Comparing Dental Implants and Dentures By Stephen Dowell, DDS on August 20, 2021

an older man and an older woman smilingWhen patients need to replace missing teeth, two common options are getting dentures or appliances supported by dental implants. Dr. Stephen C. Dowell helps patients in Minerva, Carrollton, and Dover, OH,explore and decide which restorative dental treatment is most suitable for their unique situation.

So how do dentures compare to dental implants? Each has considerable advantages and disadvantages to consider. Let’s cover some of the basics about both restorative options below, noting the benefits and drawbacks of each treatment option.

Candidacy

If you are missing many, most, or all of your teeth, you likely qualify for full or partial dentures that you can remove.

  • Partial dentures are ideal for patients who still have many natural teeth remaining.
  • Full dentures are for patients who have lost all of their teeth on the upper, lower, or both arches.

Because dental implants require an outpatient surgery and a more extended recovery period, there are a few more qualifying factors Dr. Dowell takes into consideration:

  • Sufficient Jawbone Density - Healthy jawbone structure is required to anchor a dental implant in place. Patients can have a bone graft to build more bone density and then have their candidacy reassessed.
  • Gum Health - Healthy gums are necessary to get dental implants. Patients can undergo periodontal therapy and/or gum grafting and then have their candidacy reassessed
  • Overall Good Health - Certain health conditions, treatments, and medications can disqualify a patient from safely undergoing oral surgery.

In terms of candidacy, more people are eligible for dentures than dentures supported by dental implants.

Recovery and Surgery Time

Traditional partial and full dentures are ideal for patients who want their missing teeth replaced quickly. If extraction is not a prerequisite, complete dentures typically require only two appointments: one to take impressions and another to check and adjust the fit of the completed set of false teeth. This means you can have a fully functioning smile in about two weeks, give or take. Becoming acclimated to wearing dentures can take up to a few months. Most importantly, there is no surgery or recovery time.

Dental implants are surgically installed in multiple stages. The initial oral surgery involves the placement of the artificial tooth roots into the jawbone. Later, an abutment is placed, which is what will hold the completed implant restoration in place. The process requires a healing period between each step.

In terms of time, dentures are faster, though traditional appliances are not as study as implant-supported ones.

Complications

Bone loss in the jaw occurs for patients wearing traditional dentures. A study published by the Journal of Advanced Prosthodontics claimed that patients experience “loss of bone width by 25% and a loss in bone height of 4 mm” a year after dental extraction.

Other common complications associated with traditional dentures are:

  • Loss of retention (instability)
  • Ulceration (sores) on the gums

Bone does not degenerate when implants are in the jaw. Dental implants stabilize dentures. Issues with relining, periodontal sores, and slipping/sliding are non-issues with dental implants.

There is a potential risk of implant failure if a patient’s healing is poor or they experience an infection of the gum tissue around the dental implant. Good oral hygiene helps limit the dangers of implant failure.

Cost

Both dental implants and dentures can adequately replace teeth. However, implants are much more expensive given the need for multiple oral surgeries and follow-up care during the treatment process. Dentures may not have certain implant benefits, but they are certainly more affordable and are generally effective.

Schedule a Consultation Today

The best way to find out if dental implants or dentures are best suited for you is to schedule a consultation. Book an appointment at Dowell Dental Group by calling (330) 868-5001 or messaging us online.

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Dowell Dental Group

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To schedule your consultation, contact us online, call us at (330) 868-5001, or reach out directly to our location that is most convenient for you. 

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