The Ultimate Guide to Dental Implants vs Dentures: Which One Is for You

Are you struggling with missing teeth? Are you unsure whether to get dental implants or dentures? Both dental implants and dentures are popular options for patients looking to replace missing teeth, but they have different benefits and drawbacks.

Dental implants are prosthetic teeth that are surgically implanted into your jawbone. They provide a durable, natural-looking option for patients who want to replace missing teeth. On the other hand, dentures are removable prosthetic teeth that can be partial or full arch and can be made to look and feel like natural teeth.

In this ultimate guide, we’ll explore the benefits and drawbacks of dental implants vs dentures to help you make the right choice for your oral health needs. So, let’s dive in!

Summary of the Article

  • Dental implants are inserted directly into the jawbone, offering greater stability and a natural appearance.

  • Dentures are removable prosthetic teeth that are more affordable and versatile but may require more maintenance and replacement over time.

  • Different types of dental implants, such as endosteal and subperiosteal implants, are placed differently in the jawbone.

  • Proper care and maintenance can impact the longevity of both dental implants and dentures.

  • The cost of treatment can vary depending on factors such as the number of teeth to be replaced, materials used, and the need for additional procedures like bone grafts.

  • Age, oral health, budget, and personal preferences can all be factors in deciding between dental implants and dentures.

  • Consulting with a qualified health practitioner, such as a dentist or oral surgeon, can help determine the most suitable option for your specific needs and be able to enjoy the dental implant and denture benefits.

What Are Dental Implants and How Do They Work?

You may have heard of dental implants as a possible treatment option if you miss teeth. But what exactly are dental implants, and how do they work?

Dental implants are artificial teeth that are surgically implanted into the jawbone. They are designed to look and feel like natural teeth, providing a long-lasting treatment for patients who have lost teeth due to injury, tooth decay or other oral health issues. Dental implants consist of a titanium implant implanted into the jawbone, an abutment connecting the implant to the prosthetic tooth, and a prosthetic tooth custom-made to match the patient’s natural teeth.

However, not all dental implants are created equal. This is why it’s important to understand the different types of dental implants to choose the most suitable one for you.

  • Endosteal implants:
    The most commonly used type of dental implant, designed to be inserted directly into the jawbone. These implants come in various shapes, including screws, cylinders, and plates, and are typically crafted from biocompatible materials like titanium. This allows the implant to fuse with the natural bone over time, providing a sturdy and reliable base for the prosthetic tooth replacement.

  • Subperiosteal implants:
    These dental implant types are placed underneath the gum tissue but on top of the jawbone. They are often used when the patient has insufficient healthy jawbone to support an endosteal implant. This option provides an alternative for those not eligible for endosteal implants, providing a secure foundation for prosthetic teeth.

  • All-on-4® dental implants:
    This is a specialized type of implant used to replace an entire arch of teeth. It involves placing four implants strategically in the jawbone and attaching a full arch of prosthetic teeth to the implants

  • Zygomatic implants:
    These implants are used in patients with severe bone loss in their upper jaw and cannot support traditional implants. Zygomatic implants are anchored to the cheekbone instead of the jawbone, providing a stable base for prosthetic teeth.

  • Mini implants:
    These are smaller than traditional implants and are used in patients with limited jawbone density. They can be used to support dentures or as standalone implants.

  • Implant-supported dentures:
    This type of implant involves placing several implants in the jawbone and attaching a denture to the implants. This provides a more stable and secure fit than traditional dentures, which can slip or shift in the mouth.

Your dentist can help you choose the most suitable type of dental implant for your needs, considering factors such as the amount and quality of jawbone you have, the location of the missing teeth, and your overall oral health.

Dental implants have several advantages over tooth replacement options, such as dentures. The following are some of the dental implant benefits:

  • Stability:
    Dental implants are surgically implanted into the jawbone, providing a stable foundation for the prosthetic tooth. This means dental implants are less likely to slip or shift in the mouth than removable dentures.

  • Durability:
    Dental implants can last for decades with proper care and maintenance. This is because the titanium implant is biocompatible and fuses with the jawbone, creating a strong and durable bond.

  • Natural appearance:
    Dental implants are designed to look and feel like natural teeth, giving patients a natural-looking smile that they can feel confident about.

What Are Dentures and How Do They Work?

Dentures are among the most popular dental implant alternatives that can restore your smile and boost your oral health if you have missing teeth. Dentures are prosthetic teeth used to replace missing ones. They can be made to look and feel like real teeth.

Here’s a closer look at what dentures are and how they work.

