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Do I Need Dentures or Dental Implants?

Posted February 08, 2024 in Dental Implant, Denture

Losing one or more teeth can significantly impact your confidence and self-esteem. When considering tooth replacement, the first question is whether you need removable dentures or dental implants. This blog explores some of the differences between removable dentures and dental implants.

Table of Contents

Woman sitting in a dental office holding a mirror and smiling while looking at her teeth.

6 Min Read:

The Negative Effects of Missing Teeth

When you’ve lost one or more teeth, it can have a significant impact on your confidence and self-esteem. However, did you know that missing teeth can also affect your health? Exposed gums are more susceptible to trapping food, leading to increased bacteria, potential for infection, and gum disease. Missing teeth can cause your other teeth to shift, changing your bite pattern and even making your remaining teeth more unstable. The section of the jaw where the tooth once was is also affected, causing gradual bone loss in your jaw.

All of the above are great reasons to consider tooth replacement, but the first thing to ask yourself (and your dentist) is which type you need: dentures or dental implants? Below, we delve into some of the primary differences between removable dentures and dental implants to help you decide which is right for you.

Dentures vs. Dental Implants

What are dentures?

Dentures are removable tooth replacements in partial or full sets. They’re used most often for people who are missing several teeth in a row rather than just one here or there.

What are dental implants?

Dental implants are permanent tooth replacements that can be used to restore one or more teeth, whether grouped together or not.

Method of Placing Dentures vs. Dental Implants

How are dentures placed?

Overall, getting dentures is a non-surgical procedure. The only potential surgery involved would be removing existing teeth as necessary. If you require tooth removal, you may or may not be fitted with dentures while your gums heal. Immediate dentures can be placed right after tooth extraction and tightened as necessary as your gums recover. Interim dentures are temporary, and permanent dentures are created and placed once your gums have healed.

Your permanent dentures are custom-fitted to your mouth and are created by a lab after your dentist sends them a mold of your upper and lower jaw. Once the dentures are made, you will return to your dentist for a final fitting.

How are dental implants placed?

The process for receiving dental implants is more complicated than for dentures and takes longer overall. Besides the necessary tooth extraction, dental implants require surgery to implant the post(s) into your jaw. As with any surgery, there are a few risks, but ensuring that your dentist has the skills and expertise to safely and effectively perform the procedure makes it much less likely that you’ll encounter complications.

Once the posts are implanted and your gums have healed, it’s time to place your new teeth.

Cleaning and Care of Dentures vs. Dental Implants

How do you care for dentures?

Dentures are removable and require diligent daily maintenance. You must remove them each night, soak them in a denture cleaning solution, rinse them, and brush them with a soft toothbrush daily. Removing and rinsing them after you eat will also help keep them clean. Regular dental visits will also help ensure you’re doing everything possible to keep your gums and remaining teeth healthy.

How do you care for dental implants?

Dental implants are permanent, so you should care for them like your natural teeth. Brush twice daily with a non-abrasive toothpaste, and use wax-coated floss or nylon interdental brushes to clean between teeth. Twice-yearly visits to your dentist will also help ensure your teeth and gums are healthy.

Timeline of Dentures vs. Dental Implants

How long do dentures take?

Getting dentures can take between six weeks and three months. The timeline primarily depends on whether you need teeth extracted before getting fitted for dentures. If you require tooth extraction, you must wait 6-8 weeks for your gums to completely heal before accurate impressions can be taken for your permanent dentures. Once the impressions are taken, the lab makes a wax model of the dentures, which they send back to your dentist within about a week. If these wax dentures fit correctly, they are returned to the lab, and permanent dentures are created. The permanent dentures arrive at your dentist within a week or so, and the process is complete.

How long do dental implants take?

Because placing dental implant posts is a surgical procedure, a healing period is required between when the post is implanted and when the artificial tooth is attached. The post typically takes 4–6 months to “integrate” into the jawbone, when the replacement tooth can be attached. In some cases, bone grafting may need to be done at the implant site if there is bone loss. Healing after bone grafting adds about four months to the beginning of the dental implant process.

Longevity of Dentures vs. Dental Implants

How long do dentures last?

Dentures are custom-fitted to your mouth; however, because your natural teeth are gone, you may experience changes to your jaw because of bone loss (called resorption). The bone in your jaw requires stimulation to remain intact, and your teeth provide that when you chew or move your mouth. When you have dentures, they do offer some stimulation when you’re chewing, but sometimes, it isn’t enough to adequately stimulate the gums. If your mouth or jaw changes, your dentures won’t fit as well and must be replaced. Additionally, wear and tear from regular use will wear down the denture material, requiring them to be replaced every 5–7 years.

How long do dental implants last?

Besides being permanently secured to your jaw, dental implants don’t need to be replaced as often as dentures. Dental implants help keep your jawbone from deteriorating, making you less likely to need adjustment. While implants also undergo a lot of daily wear and tear and may need to be replaced eventually, they typically last about 15–20 years (and sometimes longer) with proper care and dental hygiene.

Cost of Dentures vs. Dental Implants

The cost of dentures and dental implants vary widely. The region of the country where you live and the experience of your dental care provider can also affect the cost of your dentures and dental implants.

How much do dentures cost in Las Cruces, NM?

While dentures are typically less expensive up front, as mentioned above, they must be replaced every few years. The cost of your dentures will also depend on whether you choose full or partial dentures.

At Gentle Care Dentistry in Las Cruces, NM, our dentist will provide you with a cost estimate for your dentures during your consultation.

How much do dental implants cost in Las Cruces, NM?

Dental implants are usually more expensive upfront but only require replacement sometimes. Factors that may influence the cost of implants include the following:

  • The condition of your mouth
  • The viability of the bone in your jaw
  • The number of implants required

During your consultation at Gentle Care Dentistry in Las Cruces, NM, your dentist will provide you with a cost estimate of your dental implant procedure.

Learn More About Dentures and Dental Implants in Las Cruces, NM

If you’re ready to restore your smile to its former glory, it’s time to visit the experts at Gentle Care Dentistry in Las Cruces, NM. They will walk you through the process from start to finish, helping you determine whether removable dentures or dental implants are the best solution for you. Call 575-524-3722 to schedule a consultation or fill out our online contact form.