Dental Implants vs. Dentures: How to Make the Right Choice

Best choice for missing teeth.

Missing teeth are a common dental problem and can affect patients of all ages. Missing many or all of your teeth can seriously impact overall health and quality of life. However, there are options available to replace missing teeth. Dental implants and dentures are among the most common, but how can you tell which is right for you?

Your Tooth Replacement Options

If you’re missing most or all of your teeth, then dental implants and dentures are generally the go-to replacement options. 

Other types of restorative dentistry, such as dental bridges and crowns, are suitable for one or several teeth but rely on healthy tooth roots or adjacent teeth for support. When this isn’t an option, dental implants or dentures are likely the most suitable choices.

Dental implants rely on titanium posts embedded in the jawbone to support replacement teeth. This provides a strong foundation for crowns, bridges, or implant-supported dentures. However, placing dental implants is a surgical procedure, which makes treatment more complex.

Traditional dentures are replacement teeth that sit on the gums. They have no foundation, which can lead to some stability issues. However, dental adhesives and proper maintenance can alleviate those problems. Dentures don’t require any surgery, making them a non-invasive tooth replacement option.

Each of these tooth replacement options has pros and cons that could make them the right or wrong choice for your needs. You’ll have to visit a dentist to find out for sure, but the following general points can inform your decision.

Dental Implants: Pros and Cons

One of the most significant advantages of dental implants is that they are a permanent solution. The titanium implants are generally expected to last for the remainder of the patient’s life. The implant-supported dentures that attach to them may need to be replaced after years of use, but the implants themselves do not need to be replaced.

The titanium implants naturally bond with the structure of the jawbone through a process of osseointegration. This provides an incredibly strong foundation, which means improved stability and functionality. Dental implants don’t shift, and they allow for essentially complete natural bite strength. This also helps them appear more natural, providing a beautiful smile.

Dental implants also help prevent jawbone deterioration. Without the stimulation of natural tooth roots, the jawbone deteriorates over time. Dental implants provide stimulation similar to natural tooth roots. This helps maintain facial appearance over the course of years and decades.

However, there are some potential downsides to dental implants. Placement is a surgical procedure that may be inadvisable for some patients. There will be some recovery time afterward. The implants will take around four months to fully integrate before the replacement teeth can be attached. And the cost of dental implant surgery can also be prohibitive for some patients. 

Dentures: Pros and Cons

Dentures are a non-invasive solution that requires no surgery of any kind. Your dentist will carefully fit your dentures to rest on your gums, with no need for any incisions, embedding, or other procedures.

Traditional dentures also deliver immediate results. Your custom dentures can be ready very quickly, and you don’t have any recovery time. You can have your complete smile as soon as possible to get back to your life.

There is also a much lower cost involved for dentures. While you’ll need replacement dentures after some time, the overall cost will still be lower than the expense of dental implant placement.

Unfortunately, traditional dentures have decreased stability compared to implants. Shifting can make eating and speaking difficult and can also leave the gums sore. Adjustments may be needed to ensure comfort, as the dentures can warp over time.

You won’t enjoy the same standard of natural eating and speaking that you would with dental implants. While they are an improvement over living without teeth, dentures are not the best solution in terms of quality of life.

What to Consider When Replacing Missing Teeth

When you are deciding between implants and dentures, your health is one area to look at. If you have insufficient bone density or various conditions that prohibit surgery, then you may not be a candidate for dental implants. Dentures are suitable for almost all patients.

Your lifestyle is another factor. If you have an active lifestyle, enjoy a varied diet, and have lots of social interactions, the stability of dental implants can be an asset. However, some prefer the convenience of dentures that can be easily removed.

In terms of long-term health, dental implants are typically the better choice. They prevent jawbone deterioration, and you can avoid the need for frequent denture adjustments and replacements.

Your Edwardsville Dental Practice for Tooth Replacement

There are many individual factors that determine whether dentures or dental implants are right for you. The only way to find out for sure is to visit a local Edwardsville dentist to assess your needs and develop your custom treatment plan.

Hite Family Dentistry provides a variety of tooth replacement options and can help find the right match for your needs and preferences. Schedule your consultation today to find out whether dentures or dental implants are right for you.