortable to speak or eat. While modern dentures have improved, they are still no match for the natural functionality of dental implants.
  • The Procedure- Implants require enough jawbone mass to surgically place the small posts that are capped with crowns. Implants are the result of a rather lengthy process, beginning with the surgical placement and necessary healing. A crown or another form of restorative appliance is placed on this post. Dentures are removable, prosthetic teeth fixed in an acrylic tray that can be fitted for your mouth regardless of how much bone is present and are usually created in just two visits.
  • Comfort- Since dental implants are literally fused to your jawbone, they will feel natural and well-fitting in your mouth and do not cause any discomfort, especially once you have had them for a while. They deliver natural biting pressures as well as temperature changes. Dentures can be a bit more uncomfortable.
  • Life Expectancy- Dental implants win every time. If you take good care of your implants, they can last as long as your natural teeth. Dentures, on the other hand, usually need to be replaced every five to eight years.
  • Aesthetics- When it comes to natural looks, dental implants are more natural looking than dentures.
  • Cost- Dental implants are more expensive than dentures and other treatments, such as bridges.
    Choosing between dentures and implants will require a thorough evaluation with your dentist on which restoration will be best for your personal situation and goals.

The Difference in Procedures for Dentures and Implants

Implants- Implants require enough bone in which to place screwlike implants that are capped with crowns. They have become increasingly popular in recent years, especially among adults ages 55 to 64.

After it is confirmed that you are a viable candidate, the immediate area is numbed with a local anesthetic. A small incision in the gums allows access to the jawbone, where a small hole is made into which a titanium post is planted. The incision is sutured closed and a several month healing process must take place to allow the post to grow and bond to the bone. After this wait an extension or abutment is added to the post to reach the surface and in completion an artificial crown matching your natural teeth is attached to the extension.

Dentures- Dentures are removable, prosthetic teeth that can be custom fitted for your mouth regardless of the jawbone density. Dentures can be complete sets to replace all the teeth in the upper or lower arches or be made to replace just a few missing teeth. These are called partial dentures.

Dentures are created by first taking an impression of the upper or lower gums or both if dentures are needed to replace all of teeth. Before the dentures are fabricated in a dental lab, your dentist will study your bite and the alignment of your upper and lower jaws to make sure the length of the new dentures will allow for optimal chewing and speech.

A preliminary set of dentures are then made in the lab and returned to your dentist. The dentures will be placed in your mouth and any needed adjustments to the alignment or length of the teeth are made before your final set of dentures is completed. Dentures are designed to look like your natural teeth and gums and are held in place with a special type of dental adhesive that bonds the acrylic tray to your gums.

The Final Cost of Dentures in Comparison to Dental Implants

Dental implants are usually more expensive than dentures and other treatments, such as bridges. Though prices will vary based on the location and market of your dentist’s practice and other contributing factors, the American Dental Association (ADA) reports that an implant can usually cost between $1,600 and $2,200 per tooth.

The ADA reports that the average cost of a complete set of upper dentures is a little more than $1,600, and complete dentures for the lower arch can run close to the same.

Lifespan of a Dental Implant