Dental Implants VS Dentures

Dental implants vs dentures can be a difficult decision to make. By the end of this article, you’ll know which solution to missing teeth is right for you. With information on history, options, and outcomes, you’ll have everything you need to make an informed decision.

Before and After Dental Implants Photo

WHAT’S THE RIGHT OPTION FOR YOU? DENTAL IMPLANTS VS DENTURES

At first glance, dental implants and dentures might appear to be interchangeable solutions to the same problem. However, these two treatments not only differ in how they are constructed and placed but also in the way they influence an individual's life. To make the best decision for your dental health, it's crucial to understand the distinctions between dental implants vs dentures and how each may impact your overall well-being.

So, buckle up and get ready to dive into the captivating world of tooth replacements, as we walk you through the ins and outs of dental implants and dentures. We'll help you discover what your day to day life would look like with one vs the other.

At the end of this article you will have a complete understanding of your options, especially if you may be considering full mouth restoration for you or someone you know. You'll not only have a solid grasp of the topic but also feel empowered to make an informed decision about the right treatment for your unique situation. 

Before getting started, check if you may be eligible for dental implants with this 60-second quiz.

THE HISTORY OF DENTURES

The history of dentures dates back thousands of years, with ancient civilizations striving to find innovative solutions to replace missing teeth. The earliest known examples of dentures have been found in Egyptian, Etruscan, and Mayan archaeological sites, where they used gold wires, animal teeth, and even human teeth sourced from slaves or the deceased. 

While these early dentures were a far cry from today's forms of replacements for teeth, they demonstrate humanity's ingenuity and determination to overcome the challenges posed by tooth loss.

Dentures Made of Porcelain or Animal Teeth

The evolution of dentures truly began to pick up speed during the 18th century when European dentists started experimenting with materials like ivory and animal teeth. But it was the invention of vulcanite, a hardened rubber material, in the 19th century that revolutionized denture production.

Fast forward to the 20th century, dentures underwent a series of improvements, including the introduction of acrylic resins and, later, digital technology for enhanced precision and customization.



Dentures have long been a popular solution for dealing with tooth loss, but did you know that they are becoming less popular as newer options emerge?


Tooth loss is a widespread issue in America, affecting over 36 million individuals who don't have any teeth, and another 120 million who are missing at least one tooth (American College of Prosthodontists, n.d.).

Dentures, in the past, were the go-to option for those struggling with tooth loss. However, as more people have become aware of their downsides when weighing dental implants vs dentures, dentures are quickly becoming a less desirable option. Keep reading to find out why…

THE HISTORY OF DENTAL IMPLANTS

Dr Per-Ingvar Branemark

Dental implants, while a relatively newer option compared to dentures, have their roots in the 1950s when a Swedish orthopedic surgeon named Per-Ingvar Brånemark made a serendipitous discovery.

While studying bone healing and regeneration, he observed that titanium metal had the unique ability to fuse with bone tissue – a process known as osseointegration.

This pioneering research laid the foundation for modern dental implants and led to the first successful implant placement in a human patient in 1965.  Over the years, dental implant technology has come a long way, from Brånemark's initial discoveries to today's cutting-edge advancements.

Innovations such as the development of different implant designs, surfaces, and coatings have significantly increased the success rate and longevity of dental implants.

Additionally, computer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) technologies have enabled dentists to achieve greater precision and customization in dental implant placement and restoration.

As dental technology advanced, researchers and dental professionals discovered the significance of biocompatibility which allowed them to begin placing titanium into the jaw without the bone rejecting it.

Dental Implants Model

This discovery led to the creation of more innovative materials that offer not only increased strength and durability but also successfully fuse into the jawbone.  promote successful osseointegration (bone growing around the implant). 

Titanium and zirconia have become the gold standard for dental implants.

While denture materials have also improved to provide enhanced fit, comfort, and aesthetics, the exceptional strength of zirconia and titanium is hard to beat. Be sure you consider materials when deciding between dental implants vs dentures.

Digital technology in dentistry has opened up a world of possibilities for both dental implants and dentures. Techniques such as 3D imaging, intraoral scanning, and CAD/CAM have transformed the way dental professionals diagnose, plan, and execute treatments.

