Dental Implants vs Dentures: A Comprehensive Comparison of Benefits, Cost and Other Considerations

BY: Dr. Sandeep Sharma
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cheerful child dentist sitting in her dental room at the table

Dental Implants vs Dentures: A Comprehensive Comparison of Benefits, Cost and Other Considerations

Are you missing some of your teeth and considering dental implants or dentures as replacement options? If so, you’ll want to consider all the facts before making a decision. With dental implant and denture technology advancing rapidly, it can be difficult to know where to start in your research.

To help make the process easier, we’re breaking down the key differences between these two tooth replacement options. We hope to help you make an informed decision about which is right for you. Keep reading for an in-depth comparison of dental implants vs. dentures!

How Do Dental Implants Differ From Dentures?

Traditional dentures are removable oral appliances designed to replace missing teeth. It consists of false teeth attached to a tissue-coloured acrylic base or metal plate that rests on the gum tissue. The false teeth, called pontics, can be made of plastic or porcelain. Partial dentures are meant to replace some but not all of your teeth, whereas full or complete dentures replace an entire arch of teeth.

On the other hand, dental implants are made of titanium screws that act as artificial tooth roots for missing teeth. A dentist surgically places a titanium post into the jaw bone. An abutment is then attached over the post to support a crown that looks, feels, and functions like a natural tooth. Because they are surgically fixed into place, dental implants are more stable and durable. They are considered a long-term solution for tooth loss.

Dentures and dental implants are prostheses designed to help patients with missing teeth. Each treatment has advantages and disadvantages, which should be weighed depending on individual cases. Ultimately, how you decide will depend on which option better meets your needs.

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Dental Implants?

Dental implants offer an incredible array of benefits, but there may also be some drawbacks. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Advantages of Dental Implants

  • Improved aesthetics:
    Dental implants look and feel like natural teeth. This makes them an ideal option for those looking to improve their smile.

  • More stable fit:
    Dental implants are securely anchored in the jawbone. Thus, they provide better stability.

  • Greater durability:
    Dental implants are commonly made of highly durable titanium. They can last for several decades with proper care.

  • Jawbone preservation:
    Because dental implants are embedded in the jawbone, they help preserve and stimulate bone growth. This way, they prevent bone shrinkage, which usually results from tooth loss.

  • Less maintenance and upkeep:
    Dental implants require less upkeep compared to dentures. They can be brushed and flossed, just like natural teeth.

  • Improved comfort:
    Dental implants provide more comfort than dentures. They are not bulky and don’t slip or shift in the mouth.

  • Improved speech:
    Dentures often cause slurring and mumbling of words, especially when they become loose. On the other hand, dental implants remain secure in the jawbone and thus improve speech clarity.

  • Secure bite: Implants provide a strong base to support replacement teeth. This makes it easier to eat and chew food without fear of slipping or shifting.

Disadvantages of Dental Implants

  • High cost:
    Dental implants require specialised materials and surgical procedures, making them more expensive than other tooth replacement options, such as dental bridges or dentures.

  • Involve surgery:
    Implant placement requires surgery which is an invasive procedure. Undergoing surgery can be daunting for some patients.

  • Long treatment time:
    The process of getting dental implants is lengthy. Dental implant treatments can take between 6-12 months, depending on the individual case, and could require multiple visits to the clinic during this period.

  • Not suitable for all patients:
    The procedure may not be suitable for patients with certain medical conditions. These include uncontrolled diabetes, heart disease, and gum disease (periodontal disease).

  • Strict protocols during recovery time:
    After placement, it can take several months for the implant to fully integrate with the jawbone. During the recovery period, patients must adhere to a strict oral hygiene routine, stick to soft foods, and avoid certain foods that could cause damage to the implant.

  • Risk of complications:
    Implant surgery carries risks of complications. These include the risk of infection, nerve damage, and implant rejection.
male dentist talking to his senipr patient and explaining her diagnosis

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Dentures?

Whether they are full or partial, dentures have pros and cons. Let’s take a closer look.

Advantages of Dentures

  • Lower cost:
    Dentures are less expensive than dental implants. This makes them an affordable treatment option for tooth replacement.

  • No surgery:
    Unlike dental implants, dentures do not require surgery. Plus, they carry no risk associated with surgical complications.

  • Quick results:
    Dentures are usually ready to use within a few weeks, much faster than the months it usually takes for dental implants to be fitted and become functional.

  • No recovery time required:
    Because dentures do not require surgery, they have no recovery time. You can resume normal activities much sooner than with dental implants.

Disadvantages of Dentures

  • Discomfort:
    Denture wearers may feel some discomfort. This is due to the movement of the appliance when speaking or eating.

  • Lower chewing ability:
    Dentures are generally not as effective for chewing as natural teeth or dental implants. Certain types of food are harder to eat with dentures than they would be with other tooth replacement options.

  • Speech impairment:
    Some people experience difficulty speaking with dentures in place. This is due to the movement of the artificial teeth.

  • Ill-fitting dentures:
    Ill-fitting dentures can cause irritation and even sores in the mouth. Poorly fitting dentures may also slip when eating or speaking. This can be embarrassing and uncomfortable.

  • Bone loss:
    Bone loss naturally occurs when you lose a tooth and continues over time. Loose dentures can accelerate this process. As the jawbone shrinks, your dentures will become increasingly loose, possibly needing to be replaced sooner.