  • Dentures come in different types, including full dentures and partial dentures.

  • Full dentures are used when all the teeth are missing, while partial dentures are for those with remaining natural teeth.

  • Dentures can be made from various materials. This includes acrylic resin, porcelain, or a combination of materials.

Different dentures are also available in various types, depending on the patient’s needs. Here are some of them:

  • Full dentures:
    This type of denture replaces all the teeth in the upper or lower arch of the mouth.

  • Partial dentures:
    This type of denture is used when some natural teeth remain in the mouth. The denture is designed to fit around the remaining teeth, filling in the gaps where teeth are missing.

  • Implant-retained dentures:
    This type of denture is supported by dental implants surgically placed into the jawbone. Implant-retained dentures provide a more secure fit compared to traditional dentures.

When opting for these types of dentures as dental implant alternatives, it is important to understand that they all require regular care and maintenance in order to prolong their lifespan. This includes daily cleaning and regular checkups with a dentist. Denture adhesives can also be used to help keep dentures in place.

Modern dentures are made from high-quality materials and use the latest technology, resulting in a more comfortable and aesthetic tooth replacement option compared to false teeth of the past.

Pros and Cons of Dental Implants

Like any dental procedure, there are dental implant benefits and disadvantages to consider when deciding whether it is the right choice for you.

Advantages of dental implants

  • Durability:
    Dental implants are a long-lasting option for tooth loss, as they are designed to fuse with the jawbone and provide maximum stability for prosthetic teeth.

  • Natural-looking appearance:
    Implants are designed to look and feel like natural teeth, providing a more aesthetically pleasing replacement for tooth loss than other options like dentures.

  • Functioning smile:
    Unlike dentures that may slip or shift over time, dental implants provide a more stable and functioning smile.

  • Healthy teeth preservation:
    Implants do not require support from adjacent teeth, so healthy teeth are not compromised in the implant per tooth process.

  • Bone preservation:
    Implants can help preserve bone structure and prevent facial collapse due to tooth loss.

  • Improved confidence:
    Dental implants can help restore confidence after tooth loss, making people feel more comfortable and happy with their smiles.

Disadvantages of dental implants

  • Treatment time:
    Dental implant procedures typically require a separate procedure to place the implant, followed by a healing period before the prosthetic tooth can be placed. This can add to the overall treatment time.

  • Cost:
    Dental implants can be more expensive than other options like dentures or bridges and may not be covered by insurance.

  • Surgical procedures:
    Dental implant procedures require surgery, which may not be suitable for everyone.

  • Longer recovery time:
    Recovery from dental implant surgery can take several months, including time for healing and bone graft if necessary.

  • Treatment costs:
    If dental implants fail, the cost to replace them can be expensive.

Pros and Cons of Dentures

Here are some denture benefits and its disadvantages to consider when deciding between the two options:


  • Affordability:
    Dentures are typically more budget-friendly than dental implants.

  • Ease of use:
    Dentures are removable and easily cleaned and maintained.
  • Versatility:
    Dentures can replace one or more missing teeth or an entire arch of teeth.


  • Discomfort:
    Dentures can cause discomfort, especially when fitted, and may require adjustments over time.

  • Difficulty eating certain foods:
    Dentures can make it challenging to eat certain foods, especially those that are sticky or hard.

  • Appearance:
    Dentures may not look as natural as dental implants.

Cost Comparison: Dental Implants vs Dentures

Cost can be a significant factor for patients when it comes to tooth loss treatments. Dental implants and dentures come with different initial and maintenance costs over time.

In Australia, a straightforward dental implant can cost between $3,000 – $5,500 per tooth, and this can increase to up to $11,500 if a bone graft or sinus lift is required. While dental implants may have a higher initial cost than dentures, they are a long-term investment in oral health and quality of life. Unlike dentures that need to be replaced more frequently, dental implants can last many years with proper care and maintenance.

Therefore, although the cost of dental implants may seem higher initially, they can provide a more reliable and long-lasting option for individuals seeking tooth replacement options.

On the other hand, the cost of dentures can vary depending on the type of false teeth you need and the materials used. According to the 2020 national dental fee survey, a full upper and lower conventional denture in Australia can cost up to $4,000, while a single upper or lower denture can cost up to $2,200. While the initial cost of dentures may be lower than dental implants, they may require more maintenance and repairs over time.

Factors that can affect the cost of dental implants and dentures include:

  • The extent of tooth loss:
    The cost of both options may vary depending on how many teeth need to be replaced.

