Tooth replacements are essential to proper dental care. Keeping areas with missing teeth protected not only helps with your dental function, but it also prevents food or bacteria from causing an infection in gum tissues.
Two popular options of tooth replacement types are dental implants and dentures. The difference between dentures and implants vary in cost, maintenance, and the procedure in which they are installed. While dental implants are permanent and don’t need as much maintenance long term, dentures still remain a popular option for removable tooth replacements since they have a lot of flexibility. Both are great options for tooth replacement, and, in the end, what matters is finding the one that works best for your needs.
Read on to find out more about implants vs. dentures and what the best decision is for you based on procedure, cost, and overall maintenance.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are a permanent tooth replacement. They’re an attractive option because they act and feel more like a real tooth. This means maintenance is as easy as brushing and flossing — and comes with no food limitations! People also find it helpful that they don’t have to risk their implants falling out or fiddling with glue, unlike dentures.
However, dental implants can involve one or two surgical procedures, healing time, and work best on patients with existing healthy jaws and gum tissues.
Dental implants require surgery. The procedure replaces tooth roots with metal screws to anchor in the artificial, replacement teeth. The implants fuse with your jawbone to mimic a real tooth, so they don’t slip or make noise as you chew or talk. Additionally, the titanium used in the screws won’t decay like your own natural teeth, which means your implants won’t get cavities or cause surrounding gum tissue damage.
As with any procedure, there is some risk of infection, injury, or damage to the surrounding area.
The procedure works best on patients with existing healthy gum tissue and jaw bones, but can also require extra procedures like gum or bone grafts to ensure the implants go in smoothly.
Cost & Maintenance
Dental implants are more expensive up front, but usually don’t involve the cost of upkeep, cleaning, or even replacement that dentures do.
One of the aspects that makes dental implants an attractive remedy to tooth loss is that there is no maintenance other than brushing and flossing like a normal tooth. (Which means little to no learning curve for you!)
Dental implants are permanent replacements to missing teeth. They typically cost more than a set of dentures, but last longer and are easier to maintain.
Are dental implants right for you?
Dental implants are a great permanent option for those who:
- Have existing, healthy gums and jaws and
- Want to avoid wearing dentures
- Don’t have any conditions that would make bone healing difficult
What are Dentures?
Dentures are removable teeth that come as a partial or full set. Since they’re removable, you can take a set of dentures out anytime for any reason. This flexibility can be helpful for those with jaw problems or gum sensitivity.
Unlike implants, the procedure for dentures is non-surgical and minimally invasive. To get a pair of dentures, your dentist conducts a dental examination and checks for any signs of infection or previous dental work that could hinder the process of getting dentures. After the examination, your dentist will make a mold to ensure that the dentures will fit the desired area for complete comfort. After a few weeks, when the dentures are ready, you’ll have another exam with your dentist to make sure they fit with no pain or discomfort.
Since it’s a minimally invasive procedure, dentures are best if someone has declining jaw and gum pain, or does not wish to go through a surgery.
Cost & Maintenance
Dentures cost less than implants up front, but can lead to more costs down the road with special cleaning, maintenance, and potential replacement procedures.
Dentures require proper adhesion to the gums or else they can slip out. This can be achieved by ensuring your dentures are well-fitted, or carefully applying a denture cream or adhesive. Putting in, eating, and drinking with your dentures can have a learning curve, and requires patience.
Unlike implants, dentures can require more rigorous maintenance and cleaning. This includes regularly checking to make sure dentures are properly fitted and regular cleanings at home to avoid infection.
Are dentures rights for you?
A few reasons to consider dentures are if you:
- Need the flexibility of taking out your dentures anytime, for any reason
- Don’t have strong gum tissue or jaw strength
- Want a minimally invasive tooth replacement procedure
When deciding “what’s better - dentures or implants?” it is essential for you to choose the best option for you and your dental health. Do you like the flexibility that comes with taking out dentures? Or do you prefer a more natural tooth experience? Our comparison tool can help you decide, but be sure to ask your dentist what they think to find the perfect fit for you!