Dental Implants vs Dentures: What’s the Difference

Tooth loss can interfere with the aesthetics of your smile, cause movement in your teeth, make eating and speaking more difficult, and lead to bone loss. Thankfully, there are many tooth replacements on the market that can address these problems. 

Two of the most common tooth replacements are dental implants and dentures. Read on in this blog from Restore Health Dentistry to find out how they differ.

What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are a three-part tooth replacement used to take the place of a single tooth or to support an entire arch of teeth with a series of implants that anchor a denture or bridge. A biocompatible titanium post which is shaped like a screw is implanted into the jawbone. 

After 3 to 6 months, the implant becomes integrated with the jawbone, forming an artificial tooth root. Once this has occurred, an abutment is attached and then a dental crown is fabricated from impressions and attached to the abutment to complete the restoration.

Pros: Dental implants prevent bone loss by forming an artificial tooth root that provides stimulation to the jawbone when you chew. This artificial tooth root also prevents the tooth from shifting around when you eat or speak. 

Because implants restore the entire tooth from root to crown, they feel and look incredibly natural. Implants also last for 25 years to a lifetime with proper care and are low maintenance. You clean a dental implant just like your natural teeth and they allow you to eat a restriction-free diet. 

Cons: Despite all the impressive advantages of dental implants, there’s no getting around their steep price tag and the long process of implant placement. Implants can cost thousands of dollars to replace a single tooth and the process can take over half a year to complete. 

This isn’t always the best option for those on a budget or a time constraint. They’re also more invasive than dentures, as they require multiple oral surgeries. Many people aren’t good candidates for dental implants due to insufficient bone density. 

Without enough healthy jawbone, they will need to undergo bone grafts which add to costs, healing time, and surgical procedures needed throughout the process. The implant process involves many more appointments and waiting times.

What Are Dentures?

Dentures are removable artificial teeth that treat tooth loss on a small or large scale. Dentures come in two types – partial dentures, which are like a removable bridge, that replaces a few missing teeth, and full dentures, which replace an arch of teeth or all of the teeth in the mouth. 

Pros: Partial dentures are a great way to replace a few missing teeth that aren’t consecutive. A bridge can only replace consecutive missing teeth, while partials can replace teeth on both sides of the mouth with one prosthesis. 

In addition to improving the cosmetic appearance of the smile, this prevents teeth from shifting. Full dentures can restore a patient with extensive tooth loss’ ability to chew and enunciate. The process of getting dentures is non-invasive unless you need to have teeth extracted in preparation for full dentures. 

The entire process is also much more affordable and less time-consuming. Dentures are very accessible for patients of all kinds, even those who have had gum disease and bone loss.

Cons: One of the biggest problems with dentures is that they tend to move around when patients speak or eat. They can greatly interfere with someone’s day-to-day life by making it more difficult to speak and eat and requiring that you restrict your diet. 

Dentures don’t prevent bone loss and can even accelerate bone loss due to exerting pressure on the alveolar ridge. Over time, bone loss will lead to facial structure changes which can age you prematurely and cause reduced support to facial muscles. 

Dentures don’t look or feel as natural as implants and they aren’t as stable. Dentures are more high maintenance when it comes to caring for them. You need to remember to take them out at night, have to clean them twice a day and soak them overnight. 

You need to avoid exposing them to heat so the mold doesn’t warp. They also have a much shorter lifespan at an average of 7 to 10 years. If your facial structure changes due to bone loss, you will need to replace them sooner because ill-fitting dentures can cause a lot of problems.

Which Is Right for Me?

Dental implants are unbeatable in terms of stability, long-term tooth replacement, and bone preservation. The restoration quality is superior to all other tooth replacements. However, not everyone is a good candidate for dental implants. 

If you have a history of gum disease or insufficient bone density, then dentures are a great alternative. Dentures are superior in certain aspects like cost, length of treatment, and non-invasiveness. 

A great compromise between the two is known as implant-supported dentures. If you have extensive tooth loss but want all of the perks of dental implants like bone preservation and stability, then this is the best of both worlds.

Schedule Your Restorative Consultation Today!

Interested in dental implants, dentures, or implant-supported dentures? Contact us at Restore Health Dentistry today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Nancy William. We can examine the extent of your tooth loss, your oral health, and bone density and help you determine which restoration is most suitable for you.

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