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What’s the Difference Between Dental Implants and Partial Dentures?

What's the Difference Between Dental Implants and Partial Dentures?

You can consider either dental implants or partial dentures to fix missing teeth. Both restore your smile and improve your oral health, but they also each have their differences. 

Restorative dental techniques have significantly evolved since the days when your only option for replacing missing teeth was a complete set of dentures. Today, you can make your smile whole once again with either partial dentures or dental implants.

Replacing missing teeth isn’t only for cosmetic reasons. When you leave a vacant space between teeth, you’re increasing your risk of gum disease, tooth decay, and bone loss. Chewing and speaking with missing teeth can become challenging, too. So why wait? Speak with a dentist at Espire Dental about partial dentures and implants to find the best alternative for your specific needs.

Dental implants vs. partial dentures

Your dentist will review your oral health to determine the best solution for your teeth. In general, almost everyone can qualify for implants or partial dentures. But it’s up to you to decide which one you prefer. Learn the pros and cons of each:

Dental Implants

Dental implants function and appear similar to your natural teeth. The implant is inserted after the damaged tooth and root are extracted. Once your jawbone bonds with the implant, your dentist will screw in an abutment. This process may take several weeks. The final step is a crown attached to the abutment. These pieces are made of safe materials such as titanium or zirconium oxide that shouldn’t irritate your mouth.

By restoring your complete set of teeth with implants, you’ll improve the health of the surrounding teeth and gums. Implants also prevent your jawbone from further deterioration, thereby maintaining the shape of your mouth. There’s a remote possibility that other teeth could be damaged during the process or that the implant will loosen, but implants are generally safe and can last many years with proper dental care. 

However, not everyone is a strong candidate for implants. People with diabetes and smokers may not be a good fit for an implant. Those who don’t have enough jawbone to hold the implant may need a bone graft to build up bone mass. 

Dental implants can also be expensive. But while the upfront cost is high, dental implants can last a lifetime, making them a good investment for your dental health.

Partial Dentures

A partial denture is a viable option if you need to replace one or more teeth. The replacement teeth are attached to a pink or gum-colored base. The dentures are made of metal and plastic and are designed with clips to clasp onto your natural teeth. Although the teeth look natural, the clips may be noticeable when speaking. Note that your gums must heal before being fitted with a partial denture. In the meantime, you’ll be given a temporary denture.

Partial dentures are removable and require special care. Cleaning your dentures nightly with a special solution and a non-abrasive toothbrush will remove food bits, plaque, and stains. Be wary when using a regular toothbrush or toothpaste, as you could scratch the teeth. At night, soak your dentures in water to maintain their shape. Initially, your partial dentures may feel a bit uncomfortable. However, with time, you’ll become accustomed to their presence and can enjoy all your favorite foods.

Your gums and jawbone change in shape and texture over time, so you may need regular adjustments to your dentures. Replacement dentures will add to the initial cost (generally less expensive than implants). Still, it’s essential to report to your dentist any gum irritation or inflammation that may result from ill-fitting dentures to prevent painful oral sores. 

For your dental health

Schedule an appointment at Espire’s Norman, Oklahoma, location today! Our highly trained dentists can check your teeth and discuss partial dentures and implants with you. Don’t live near our Norman, Oklahoma office? Find one of our other locations near you.

Norman, OK
550 24th Ave. S.W.
Norman, OK 73069