  • Jawbone deterioration:
    If your jawbone has deteriorated due to tooth loss, you may require a bone graft or sinus lift, which can add to the cost of dental implants.

  • Invasive procedure:
    Dental implant procedures require surgery, which may add to the cost of the treatment.

  • Mini-procedure:
    The new “mini-implants” offer a lower-cost alternative to traditional dental implants, though they are unsuitable for all patients.

Long-Term Outlook: Dental Implants vs Dentures

Dental implants and dentures have different lifespans, which can impact patients’ quality of life.

Dental implants are designed to fuse with the jawbone and provide a long-lasting replacement for tooth loss. With proper care, dental implants can last for many years and, in some cases, even a lifetime.The lifespan of dental implants can depend on various factors, such as the patient’s oral health, the quality of the implant, and the materials used in the procedure.

Dentures, on the other hand, may need to be replaced more frequently. The lifespan of dentures can depend on several factors, including the quality of the dentures and the care provided by the patient. High-quality and well-fitting dentures can last many years but may require adjustments or replacement. Proper care, such as regular cleaning and maintenance, can help extend the lifespan of dentures.

Patients with dental implants must practise good oral hygiene and visit their implant dentist regularly for checkups to prevent gum disease or bone diseases that may impact the implant’s lifespan. Similarly, denture patients must clean and maintain them regularly to prevent damage or wear and tear. Doing so allows them to maximise the dental implant and denture benefits for many years.

Maintenance and Care

Proper maintenance and care are essential for the longevity and effectiveness of both dental implants and dentures. Here are some tips on how to care for each option:

Dental implant care

  • Practise good oral hygiene:
    Brush and floss your teeth regularly to prevent gum disease and maintain the health of your dental implants.

  • Visit your dentist regularly:
    Regular checkups can help detect any issues early on and prevent long-term health issues.

  • Avoid hard and sticky foods:
    These foods can damage your dental implants or cause food bits to get stuck, leading to infection or inflammation.
  • Remove at night:
    If you have implant-supported dentures, be sure to remove them at night to give your gums and jawbone a rest.

Denture care

  • Clean your dentures regularly:
    Remove and clean your dentures daily with a denture cleaner to remove any food particles or bacteria.

  • Soak your dentures:
    Soaking your dentures in a denture cleaner or warm water can help remove stains and bacteria.

  • Handle with care:
    Be careful when handling your dentures to avoid dropping or damaging them.
  • Visit your dentist regularly:
    Regular checkups with your dentist can help detect any issues early on, such as jawbone shifts or changes in appearance over time.

How to Decide Which Option Is Right for You

Choosing between dental implants vs dentures can significantly impact oral health, quality of life, and budget. Here are some factors to consider when deciding which option is right for you:

  • Age:
    Age can be a major factor when considering dental implants or dentures. Younger patients may have more options, like dental implants, which have longer-lasting benefits. In comparison, older patients may prefer dentures, which are more affordable and can provide a quicker healing time.

  • Oral health:
    Patients with good oral health may be better candidates for dental implants, which require healthy gums and jawbones for stability. Patients with gum disease or bone loss may need to consider other options, such as dentures, which do not require a strong jawbone to function.

  • Budget:
    The cost of treatment can also be a major factor in the decision between dental implants and dentures. Dental implants are more expensive initially but can last longer and provide greater stability. On the other hand, dentures are generally more affordable upfront but may require more frequent replacement and maintenance.

  • Personal preferences:
    Personal preferences can also play a role in the decision between dental implants and dentures. Some patients may prefer dental implants’ natural feel and appearance, while others may prefer dentures’ convenience and ease of use.

Final Thoughts

Choosing between dental implants vs dentures is a personal decision that should be based on several factors. Dental implant benefits include greater stability and a natural appearance but may require a longer recovery and higher cost. On the other hand, dentures are more affordable and versatile but may require more maintenance and replacement over time.

By considering the pros and cons of each option, consulting with a qualified health practitioner, and understanding your personal needs and preferences, you can make an informed decision about the right tooth replacement option.

Mary River Dental offers various dental services, including dental implants and dentures. We also offer other dental implant alternatives that will fit your needs and budget. Our team is dedicated to helping you achieve a healthy, functioning smile you can be proud of.

Dr. Nick Peters


Dr. Nick Peters

Dr. Nick Peters joined Mary River Dental in 2014 and held Medical Laboratory Science and Dental Surgery degrees from the University of Otago in New Zealand. Before joining the practice, he worked for three years at a private dental clinic in Invercargill. Dr. Peters moved to the Fraser Coast region of Australia after visiting Mary River Dental in 2014.

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