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Difference Between Dentures and Dental Implants

To most health-conscious baby boomers, it’s no secret that taking care of your self throughout a lifetime makes for a healthier aging process. With this in mind, it’s important to remember your teeth are part of the total package.

By about age 13, we all have our permanent teeth. However, as we age, our teeth wear down from constant use and our bodies produce less saliva, which helps wash away food debris and prevent tarter buildup. Without good oral health care habits, we become more prone to tooth decay and even tooth loss.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Protection, in 2010 about 25 percent of the population 65 years of age and older had no remaining natural teeth. At a minimum, tooth loss impacts appearance. It may also have more serious consequences including discomfort, pain, difficulty speaking, jaw deterioration, and TMJ, to name a few. Many who lose teeth find it difficult to consume certain foods, which puts them at risk for illness and even malnourishment.

Dentures and dental implants are two options for individuals that have lost permanent teeth. There are benefits and disadvantages to both dentures and dental implants.


Dentures are a removable replacement for missing teeth. There are two types—partial and full. The number of missing teeth determines the appropriate option.

When no teeth remain, a patient will wear full dentures, which completely cover the upper and lower jaw. The dentist takes several measurements to ensure they are made to fit securely and comfortably. Until the permanent set arrives, intermediate dentures may be worn so the patient does not go without teeth. Dentures rely on suction to hold them in place, but oftentimes people use an adhesive for a firmer grip.

Partial dentures are worn when natural teeth remain. Like full dentures, they are customized to the patient. They include replacement teeth on gum-colored trays that attach to remaining teeth with a metal frames

Dentures are a cheaper alternative to dental implants, costing around $2,500 for a full set (upper and lower jaws). Depending on your dental insurance plan’s benefits, you may be able to have a large portion of your dentures covered.


Dental implants are often preferred because they are easier to maintain, don’t wiggle or slip, and typically last a lifetime. With less than a five percent defective rate, the investment, which can be up to or more than $45,000, can be worth it, especially to those who do not want to hassle with the daily maintenance of dentures.

Dental implants are screwed into the jawbone with a titanium screw and prosthetic teeth are secured to the implant. A single tooth can cost up to $4,500, but without the fuss of caring for broken or lost dentures, the money can be worth it.

Whether you are debating partial dentures, complete dentures, or dental implants, it is important to make sure you are getting proper nutrition to keep your gums, mouth and the rest of your body healthy. Continuing to visit the dentist for routine checkups and cleanings will also help maintain your smile for a lifetime.

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