These technologies have not only improved the precision and accuracy of implant placement and teeth fabrication but have also paved the way for highly customized and patient-specific solutions that cater to individual needs and preferences.

Ready for your permanent, customized solution? See if you may be eligible for permanent teeth in 24 hours with this 60-second quiz.


3D Digital Planning

The field of dentistry and tooth replacement options has come a long way since its humble beginnings. Dental implants vs dentures is a different question today than it was years ago.

From the first attempts at tooth replacement in ancient civilizations to today's state-of-the-art dental implants and dentures, there is no shortage of solutions to missing teeth.

WHAT ARE FULL MOUTH DENTAL IMPLANTS?

Full mouth dental implants are a long-lasting solution for people who have lost most or all of their teeth.

These dental implants function like screws, fastened into the bone to stabilize the replacement teeth, acting as a root system to hold the teeth. This treatment not only gives you a natural-looking smile, but it also supports your oral health and can enhance your overall quality of life.

One of the best parts of full mouth dental implants is that you might not even notice you have them, as they are designed to be as close to natural teeth as possible.

Full mouth dental implants tend to have a higher satisfaction rate. (Pommer et al., 2011).

Full mouth dental implants are usually made of two main materials: titanium and zirconia. Both of these materials are strong, long-lasting, and safe to use in your body.

Dental Implants vs Dentures - What Are They Made Of?

Full Mouth Dental Implants

Zirconia Teeth:
Zirconia is a newer material used for dental implant teeth and is becoming more popular because it looks nice and is very strong and durable.

Zirconia is able to appear very close to the look of natural teeth because of the way it reflects the light. Because zirconia is so strong and long-lasting, it is common to never need to replace the teeth in a lifetime because there are very seldom any problems with chipping or cracking. (*With Proper Maintenance and Care)

On the other hand, dentures are typically made from acrylic plastics that are also designed to resemble natural teeth. However, this plastic material can easily stain and is more prone to chipping and cracking than zirconia is.



Full mouth dental implants can be incredibly impactful. For people who have lost most or all of their teeth, this treatment can change their life. 

It not only makes their smile look beautiful, but it also helps them eat, talk, and can help promote a sense of self confidence about themselves. 

By using high-quality materials like titanium and zirconia, dental implants provide a reliable and long-lasting solution that functions and looks like natural teeth.

‍Take the first step in changing your life by taking this 60-second quiz to see if you may be eligible for dental implants.

THE PROCESS: DENTAL IMPLANTS VS DENTURES

Here’s what you can expect when getting dental implants vs getting dentures from start to finish.

Dental Implants After Photo

Getting Dental Implants



Consultation


During the consultation, your oral health will be assessed to determine if you're a good candidate for full mouth dental implants. You can get answers to any questions you have and will receive a personalized treatment plan based on your specific needs.


Smile Design


In the Smile Design phase, you will work with your highly experienced team to choose the shape and shade of your new teeth so you end up with the smile you’ve always wanted.

Surgery


During this appointment, you will be placed under safe general anesthesia by a licensed nurse anesthetist to ensure maximum comfort. The surgeon will remove any damaged or decayed teeth, if necessary, and then insert the implants into the jawbone.



Permanent Teeth in 24 Hours

Through the night, our in-house lab team will customize your new teeth, and you’ll get your new smile the very next day.


Healing


During the next few months after your surgery, the implants will begin the process of fusing with the jawbone.

One great part of permanent teeth in 24 hours is that you can begin using them on a soft food diet immediately after getting them.

You will have a follow-up appointment four months after the surgery to check your dental implants and make sure you’re happy with your new smile!

‍Getting Dentures

Similar to dental implants, getting dentures will require a consultation with a denture provider.

They’ll likely create a plan and get some impressions of your mouth so they can create your new teeth and gums.

If necessary, you may set an appointment to extract any remaining teeth - or your provider may suggest partial dentures.

Over the next few weeks or months, your dentures will be created. This process may require you to return for various fitting appointments.

As you get used to your dentures, you may notice they leave sore spots on your gums or trigger your gag reflex. You can return to your provider for assistance with these issues. Here are some tips if you’re gagging with dentures.