  • Durability:
    Dentures are less durable than dental implants. Because of the material they’re made of, daily use can wear them down. Because of this, dentures must be replaced every 5-7 years.

Can Patients of All Ages Have Dental Implants and Dentures?

There’s technically no age limit involved for dentures. Patients, young and old, can have dentures. However, the success of dentures in young patients greatly relies on their commitment to wearing them all the time and their ability to keep them clean. Most young patients associate dentures with the elderly, discouraging them from wearing them. Also, they may not clean their dentures as stringently as they should, which could increase the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.

As for dental implants, while it is suitable for all ages, there are certain considerations for younger and older patients. Since dental implants require good-quality bone to provide stability, it is not recommended for adult patients with periodontal disease. Patients with uncontrolled diabetes are also not indicated for this treatment because of compromised healing. 

Dental implants in younger patients are uncommon, but the need for them is slowly pushing dentists to consider them. Growing children experience changes in their dentition and jaws which is why most dentists advise patients to wait until 12-14 years old to discuss implant solutions. However, an early insertion may be needed in some cases of children with special needs. Studies have shown that placement of implants in younger patients, though uncommon, can still yield successful results as long as the timing and protocol are strictly followed.

Ultimately, proper evaluation on a case-by-case basis by a certified dentist can help determine whether dental implants or dentures are the right options for you.

How Much Do Dental Implants Cost Compare to Dentures?

The initial cost of dental implants can be more substantial when compared to the initial cost of dentures, with prices ranging from $4,000 to $6,000 per tooth. Conversely, conventional dentures range from $2,500 to $7,000, depending on the number of teeth being replaced. Though the upfront costs may appear more expensive for dental implants, they provide far more value in the long term. Dental implants are made from a biocompatible material and require complex installation requiring multiple visits; both properties set them apart from dentures which need to be frequently replaced and don’t produce as natural of a result. When considering all factors such as longevity, tooth health & function, aesthetics, and comfort level – the total cost of getting dental implants is an even better investment than other options such as dentures.

Does Health Fund Cover Dental Implants?

Unfortunately, most health funds don’t cover the cost of dental implants. While some may provide minimal coverage for the initially needed procedures, such as tooth extraction or treatment of infection prior to the implant placing, most health funds don’t cover the overall cost of a complete dental implant procedure.

Knowing whether your health fund covers dental implants is important before committing to the procedure. To find out if your health fund covers a portion of the dental implant cost, contact them directly or research their website to read about any specific coverage or policy-related information.

If your health fund does not cover the cost of dental implants, many dentists offer flexible payment plans to make these costs more manageable.

Which Is Better for Me, Dental Implants or Dentures?

When choosing between dental implants or dentures, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Both are ideal restorative options with proven results. The choice will depend on which of the two suits your needs.

Dental implants are firmly anchored in the jawbone. This holds a replacement tooth securely in place. They offer superior stability and longevity but are also more expensive and require multiple dental visits.

Dentures can be taken off for daily cleaning, which makes them easy to maintain. However, they have less retention than implants. They do not always stay put and can move around or become loose over time.

In deciding which option is the right one for you, speak with your dentist to learn more about the benefits and potential drawbacks of these treatments. This is so you can make an informed decision on which will be the right fit for you.

Final Thoughts

With this blog post, we hope you have gained the knowledge to decide between these two popular options. Whether that be choosing dental implants or dentures, both are ideal options when it comes to improving your smile and self-confidence.

If you’re looking for more personal dental advice, contact Clear Choice Dental. Our team of trained dental professionals are up-to-date with all dental trends, making sure you get quality care.

Please book an appointment through our website or give us a call today so we can help answer any outstanding questions regarding dental replacements. Together we can fully explore which option will bring back your smile.

Frequently Asked Questions

can seem intimidating as a dental treatment involving oral surgery.

However, dental implant technology has advanced dramatically over the years. Modern dental implants provide long-term stability and security for your smile. With proper care and diligent hygiene practices, dental implants provide a long-lasting tooth replacement option that will last for decades.

In addition to reducing the risk of adjacent tooth decay, dental implants look just like real teeth and help improve oral health. When you weigh the benefits versus the risks of dental implants, it soon becomes clear that they are a reliable and safe treatment option.

Dental implants can replace missing single or multiple teeth, sometimes the entire arch. The number of dental implants needed will depend on the number of teeth to be replaced and the status of the jawbone. Your dentist can provide an individualised treatment plan tailored to your needs.

In most cases, dental implants are not covered by health funds, but some offer them. You may contact your health fund provider to discuss this in more detail. Coverage will vary depending on the level of cover you have and the type of implant being used.

Patients without health funds should not feel overwhelmed with financing options for dental implants. There are a few alternative payment options, such as:

  • Self-pay:
    This option allows you to pay for the cost of your treatment out of pocket.

  • Financing:
    Many dental offices offer in-house financing plans, and services, such as CareCredit and Lending Club. These allow patients to spread their payments over an extended period of time.

  • Early Release of Superannuation:
    It may be possible to access your superannuation funds before you turn 65. You just have to have the appropriate paperwork.

  • Discounts:
    Some dentists offer discounts for cash payments or treatment packages. It’s worth asking if there are any available.

Discuss the available financing options with your dentist before undergoing any procedure. This will help you make an informed decision and choose the appropriate option for you.

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a female dentist treats the teeth of a male patient in the office of a dental clinic.concept of medicine, dentistry and healthcare. dental equipment
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