Dentures vs. Dental Implants: What You Need to Know

If you’re missing teeth, or you know that you need to have some or all of your teeth extracted, then it’s time for you to begin considering your tooth replacement options. Most dentists agree that leaving an empty space where teeth used to be is not a healthy choice for your mouth — it leads to bone loss, and with missing teeth, you’ll have trouble chewing and speaking normally. But what kind of tooth replacement is right for you? You may be more familiar with dentures, or you may be curious about dental implants. Here are some of the pros and cons of both so that you can decide which is the right choice for you.

Why Dentures?

Removable dentures can be made to replace all of your teeth, or just a partial loss.

Dentures can be used for either full or partial tooth loss. They’re generally affordable, and some or all of the cost may be covered by your dental insurance plan. Dentures are removable, so they’re easy to clean and take care of, and modern dentures look very much like natural teeth — you’ll be able to talk and smile without fear.

On the other hand, dentures don’t function exactly like natural teeth. They’re attached to your gums not through a root that leads to the jaw bone, but by suction and denture adhesive. This gives you far less bite power than you had with your natural teeth, which means that you may have difficulty eating and may need to permanently switch to a softer diet. Also, dentures can come loose or shift in your mouth at inopportune times. Finally, you should know that dentures don’t last forever, even with good care — you’ll probably have to repair or replace your dentures after a few years.

Why Dental Implants?

A dental implant looks just like your natural teeth.

Dental implants address many of the issues that dentures do not address. Unlike dentures, implants are anchored to your jawbone with a titanium post that’s placed in the gums. This post functions like a tooth root, helping to stimulate jaw bone growth. Because the implants are anchored to your jaw, you can speak, smile, and eat just like you normally would, with no fear of slippage or loss of bite force. You care for implants just the same way you care for your natural teeth — by brushing, flossing, and visiting your dentist regularly. With good care, they should last for the rest of your life.

Dental implants tend to be more expensive up front, and are not always covered by dental insurance. However, because they rarely need to be replaced and there’s no need to buy additional materials like denture adhesive, they may be more cost effective in the long run.

Which One Is For You?

It’s important to discuss all of your options with your dentist before coming to a decision. For example, you shouldn’t dismiss implants as an option because of cost — your dentist may have affordable options or offer a payment plan to help you afford it. However, not every patient is a candidate for dental implants — for example, certain medical conditions or medications might preclude implant surgery.

To find out more about dentures and dental implants and determine which one is right for you, contact us to make an appointment.