Keep in mind that dentures are not able to keep the jaw bone stimulated like natural teeth or dental implants can. Overtime, the jawbone deteriorates and can significantly impact your face structure. Wearing dentures for too long can also disqualify you from receiving a permanent solution like dental implants due to bone loss.

Get out of dentures before it’s too late - See if you may qualify for permanent teeth in 24 hours with this quiz.

DENTAL IMPLANTS VS DENTURES: THE FINAL COMPARISON

As we have taken a deeper look into the advantages and disadvantages of dental implants and dentures, you may have an idea about which is best for you.

Dental implants offer numerous benefits, including 

  • enhanced stability
  • natural appearance
  • preservation of jawbone 
  • long-term durability. 

However, they may not be suitable for everyone, as factors like overall health, bone density, and financial considerations are crucial components.

Dentures can offer some benefits as well such as 

  • They may be an option with cheaper upfront costs.  
  • They can look realistic and provide a functional solution for those with multiple missing teeth. 

However, they may not offer the same level of stability and comfort as dental implants, and they require more maintenance, such as regular cleaning and periodic adjustments or replacements.

Due to the material they are made with, they may also require replacement or maintenance that will add to their cost overtime. Although they may seem cost-effective at first, they could end up costing you much more than you thought.

Cost of Dental Implants VS Dentures 

‍The cost of tooth replacement is often a significant factor for patients when choosing between dental implants and dentures. Dental implants tend to have a higher upfront cost compared to dentures, as they involve a more complex surgical procedure and use high-quality materials.

However, when considering the long-term durability and low maintenance requirements of implants, they may prove to be a more cost-effective solution over time.

Dentures, while generally more affordable initially, may entail ongoing costs such as adjustments, relining, and regular replacement. 

Additionally, the lower stability and potential impact on oral health and bone loss may lead to further dental expenses down the road as the facial structure may change significantly.

Find out how you can afford dental implants with the FREE dental implant cost guide here.

Sources: American College of Prosthodontists. (n.d.). Facts and figures. Retrieved from https://www.gotoapro.org/facts-figures/

MORE ON DENTURES

Complete Denture VS Partial Denture

Complete Denture VS Partial Denture

Dentures are a removable device that can be placed inside the mouth to appear and function as teeth would. Although they are significantly limited in the amount of stabilization they can provide, often making it difficult or even impossible to properly chew food and talk normally.

Dentures are made up of acrylic that has been shaped into teeth and attached to a base that fits over the gums. There are different types of dentures, like complete and partial dentures, depending on what a person needs. For purposes of this article, we will be referring to dentures as complete dentures, or full arch dentures.

PROS AND CONS OF DENTURES

PROS

  • #1 Cost
    Dentures do have some advantages that make them a helpful option for some people. They are generally less expensive upfront compared to dental implants, making them an attractive choice for those looking for a budget-friendly solution to replace missing teeth. Be warned, costs can incur overtime as repairs, maintenance, and refittings are required.
  • #2 Easy to replace
    The good news is that if you are prone to accidents or lose things often, they can be replaced relatively easily. Typically when dentures get lost or damaged, you will need to pay for a new set of dentures and the period to make them might range from only a few days up to a few weeks. Keep in mind, this could leave you without teeth until they are made, which some patients find it difficult to socialize or eat until they get their dentures back.
  • #3 Cleaning and care
    Because you can take your dentures out of your mouth, they typically are pretty easy to clean. Dentures need to be cleaned every day with a soft bristle denture brush and soaked in a cleaning solution when not being worn and at nights to help keep the device moist and clean. Keep in mind that dentures can begin to develop an odor if not properly taken care of and cleaned. If the odor becomes too pungent or strong, it may become noticeable to others around you and may need to be replaced in order to get rid of the smell, adding to the overall cost of your denture experience.

  • #4 Restore some function.
    Another advantage of dentures is that they can restore a person's ability to speak and eat following tooth loss, especially when compared to having no teeth at all. However, this improvement may be limited by the fact that dentures do not provide the same stability and function as natural teeth or dental implants.

  • #5 Acrylic
    Denture materials have evolved significantly over the years, and today's dentures are made from advanced materials like acrylic resin and porcelain, which can closely mimic the appearance of natural teeth. However, even with these improvements, some patients may still feel that their dentures look fake or do not match the appearance of natural teeth in terms of color or shape.

