Dental Implants vs. Traditional Dentures: Making the Right Choice for Your Smile

By Dr. James Forester | Dec 7, 2023 | Dental Implants
Teeth with implant screw, blue background

Your smile is a vital part of your identity, and when faced with tooth loss, choosing the right solution becomes essential. Two popular restorative dentistry options for restoring a confident smile are dental implants and traditional dentures. Each approach has its merits, and the decision between the two depends on various factors, including individual preferences, oral health, and lifestyle. 

If you’d like to learn more about your tooth replacement options with a trusted dentist in Johns Creek, GA, contact Dr. James G. Forester at Lifetime Smiles today. Dr. Forester and his skilled team can help you assess all of your options and help you make a decision that works best for your needs. Dial (770) 232-1830 to schedule a consultation now!

If you’re new to tooth loss, then you may be wondering what your options are. In this comprehensive guide, we help you explore dental implants and traditional dentures. Here, we discuss what each procedure entails, the ideal candidates, and the pros and cons associated with dental implants and traditional dentures.

Dental Implants: A Permanent Solution for a Lasting Smile

Dental implants have made a name for themselves as a lifelong solution to replace missing teeth. While these artificial tooth roots are a great permanent solution, they may be more pricey than traditional options. Nonetheless, they are worth exploring to see if they are right for your smile.

What are dental implants?

Dental implants are sophisticated, permanent replacements for missing teeth. Unlike dentures (which are removable), dental implants retain their position in the mouth through surgical implantation and osseointegration.

Osseointegration is a natural process where bone tissue heals around foreign bodies (like teeth implants), thereby making them a permanent fixture of the skeletal system. This means that a tooth implant, once fully healed, can provide stability much in the same way that natural teeth roots provide security.

Procedure Details

The dental implant procedure involves several stages

First, a dentist or oral surgeon must verify a patient’s candidacy through a comprehensive evaluation. If a patient requires preparatory procedures before getting implants, then they must pursue them (like bone grafting).

Next, patients must undergo oral surgery to place the implant. Over time, the jawbone fuses with the implant through osseointegration, ensuring a secure and durable foundation. 

Once the implant is stable, the dentist or oral surgeon must attach a connector (known as an abutment) before placing a custom-made restoration on top. These restorations can include dentures, bridges, or crowns, which look, feel, and function like real teeth. 

Duration of the Procedure

The timeline for dental implants varies. However, most patients can expect the process to last between three and six months (maybe longer).

Here’s a quick breakdown of timelines:

  • The initial surgery to place the implant takes a few hours
  • The osseointegration process can take anywhere from three to six months
  • Subsequent steps, including abutment placement and crown attachment, can be completed in one or two visits to your dentist or oral surgeon

Ideal Candidates

Most people who are good candidates for implant surgery include:

  • Individuals with good overall health 
  • People with food oral health (i.e. no other oral issues or gum disease)
  • Patients who regularly practice good oral hygiene
  • Those with sufficient jawbone density to support the implant
  • Non-smokers 
  • Individuals committed to maintaining oral health and regular dental check-ups after implantation

Pros of Dental Implants

There are many advantages to this procedure, including:

  • Permanent Solution: Dental implants offer a long-term (often lifelong) solution to tooth loss
  • Natural Look and Feel: Implants look, feel, and function remarkably like real teeth
  • Preservation of Jawbone: The implant stimulates the bones of the jaw, which helps prevent bone loss over time
  • No Dietary Restrictions: Patients can enjoy their favorite foods without fear of dislodging the prosthetic once fully healed

Cons of Dental Implants

A few drawbacks to teeth implants include:

  • Cost: Dental implants tend to have a higher upfront cost compared to other solutions, like dentures. Most patients can expect to pay between $3,000 and $4,500 per tooth.
  • Time-Consuming: The entire process (including osseointegration) requires several months to complete
  • Surgical Procedure: Some individuals may be hesitant about the surgical aspect of implant placement

Traditional Dentures: Time-Tested Convenience

Traditional dentures are a great way for patients to replace missing teeth rapidly. These removable, custom-made appliances require careful planning to ensure optimal fit and functionality. While dentures are more cost-effective than dental implants, these devices may require frequent repairs or replacement, making them an ongoing financial concern for some patients.  

What are Traditional Dentures?

Traditional dentures look like a full set of real teeth. Rather than staying permanently in the mouth like dental implants, they are removable. This means that they typically require the use of adhesives combined with natural suction to maintain their position in the mouth.

Procedure Details

The process of obtaining dentures is less invasive than dental implants. It usually involves:

  • Taking impressions of the patient’s mouth
  • Using the impressions to create a custom-fitted set of dentures
  • Making adjustments to ensure a comfortable fit

Duration of the Procedure

The timeline for traditional dentures is much shorter than that of dental implants. Once a dentist gets impressions of the patient’s mouth, the fabrication and fitting process typically takes a few weeks.

Ideal Candidates

Suitable candidates for dentures may include:

  • Individuals looking for a non-invasive, reversible solution
  • Those with compromised jawbone density or health concerns that make surgery less feasible
  • Individuals seeking a more budget-friendly option

Pros of Traditional Dentures

The perks of conventional dentures may include:

  • Affordability: Dentures are generally more economical than dental implants
  • Non-Invasive: The process of obtaining dentures involves minimal discomfort and no surgery
  • Quick Results: The entire process, from impressions to fitting, is relatively quick compared to dental implants

Cons of Traditional Dentures

The main drawbacks of dentures include:

  • Stability Issues: Dentures may shift or slip, affecting speech and nutrition
  • Bone Resorption: Unlike implants, dentures do not stimulate the jawbone, leading to potential bone loss 
  • Repairs and Replacements: Dentures may need adjustment or replacement over time due to changes in the mouth’s structure

Explore Dentures and Dental Implants in Johns Creek, GA

Both dental implants and traditional dentures offer viable solutions for restoring a confident smile. The right choice depends on individual preferences, budget considerations, and overall oral health. Whether opting for the permanence of dental implants or the convenience of traditional dentures, the key is to make an informed decision that aligns with your lifestyle. 

If you’d like to see which option is right for you, contact Lifetime Smiles in Johns Creek, GA. You can chat with us online anytime, or you can ring our team at (770) 232-1830 for more information and scheduling.