Dentures or a Dental Implant? Why the Implant May Be a Better Choice

A dental implant is a permanent replacement for a missing tooth or one that needs to be extracted due to damage or decay. The implant involves a piece that screws into the gum line and jawbone, over which is placed a cap that resembles a real tooth. If cared for properly and if the body doesn't reject the implant, which very few do, this can be a lifelong replacement for that tooth.

Dentures are pieces that simply sit snugly on the gum line; they may replace your full set of teeth or be designed to replace just one or a few missing teeth. Note a few reasons why you might opt for a dental implant over dentures, even though the implant involves surgery and may therefore be a bit costlier than being fitted with dentures.

Lifelong cost

While getting dental surgery for an implant may be more costly at the onset, keep in mind that dentures are not permanent. They need to be consistently refitted as the shape of your jaw changes over time, and they may break, crack, chip, or otherwise need repair or replacement due to damage. Note, too, the cost of denture cleanser and adhesives worn under the dentures. Over the years, dentures may be more expensive than a dental implant, which typically doesn't need any additional maintenance or care beyond standard routine cleanings.

Cleaning and care

Dentures need to be removed for cleaning, and this can be difficult, especially for someone older, who has arthritis, or who for any reason may be a bit clumsy in how they handle the dentures. Dropping dentures can cause them to chip or crack. Not removing them and cleaning them as you should can mean food particles that get stuck between the dentures and your gum line. However, with a dental implant, there is no need to remove it for cleaning so there is less risk that cleaning will be overlooked or the implant will be damaged.

No risk of slippage

Dentures can slip and slide when you talk or chew, and this can be embarrassing. They can also be too delicate for eating certain foods. In some cases, the slippage of dentures can mean irritation along the gum line or inside of the cheeks if they begin to rub against other teeth or aren't fitting properly on the gums. With a dental implant, you know the tooth will stay firmly in place with is no risk of it slipping; it is also usually strong enough to bite into any food you may want to eat.