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Dentures vs Implants: Making the Right Choice for Your Smile

A beautiful smile can light up a room, but tooth loss can make it challenging to maintain that smile. For those facing this issue, two primary solutions are dentures and dental implants. This article will dive deep into the world of dentures vs implants, comparing their costs, maintenance requirements, comfort, and aesthetics to help you make a well-informed decision for your smile.

Key Takeaways

  • Dentures and dental implants are the two main options for replacing missing teeth, each with its own advantages and drawbacks.
  • Cost, maintenance requirements, comfort & functionality, aesthetics & confidence should be considered when choosing between dentures or dental implants.
  • Age & oral health as well as personal preferences must also be taken into account to determine which option is most suitable for a patient’s needs.

Understanding Dentures

dentures vs dental implants

Removable prosthetic devices known as dentures are crafted to replace absent teeth and gum tissue. Available in two types, complete and partial dentures, they cater to various needs by filling gaps or replacing entire rows of prosthetic teeth. Dentures are secured using a specialized adhesive that binds them to the gums, ensuring they don’t damage surrounding teeth. Nonetheless, these devices may need frequent adjustments due to possible shifting within the mouth.

Complete Dentures

Complete dentures replace all the teeth in the upper or lower jaw, providing a natural-looking smile and restoring function. Creating custom-made dentures starts with the dentist obtaining accurate measurements and impressions of your mouth. During the initial fitting appointment, the dentist adjusts the dentures to fit properly in your mouth.

Acrylic resin, known for its durability, lightweight, and easy customization, is the common material used for fabricating these dentures. It also closely resembles the aesthetics of natural teeth. However, complete dentures offer only 20% of the biting force of natural teeth, which might affect the overall chewing experience.

partial denture

Partial Dentures

Designed to fill gaps when some natural teeth are still present, partial dentures are supported by clasps around existing teeth or precision attachments affixed to crowns. Materials used in the fabrication of partial dentures include acrylic resin or plastic, cast metal, and flexible materials like nylon or polyester.

Precision attachments for partial dentures are specialized components that connect the denture to fixed bridgework or other dental structures. These attachments provide stability and support, allowing for a more comfortable and natural fit. Composed of metal or plastic, they consist of two parts that snap together, keeping the denture securely in place.

Denture Adhesive

Denture adhesive is a specialized formula designed to secure dentures in place, providing increased stability and comfort. To use denture adhesive, apply it to the underside of the denture before inserting it into the mouth, adhering to the instructions on the packaging.

Two primary forms of denture adhesives are paste and powder. Paste adhesives are more widely used and offer a more secure hold. Powder adhesives, on the other hand, are simpler to apply and remove. However, denture adhesive can be messy and cause irritation if not used correctly.

Dental Implants Explained

all on 4 dental implants

Replicating the root of a natural tooth, dental implants serve as a permanent solution to replace missing teeth while also supporting crowns, bridges, or dentures. They consist of a titanium post inserted into the bone, providing a sturdy foundation for the replacement teeth.

With proper care, dental implants not only maintain the jaw’s structure but also prevent a sagging facial appearance.

Single Tooth Implant

A single tooth implant consists of a titanium post surgically implanted into the jawbone to support a dental crown, providing a natural-looking and functional tooth replacement. The implant procedure, taking roughly 1-2 hours, is followed by a healing phase spanning 6 weeks to 6 months, after which the abutment and crown are placed.

tooth implant

Potential risks and complications associated with a single tooth implant include:

  • Sinus damage
  • Infections
  • Gum recession
  • Nerve and tissue damage
  • Implant rejection
  • Implant failure
  • Peri-implantitis
  • Fracture of the veneering ceramic

Besides titanium, zirconia is a non-metallic alternative that may be employed for dental implants.

Multiple Teeth Implants

Replacing a missing tooth with dental implants involves placing multiple implants in the jawbone to support a fixed bridge or denture, providing a natural-looking and functional replacement for missing teeth. This lasting and effective solution requires a combination of visual examination, X-rays, and CT scans to determine the surgical procedure and predict successful implant outcomes.

The process for obtaining multiple teeth implants involves the following steps:

  1. Examination
  2. Tooth extraction (if necessary)
  3. Jawbone preparation
  4. Implant placement
  5. Healing and osseointegration
  6. Abutment placement
  7. Dental restoration

However, it’s important to note that some dental implant procedures cannot be accomplished in one day.

Dental Implant Candidates

Ideal candidates for dental implants have healthy gums and sufficient bone density to support the implant. Prerequisites for a dental implant surgery include a healthy mouth free of tooth decay and gum disease, controlled diabetes, cancer, radiation to the jaws, abstention from smoking and alcohol, and sufficient bone in the jaw to support the implant.

The minimum bone density necessary for dental implants can vary, but it is generally recommended to have a bone density of no less than 630-520 HU (Hounsfield units) at the designated site of the implant. Smoking can negatively impact dental implant candidacy as it increases the risk of implant failure and complications.

