Dental implants and dentures ultimately serve the same purpose; however, they do have their differences. Each person’s situation will determine which dental solution will work best for them. It’s important to know the difference and pros and cons between dental implants vs. dentures.

Both dental implants and dentures can:

  • Help you chew foods you might not be able to eat otherwise
  • Support facial muscles
  • Improve speech
  • Boost self-esteem and reduce self-consciousness by restoring your smile

The two dental solutions have their differences too. It’s important to know the differences between the two and the pros and cons of each one.

What is a dental implant?

A dental implant, an artificial tooth root, will bring you as close as possible to having your original tooth. People typically need a dental implant to replace a missing tooth caused by non-restorable decay (cavity), severe gum disease, a failed root canal, natural causes of aging, or accidental severe tooth damage.

A dental implant is placed in the same bone that housed your original tooth. Dr. LaViola uses the best technology available for her procedures including digital x-rays, 3D mapping, models, photographs, and case guides.

A dental implant gives you stability and confidence, leaving you feeling like it’s your natural tooth.

What are dentures?

Dentures are removable substitutes for missing teeth. People have the option between full dentures and partial dentures, depending on how many teeth they need to be replaced.

Full dentures are for those missing all of their natural teeth while partial dentures replace only individual missing teeth to eliminate gaps and improve chewing.

dental implants vs dentures
dental implants vs dentures

Dental implants vs. dentures procedures

Dental implants

A dental implant is created by extracting the damaged root and drilling a hole into the jawbone where the root used to be. A metal prosthetic root, also known as a post, is implanted deep into the bone. Once the bone starts to grow around the post to secure it into place, the top of the post, specifically the abutment, will be fitted with a crown. The process of waiting for the post to be fitted can take several months. When it is ready, the dentist will attach a crown (an artificial tooth made to match surrounding teeth) to the abutment.

Dentures

Dentures are made by taking an impression of the upper or lower gums, or both if the dentures are replacing all of the teeth.

Once the dentist studies your bite and the alignment of your upper and lower jaws, a lab makes a preliminary set of dentures to send to your dentist. The dentist will then fit the dentures in your mouth and mark any needed adjustments to the alignment or length of the teeth before requesting a final set of dentures to be produced. 

Dentures are held in place with a special type of adhesive that bonds them to your gums, making them look like natural teeth and gums.

Cost of dental implants vs. dentures

Dental implants

The more expensive route to replacing missing or damaged teeth is dental implants. Dental implants can cost anywhere from $1,600 to $3,000 per tooth.

Dentures

The cost of a complete set of upper and lower dentures are roughly $1,600 per row of teeth.

Dental implants vs. dentures after-care

Dental implants

Taking care of your dental implants is the same as taking care of your natural teeth. You should be brushing at least twice a day with a soft-bristle brush, flossing, and visiting your dentist for regular checkups.

Dentures

Dentures require a greater deal of maintenance. You should not wear dentures overnight and should soak in water or a special cleaning solution at night. Due to your bite changing over time, dentures need to be refitted from time to time.

Complications of dental implants vs. dentures

Dental implants

Dental implants can lead to complications such as infection and mechanical problems (loose posts, cracked crowns).

Dentures

The most common complications with dentures are the dentures not staying in place or getting sores on your gums from the dentures.

The pros and cons of dental implants

Advantages of dental implants

  • Dental implants are durable and long-lasting

Compared to other options like dental bridges, implants are more durable. Dental implants are fused into your jawbone which ensures the function of natural teeth. If you take proper care of your implants, they will continue to function as a normal set of teeth.

  • You’ll have natural-looking teeth

Dental implants give you the function of natural teeth along with the look of natural teeth. No one will even tell you that you have implants.

  • Dental implants are not detrimental to oral hygiene

Dental implants will not harm the surrounding teeth, and you have a lower chance of getting cavities. If you maintain proper dental hygiene, you will keep your chances of further dental problems low.

Disadvantages of dental implants

  • Dental implants are a long process

One drawback to dental implants is the process of getting your function and look of natural teeth back is longer. With a dental bridge, it takes one to two weeks, but with an implant, it takes 12 to 16 weeks.

  • Dental implants are expensive

When it comes to dental work, the first concern people typically have is the cost of repairing the damage. Dental implants can cost $3,000 per lost tooth; however, the implants are much less likely to need to be replaced as a dental bridge does.

  • Surgery is necessary

Due to the implants needing to be placed into your jawbone, it does require surgery; however, it is a simple 30-minute procedure. As with any surgery, you still have a risk of infection, damage to adjacent teeth, and post-operative discomfort.

dental implants vs dentures
dental implants vs dentures

Pros and cons of dentures

Advantages of dentures

  • Improves your smile

The biggest factor that goes into someone choosing to get dentures is to restore their once beautiful smile. Dentures can restore your smile and improve your self-confidence. 

  • Improves chewing ability

If you’re missing several teeth due to decay or trauma, eating can be challenging and possibly painful. Dentures can restore your ability to chew properly like you were before you lost your teeth.

  • Protects real teeth

When you are missing one or several teeth, the remaining teeth have to work much harder to chew food which can wear them down quickly, leading to a variety of problems. Dentures remove this burden, allowing your teeth to function as they are supposed to.

  • Provides essential support to other parts of your face

Dentures protect more than just your natural teeth; they work to provide critical support to your lip and facial muscles. In doing so, the dentures will keep these things from “sinking in.”

  • Affordable 

Disadvantages of dentures

  • Adjustment takes time

Along with the benefits that come with getting dentures, it comes with the downside of being uncomfortable to start with.

  • Does not stay in permanently

Unlike implants and bridges, dentures are not fixed in your mouth, which is why you need to take them out at night. This may also mean you need to be careful when eating certain foods.

  • Maintenance is vital for the functionality

It is critical that you follow the suggested maintenance of your dentures, or it can lead to a series of problems including infection and decay.

  • Susceptible to being broken

Dental Implants vs Dentures: Pros & Cons

Unfortunately, the reality of dentures is they are susceptible to being damaged or broken, so just be sure that you stay away from situations that can lead to your dentures being damaged or broken. 

Dental Implants and or Veneers at Dental Masters

So, if you’re someone who’s been wondering, “dental implants or dentures?” We at Dental Masters hope we’ve answered your question.

Cosmetic Dentistry can be a great boost of confidence for people who have uneven, chipped, spaced, or discolored teeth.

Dental Masters of Alexandria’s passion for enhancing smiles brings you the best in modern dentistry. At Dental Masters of Alexandria, we are leaders in cosmetic dentistry in Alexandria VA.