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What Is the Difference Between Dentures and Implants?

Unlike dental implants, dentures may be removed for cleaning.
Dentures are prosthetic teeth worn by those who have lost their natural teeth.
Partial dentures.
An illustration of the parts of a dental implant.
Article Details
  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 20 October 2014
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When the need to replace missing teeth or totally replace the natural teeth with some type of alternative arises, two of the options that dentists often present to patients are dentures and implants. While both options are worth consideration, there are a few important differences between these dental solutions that can make each option a better choice for certain situations. For this reason, taking time to explore those differences and decide which approach is best is very important.

One of the immediately recognizable differences between dentures and implants is that traditional dentures are designed to be removed when and as desired. The configuration of the upper and lower dental plates involves molding a section that fits snugly over the gums and is usually held in place with the use of some type of dental adhesive. The adhesive also helps to function as a barrier between the natural gums and plates, helping to reduce the chances of irritating the gums even as the product helps to hold them in place. Many denture wearers choose to remove the plates at the end of the day, making it easier to clean them for the day to come.

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By contrast, dental implants are actually embedded into the gums and are not removable. Implants function in a manner similar to real teeth, in that they are held in place by the gums and do not require any type of adhesive or product to ease irritation or maintain a proper hold. Dental implants can be brushed in the same manner as real teeth and also aid in maintaining the health of the gums. For convenience as well as a fit that is very similar to that of natural teeth, going with implants is a good option.

In terms of cost, there is normally a perception that there is a significant difference in price between dentures and implants. The truth is that the cost differential between a good pair of dentures and the insertion of dental implants may not be as great as many consumers believe. While exploring each option with a qualified dentist, it is possible to consider the price along with the other differences and make an informed decision that is not based simply on the cost.

A third option that combines the benefits of dentures and implants is also available. Known as implant overdentures, this option makes use of using implants to create anchors at strategic points along the gum line. Denture plates are then created that can snap into position on the implants, providing what appears to be a mouthful of healthy teeth. Unlike dentures and implants, this third option makes it possible to remove the dentures when desired, minimizes the potential for rubbing and irritation of the gums, and also simplifies the process of keeping the false teeth clean and attractive.

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