happy patient with dentist

Losing teeth can be incredibly frustrating, especially when you have done all that you can to retain your natural teeth for as long as possible. Nevertheless, rest assured that you aren’t alone. Statistics suggest that by the age of 50, Americans have lost an average of 12 of their permanent teeth. This can have a significant impact on your ability to use your teeth properly, as well as affecting how you feel about the appearance of your teeth and smile.

Both dental implants and dentures are solutions for missing teeth and so it is easy to see why some people confuse the two. In reality, they are very different designs and each offers patients a very different experience.

Let’s find out more about both options, starting with the oldest known solution for missing teeth – dentures.


Conventional dentures have been used as a tooth loss solution for centuries, although you will be pleased to know that their design has evolved, and they are now more modern and comfortable than ever before. Dentures are a series of prosthetic teeth that are attached to a mold. In the case of dentures for the upper jaw, they are also secured to a plate that sits across the top of the roof of your mouth. The molds are secured to the soft tissue of your gums using special adhesive. This holds them in place for the duration of the day but enables them to be removed at night. This is done so that you can clean your dentures and your mouth, ensuring your oral health is maintained and preventing any further problems from developing.

Dental implants

Dental implants are an innovative, modern alternative to conventional bridges in the case of single teeth, and dentures if your tooth loss is extensive. Their unique design not only replaces the visible portion of your tooth, but also the tooth root. This is done using a titanium post which is inserted through the gums and into the jaw bone. The live bone and soft tissue then heal around it, creating a permanent ‘root’ for the artificial tooth, which is normally made from porcelain, or in some cases, zirconia.

Dental implants are most often a popular choice for patients who only have one or two missing teeth. However, they can also be successfully used as an alternative to dentures if you have a number of gaps in your smile. This is because a conventional denture-style arch can actually be mounted onto implant posts, combining and giving patients all of the benefits of both designs.

Single dental implants are supported on one dental implant post each. However, multiple missing teeth in a denture arch can be supported on two or more, depending on the location of the posts and the health of the patient’s jaw bone.

Key differences between dental implants and dentures

- Dental implants and denture-supported implants are permanent. They cannot be removed for any reason. Conventional dentures can be removed and must be taken out for cleaning them and your mouth.

- The process to receive dental implants is invasive, whereas dentures sit over the top of the gums.

- Since they are permanent, dental implants are very secure and won’t slip and move around in your mouth when you eat and speak. Dentures are only secured temporarily using adhesive which isn’t always reliable, and this means that embarrassing slips are more likely.

- You can eat chewy, sticky and tough foods while wearing dental implants without needing to worry about them coming out. Dentures are less secure, and many wearers avoid these types of food for risk of fear of them being pulled loose.

- Dental implants can strengthen your jaw bone. By inserting implant posts into the bone and stimulating new growth, your jaw will actually become stronger and more defined.

- Dental implants will last longer. With proper care and regular professional attention, dental implants could last decades before a replacement is required. However, dentures are more fragile and likely to break. In most cases, a patient will require their dentures to be replaced every 5 to 10 years.

- Dental implants are more expensive than dentures. However, since dentures require maintenance and replacement more often, many patients find that overall, dental implants still represent a very good investment in their dental health.

If you would like more information about the differences between dentures and dental implants, or if you would like some advice about which may be the best solution to replace your missing teeth, our experienced team would be happy to help. Please contact our offices to schedule your consultation.