Comparing Dentures and Dental Implants

Comparing dentures and dental implants involves considering various factors like cost, maintenance, comfort, and aesthetics. Each solution comes with its own benefits and drawbacks, so it’s vital to balance the pros and cons before deciding on the best option for your smile.

Cost Comparison

With the average cost of a full set of upper and lower dentures ranging from $1000 to $7,500, dentures typically come at a lower price compared to dental implants.

Dental implants, on the other hand, typically cost between $3,000 and $5,000 per implant, with costs varying depending on the number of implants required and the complexity of the procedure.

Maintenance Requirements

Dentures necessitate daily cleaning and frequent adjustments. Here are some tips for taking care of your dentures:

  1. Brush them at least once daily using a soft-bristled brush and a nonabrasive denture cleanser.
  2. Soak them in a cleansing solution or water daily.
  3. Schedule regular adjustments, typically on an annual or biennial basis.

By following these steps, you can ensure that your dentures stay clean and comfortable.

Dental implants, on the other hand, require fewer follow-up appointments, usually scheduled within two weeks of surgery with checkups every 3 to 4 months.

Comfort and Functionality

Dental implants offer several benefits compared to dentures:

  • Improved comfort and chewing performance
  • More natural feel, adding to user satisfaction
  • Securely anchored into the jawbone, providing stability and preventing movement while chewing
  • Improved biting force and enhanced chewing efficiency
implant supported overdentures

Implant-supported overdentures offer a middle ground between traditional dentures and dental implants. They provide increased stability and improved chewing function compared to traditional dentures, as the implants act as anchors to secure the denture in place, reducing discomfort and irritation. These overdentures are custom-made to fit securely, avoiding any slipping or movement.

Aesthetics and Confidence

Both dentures and dental implants can provide a natural-looking smile, but implants may offer a more secure and confident fit. Dental implants are designed to imitate natural teeth in terms of look, feel, and function, providing a natural aesthetic and comfortable fit. This can aid in restoring a beautiful smile, which can help boost self-esteem and confidence.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Between Dentures vs Implants

dentures vs implants

In the decision-making process between dentures and dental implants, considerations should be made for factors such as:

  • Age
  • Oral health
  • Bone density
  • Personal preferences

Each option caters to different needs and priorities, making it crucial to assess your unique situation before making a decision.

Age and Oral Health

Age and overall oral health can impact the suitability of dentures or dental implants, with younger patients often preferring implants. Individuals with inadequate oral health may be more suitable for dentures, whereas those with satisfactory oral health may be better suited for dental implants.

Bone Density and Jaw Structure

When considering dental implants vs dentures, it’s important to note that dental implants require sufficient bone density, while dentures can be fitted regardless of bone loss. Dentures can cause bone loss in the jaw due to the pressure they place on the bone ridges, which may eventually lead to tooth loss.

Conversely, dental implants are inserted directly into the jawbone and gradually fuse with it, thereby preserving the jawbone.

Personal Preferences and Lifestyle

Individual needs and lifestyle factors should be considered when choosing between dentures and dental implants. Some may prefer the convenience of removable dentures, while others may value the stability of dental implants. Personal preference also influences factors such as aesthetics, cost, and maintenance.

Ultimately, the decision should be tailored to the individual’s preferences and lifestyle to guarantee satisfaction with the chosen tooth replacement option.

Alternative Tooth Replacement Options

If considering dentures or dental implants, other tooth replacement options are available such as dental bridges, temporary partial dentures (flippers), and snap-in dentures. Each alternative offers its advantages and disadvantages, and it’s important to consult your dentist to determine the best solution for your unique needs.


In conclusion, both dentures and dental implants offer viable solutions for tooth loss, with each having its own merits and demerits. Factors such as age, oral health, bone density, and personal preferences should be considered when making a decision. By weighing the pros and cons and consulting with a dental professional, you can choose the best option for your smile and enjoy a renewed sense of confidence and well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it better to get implants or dentures?

Dental implants are a superior option to dentures due to their permanence, longer life, and easier maintenance. Although more expensive, they will save you money in the long run.

Why do dentists discourage dentures?

Dentists discourage dentures because they tend to move in the mouth, trapping food which can lead to further tooth loss and gum problems. Additionally, ill-fitting dentures may cause soreness and swelling which make activities like eating and talking intolerable.

Is it easier to eat with dentures or implants?

Overall, it is much easier to eat with dental implants than dentures, as they allow for 90% of the patient’s natural chewing ability to be retained.

Can you tell the difference between dentures and implants?

Yes, you can tell the difference between dentures and implants. Dental implants look, feel and function like natural teeth, whereas dentures lack that sense of ease.

How long do dentures typically last?

Dentures typically last for five to seven years before needing to be replaced.