Dentures vs. Dental Implants

Dentures vs. Dental Implants

Missing teeth can be not just embarrassing, but inconvenient and even uncomfortable. Whether they were lost due to decay, an accident, or periodontal disease, dentures, and dental implants are two great options for restoring the missing teeth. If you’re trying to decide on which procedure is best for you, here’s some information on both.

Dentures

Dentures are a well-known solution for restoring missing teeth. They are a set of false teeth that can replace either an entire line of missing teeth (full dentures) or only a section (partials). They can fit on the upper line of teeth, the lower, or both.

Pros
  • Less expensive than implants
  • Fairly quick and painless process that involves no surgery
  • Covered by most dental insurance plans
  • Support the lips and cheeks, fixing the sunken look created by tooth loss and restoring a youthful look to the face.
Cons
  • Can eventually lose proper fit due to continued bone loss; adjustments may be needed
  • Need to be removed and cleaned daily
  • Must be removed at night to give the gums a break
  • Can slip out of place, causing problems when eating or speaking
  • Food can get caught underneath dentures
  • Require restrictions in eating

Dental Implants

Dental implants are titanium posts that are inserted into the jawbone where they fuse with the bone. An artificial tooth, usually a crown, is then fixed to the post to allow functionality. Once in place, and the posts have fused successfully to the bone (through a process called osseointegration), dental implants can be used as natural teeth.

Pros
  • Allows the pressure of chewing and biting to be transferred to the bone, promoting bone growth; dentures do not have this pressure, allowing bone loss to occur
  • No dietary restrictions since dental implants function the same as natural teeth
  • Are permanent and can be cleaned easily with normal brushing and flossing
  • Can last a lifetime, with little or no maintenance
Cons
  • More costly than dentures
  • Involve oral surgery and some minimal post-operative discomfort
  • Require a healing period of three to six months while waiting for the implant to fuse with the bone
  • May not be covered by insurance as they are considered a cosmetic procedure

Dentists may recommend the use of dental implants over dentures because of the benefits of a wider range of use and support for the bone structure. However, you will be able to discuss your options with your dentist and, together, decide on which is more suitable for you.