CONS

  • #1 Recovery
    The recovery following the removal of any remaining teeth and then being placed into a denture can be uncomfortable and lengthy. Especially when trying to wear a denture over fresh wounds from the extraction surgery. Some patients may swell considerably following surgery and still need to wear the denture so that the mouth can form to the device regardless of discomfort. During this transition, many people have found it very discouraging trying to navigate this new way of life and some even reconsider if they should have gotten dental implants at this point.
  • #2 Pain and irritation
    Another major issue with dentures is that they can be uncomfortable and cause irritation, even long after recovery from surgery. Denture wearers are at risk of developing oral sores and lesions due to friction between the dentures and the gums. These sores can be painful and make it challenging for the patient to wear their dentures comfortably. If these sores become infected, further treatment and care may be required, adding to the overall burden and cost of denture maintenance. This type of sore can be compared to wearing a pair of shoes that don’t fit you correctly. If the shoe rubs on a spot for hours, days, or even weeks, it would probably develop a sore that needs special attention. The same thing goes for dentures. As the bone changes in the mouth, and most of the time it does, it is common to find that the denture no longer fits as it should and will start to wear on your gums even into the bone causing sores to develop.In fact, about 15% of the denture-wearing population has new dentures made each year to deal with the poor fit that comes as the bone changes (American College of Prosthodontists, n.d.). This constant need for adjustments and replacements can be frustrating and add up quickly.
  • #3 Limited on food
    People who wear dentures often find it tough to eat certain foods, especially those that are hard, sticky, or need a strong bite. This can make it hard for them to have a well-rounded diet with lots of variety, which is important for staying healthy. As a result, they might not get all the nutrients they need, which can negatively affect their overall health. In addition to not being able to eat the right foods, denture wearers may also struggle with chewing their food well enough for their body to digest it properly. This can lead to issues with getting enough energy and nutrients from the food they do eat, making it even more challenging for them to maintain good health (Wiener, 1962). Some denture wearers may also experience a diminished sense of taste due to the coverage of the palate (roof of your mouth) by the denture base. This can interfere with the taste buds and make it more difficult to enjoy the flavors of food. A reduced enjoyment of meals can impact the patient's overall quality of life and may even contribute to poor eating habits.

  • #4 Self Esteem
    Dentures can adversely affect a patient's self-esteem and social life due to the embarrassment and anxiety caused by slipping or clicking. Such issues can make social situations uncomfortable, potentially leading to withdrawal, isolation, and a negative impact on mental health and overall well-being. Denture dislodgement (or dentures falling out) during daily activities is another concern, causing embarrassment and anxiety, leaving patients self-conscious about their appearance. Although denture adhesives may help to address this problem temporarily, they aren't foolproof, and many patients still experience denture movement or slippage, further affecting their confidence and social interactions.This instability can also affect a person's speech, causing slurred words or a clicking sound when talking.
  • #5 Deterioration of jawbone
    One of the long-term consequences of wearing dentures, or not having something stable inside of the bone like tooth roots or dental implants, is the gradual deterioration of the jawbone. Natural teeth and dental implants provide stimulation inside the jawbone when forces like chewing stimulate pressure inside of the bone. This constant pressure helps to maintain its strength and density. In contrast, dentures do not provide this stimulation, resulting in the jawbone losing density over time. The best way to think about it is that your body is so smart that it will not build bone where it does not think it is needed. So if there is nothing inside of the bone (think dental implants or tooth roots), it will take the resources to other parts of your body and stop bringing them to your mouth, eventually leading to bone loss. This bone loss can lead to facial sagging and a prematurely aged appearance.
Michael in Dentures Before His Dental Implants

Meet Michael, a patient from our Salt Lake City location who was in a denture when he came to see us. Can you see the difference between the time he came to see us wearing dentures and when he got his dental implants? Immediately there was a difference in lip support and face shape that some people say made him look younger and more energetic. What do you think?

