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Dentures vs. Implants: What’s The Difference?

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A close-up image of a woman holding her cheeks as she smiles with her new set of dentures.

If you’ve had one, or multiple teeth extracted before, then you may understand some of the difficulties that arise when not being able to chew properly. Luckily there are options to help. With technology progressing there’s virtually no difference between your original teeth, dentures, or implants, and depending on your needs, there’s an option to help.

Read on to find out more about the differences between dentures and implants, to see which option may be right for you.

Infographic comparing the differences between dentures and implants

What’s The Procedure For Each?

Dentures

The first step is to get an impression of either the top, bottom, or both gums depending on how many teeth need replacement. This will assist in creating either a full set or partial denture.

Following the impression, a preliminary set of dentures is produced and sent to your dentist for them to review with you. 

Your bite and alignment of your jaw will need to be studied by your dentist to allow for optimal chewing and speech. If adjustments need to be made to the length of the dentures, they may be completed prior to the production of the final set.

Once the optimal adjustments (if any) have been made, and the final set of dentures has been produced, they are held in place with a special adhesive that is applied along the gum line. 

Implants

Implants differ from dentures because they are not prosthetic teeth, they require enough bone for the screw-like implants to be permanently affixed into, so that they may be capped with a crown later on to form the new tooth.

Firstly, the damaged root needs to be removed from the previous tooth’s location. This allows for the post (metal prosthetic root) to be implanted into the jawbone, so that it may be fitted with a crown later on once the bone has formed around the post to secure it in place.

Once everything is sufficiently secure, the final crown is formed and placed on top of the post to match the surrounding teeth and provide a permanent new solution. You may then continue on as you would with your regular teeth in terms of maintenance and care.

Costs of Each

In Canada, the average cost of a full denture is $1,800, whereas a partial denture is about $1,300. Without insurance coverage, that cost can change to about $350 per tooth, and although this may seem expensive when compared to the average implant cost ranging from $900 to $6000 it tends to be the more affordable option.

This doesn’t necessarily mean better, just that there may be numerous factors to consider when deciding which option is right for you.

A close-up image of an implanted tooth in between regular teeth, showing the metal prosthetic root underneath the gum line with a crown on top.

Maintenance

Some key differences between dentures and implants arise when taking a look at the maintenance required for each. With implants, basic dental hygiene is all that is usually required (brushing, flossing regularly, etc.). Dentures require a little bit more attention to ensure longevity, this includes things such as:

  • Not wearing them overnight, as they will need to soak in a specialized cleaning solution during that period of time.
  • They should be cleaned daily and removed after eating so that they can be brushed thoroughly, including any potential adhesive that may accumulate on the gums.
  • As your bite changes over time, dentures may need to be refitted to accommodate the shift.

Implants are not perfect, but the typically higher up-front cost makes for less maintenance required over time. Unless a crown cracks and requires replacement, it should seamlessly integrate into your daily routine.

Both are great options that may restore the proper functionality of your teeth, and help to renew your smile, speak with your dentist for further information regarding options that may work for you.

Written by Wade Klimpke

Wade Klimpke is a past President and long-standing member of the College of Alberta Denturists. Wade leads a number of industry working groups which help advance and monitor old, current, and new industry developments. This has allowed him to gain a number of industry relationships with implant dentistry suppliers in Canada and the United States.
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