Dentures vs. Dental Implants: What’s the Difference?
Dentures vs. Dental Implants: Find your perfect smile restoration solution.
Experiencing tooth loss can feel overwhelming, especially if you’ve lost or will be losing most or all of your natural teeth. Extensive damage or decay and tissue trauma from periodontitis are common reasons why natural teeth have to be removed. Although a dentist can only do so much to save natural teeth, they can help you restore your smile when extraction is necessary.
There are a few ways of restoring a smile after tooth loss has occurred, but the two main options are dentures and dental implant treatment. Both types of restorations can yield beautiful results and both are popular choices for a reason. However, depending on your individual needs and desires, one or the other will come out on top as your best solution.
Here’s what you should know about dentures vs. dental implants.
Most people are familiar with dentures and how they work. A denture is a prosthetic restoration that mimics teeth and gum tissue. They are a removable oral appliance that rests on the natural gum tissue and bone structure of the patient. Special adhesives are used to hold the denture in place. Dentures come in a complete form for replacing an entire arch of missing teeth or a partial denture option when natural teeth are still present.
Dental implants are a three-piece prosthetic consisting of a titanium implant post, an abutment, and a crown to form the visual of the new “tooth.” Dental implants can be placed individually (one post and one crown) or be used to provide support for a denture prosthetic. Implant-supported dentures utilize anywhere from four to eight (or more) implant posts for an entire arch and the denture piece attaches to these.
The treatment process for dentures is fairly straightforward, though it can take a few appointments from start to finish. The bulk of the denture treatment process is the designing phase of the denture itself. Your dentist will use X-rays and 3D imaging to see the underlying structure of your smile, sending this information to a dental lab to sculpt and create your denture. After one or two fitting appointments, you’ll be ready to enjoy your new smile.
Dental implants require oral surgery as the posts have to be placed within the jawbone. Since surgery is required, dental implants are much more invasive a procedure than dentures. Total treatment time can span 6 months or more due to the healing period that’s necessary.
Candidacy is also stricter with dental implants. While nearly anyone can safely receive dentures, dental implants are typically recommended only for healthy adults without any untreated or uncontrolled medical conditions.
Dentures don’t require a typical healing period since they are oral appliances. However, it can take a week or two to get used to wearing them. During this time you shouldn’t experience any discomfort or rubbing, but it may feel funny as your mouth adjusts.
Dental implants require anywhere from 4 to 6 months, sometimes 8 or more, to fully heal within the jawbone. This is why dental implant treatment can take half a year to a full year before you’re completely done with restoring your smile. During the first week, it’s normal to feel discomfort and some swelling, though this should dissipate by the second week. You’ll also need to follow a soft food diet for a few weeks until your dentist gives you the all-clear to return to a normal diet.
Upfront Costs and Long-Term Value
Dentures are an affordable prosthetic restoration and one of the most budget-friendly choices for a full-mouth makeover. Additionally, many dental insurance plans do offer coverage on dentures – sometimes 50% or more.
In terms of long-term value, dentures don’t age as well as dental implants in this category. Though upfront costs are much lower than dental implants, the need for denture replacements every five to seven years can quickly add up over time.
Dental implants are one of the most expensive prosthetic restorations and most insurance plans only provide coverage if the procedure is needed to restore the function of a tooth or teeth. This means you’ll likely pay more out of pocket with dental implants versus dentures, even with decent insurance coverage on your side.
That being said, dental implants often wind up being a smart investment in the long run. Because the implant itself is permanent and will last for life, the only repairs that may be needed are a dental crown replacement in 10 to 15 years. The cost of a replacement crown will usually be less expensive than a new denture, so consider how these future expenses can impact how much you really spend on your smile restoration.
Dentures vs. Dental Implants: The Verdict?
Dentures are a traditional full-mouth smile restoration option and a fairly common option for partial tooth loss as well.
They are likely your best choice if you want:
- The cheapest smile makeover
- A fairly easy treatment process with minimal healing time
- A minimally-invasive solution due to medical concerns
- A temporary solution for your smile while you plan for a future dental implants
While dental implants are cutting-edge technology and have a number of advantages over dentures, this doesn’t mean dentures are at all an undesirable choice. In fact, dentures remain a very popular and loved smile makeover solution for people of all ages and needs.
Dental implant treatment has revolutionized smile restorations, allowing for the most natural looking and feeling results possible.
They are likely your best choice if you want:
- A permanent solution with minimal maintenance needs.
- A smile that can be cared for just like natural teeth.
- Prosthetic teeth that feel and function like natural teeth.
- To invest your time and money in a valuable dental restoration.
Dental implants are the most advanced prosthetic teeth option available to date. Their functionality, beauty, and longevity make it tough for dentures to compare as an option for any healthy adult patient who’s a candidate for an oral surgery procedure.
Schedule Your Free Consultation Today at River Walk Dental
Making a definite decision between dentures and dental implants requires guidance from an experienced dentist, ideally one familiar with both restorations.
Dr. Naik of River Walk Dental offers a complete menu of general and restorative dentistry services, including dentures, partial dentures, and dental implant options. She invites anyone interested in dentures or dental implants to schedule a free no-pressure consultation to learn more about these two options and which choice would suit their goals best. To book your consultation, call our Flower Mound, TX office or schedule a visit online.