Facial Distortion of Dentures
Michaels Face Share Restored with Dental Implants
Face Shape With Dental Implants VS Dentures

#6 Hidden Costs later on
In addition, the cost of dentures may not be as budget-friendly as initially perceived. Although the upfront cost may seem lower than dental implants, dentures typically require regular adjustments, relines, and replacements, among other costs which can add up over time. This ongoing maintenance can make dentures less cost-effective in the long run, as patients may need to pay for multiple sets of dentures, adjustments, relines, and additional dental visits throughout their lifetime.



Minnie, one of our denture patients who came to Nuvia for dental implants explained her experience with dentures vs dental implants. Watch her story below.

**Actual NUVIA patient(s) who may have been compensated for sharing their story. Not all those who come in for a consultation are eligible for this treatment. Results may vary in individual cases.

It is also important to consider the potential impact of dentures on a person's bite or alignment. Since dentures are not fixed in place like natural teeth or dental implants, they can shift over time, causing issues with the wearer's bite. This misalignment in the jaw can result in uneven wear, potential jaw pain, and difficulty chewing food properly. It can also make it challenging to find a comfortable resting position for the jaw, leading to increased strain and potential discomfort.

Feeling trapped by dentures? See if you may be a candidate for dental implants with the 60-second quiz below:

The NUVIA Difference

Why Wait Up To 10 Months Or More For Your New Smile?

The traditional dental implant process can be outdated, inconvenient and long. Nuvia’s 24hr permanent teeth process is innovative, convenient and fast.

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Nuvia's 24HR Permanent Teeth
Traditional dental implants

Permanent Teeth Delivered in 24hrs

Up to 10+ months wait for permanent teeth

Eat Soft Foods* Immediately

May be on liquid diet for up to 6 weeks, then soft foods for up to 8+ months

Only 1 Appointment to Get Permanent Teeth

Up to 9+ visits required

Zirconia* Material

Delivered in 24hrs

Varies; delivered up to 10+ months after surgery

Titanium Framework

Flexibility of acrylic denture can be prone to break, may disrupt healing

Digitally Mapped for Precise Fit

Multiple, manual wax mold adjustments. Dependent on skill of provider

Slim Design for a Natural Feel

Temporary denture can be bulky and feel less natural

Teeth Created By In-House Lab

Saves you time and cost

Back and forth with 3rd party labs can cause delays & added expense

Comfortably Asleep During Procedure

Sedation included at no extra cost

Varies; may not be offered or can be an extra fee

Team of Surgeons, CRNA’s & Restorative Doctors for Every Procedure

Included at no extra cost

Varies; single dentist may handle multiple roles

Nuvia's 24HR Permanent Teeth
Traditional "TEETH IN A DAY"

Permanent Teeth Delivered in 24hrs

Up to 10+ months wait for permanent teeth

Eat Soft Foods* Immediately

May be on liquid diet for up to 6 weeks, then soft foods for up to 8+ months

Only 1 Appointment to Get Permanent Teeth

Up to 9+ visits required

Zirconia* Material

Delivered in 24hrs

Varies; delivered up to 10+ months after surgery

Digitally Mapped for Precise Fit the First Time

Multiple, manual wax mold adjustments. Dependent on skill of provider

Slim Design for a More Natural Feel

Temporary denture can be bulky and feel less natural

Teeth Created By In-House Lab

Saves you time and cost

Back and forth with 3rd party labs can cause delays & added expense

Comfortably Asleep During Procedure

Sedation included at no extra cost

Varies; may not be offered or can be an extra fee

Team of Surgeons, CRNA’s & Restorative Doctors for Every Procedure

Included at no extra cost

Varies; single dentist may handle multiple roles

*Not all those who come in for a consultation are eligible for this treatment. Results may vary in individual cases.

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Before and After Nuvia Dental Implants

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Our patients' before-and-after stories aren't just visual transformations; they're life-changing experiences. Each smile we craft marks the start of a renewed journey — filled with confidence, health, and a horizon of possibilities.

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Sharala Before Dental Implants
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The Hidden Cost of Delaying Treatment

Missing teeth aren't just an aesthetic concern; they can lead to severe health issues.

Full mouth dental implant treatment
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Smiling patient After Full Mouth Dental Implants
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Nuvia's Permanent Teeth in 24 Hours VS Teeth-In-A-Day.

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Do Dental Implants Hurt? What to Expect From Dental Implant Surgery

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Dental Implants Vs. Dentures - How Implants Can Help

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