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When patients have lost teeth, dentures and implants are popular solutions. In fact, most patients likely personally know someone who has used or currently uses dentures. As we begin to consult with potential clients about their dental solutions, we have found that many aren’t aware of the common pros and cons of dental implants versus dentures.

Let’s take a closer look at the differences in dentures versus implants.

What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are permanent solutions to missing teeth. In short, a titanium screw is implanted into the jawbone, and a permanent crown is attached to the implant. The titanium becomes fused with the jawbone and the permanent teeth placed on top perform like genuine natural teeth. Patients can replace single teeth with implants or entire rows of teeth with all-on-four procedures.

Dental implants are permanent and function like real teeth. Patients with dental implants have no diet restrictions and face no speech impediments from the implants.

What Are Dentures?

Traditional dentures are teeth prosthetics that are held in place by adhesives. Dentures need to be taken out each night and cleaned. Dentures have a low upfront cost, but they require regular adjustments, refitting, and replacements over time. They are also prone to slippage, may impair speech and eating, and do nothing to prevent bone loss in the jaw. Dentures are removable and made from acrylic plastic material that is prone to breaking, but permanent fixed dental implants like the All-on-4 treatment are made from a much more durable material called Zirconia that is very unlikely to break.

While traditional dentures may offer lower upfront costs, their performance and longevity pale in comparison to dental implants.

What Are Snap-In Dentures?

Snap-in dentures (which are often called snap-on dentures, overdentures, permanent dentures, or anchor dentures), are a specific type of dentures that have features of both traditional dentures and dental implants. Snap-in dentures have screw anchors that are implanted into the jawbone and have a removable prosthetic that attaches to these anchors. In other words, unlike all-on-four implants, which has a permanent and bridge that does not need to be removed, snap-in dentures need to be removed each night for cleaning.

Overdentures offer a more comfortable, secure fit than traditional dentures, but still trail behind the comfort and longevity of fixed dental implants like the All-on-4. Overdentures typically range from $8,000 – $12,000 total and their costs increase over time since the removable prosthetic needs to be replaced around every 5 years. (Read more about costs associated with various dental procedures.)

We find that cost is often the primary reason that cause patients to turn to snap-in dentures over fixed dental implants. However, our Lowest Price Guaranteed on All-on-4 dental implants are comparable, if not cheaper than snap-in dentures over lifetime.

Comparing Dentures vs. Implants

Traditional DenturesSnap-In DenturesAll-on-4 Dental Implants
Removable teeth held in place by adhesive. Needs replacement ~ 5 yearsRemovable teeth held in place by implants. Needs replacement ~ 5 yearsPermanent Teeth held in place by implants. Does not need replacement
Needs to be removed nightlyNeeds to be removed nightlyDoes not need to be removed nightly
BulkyBulkyNatural and aesthetically pleasing
Acrylic (plastic) teethAcrylic (plastic) teethZirconia teeth
Many dietary restrictionsMany dietary restrictionsNo dietary restrictions
Prone to odors, even with regular cleaningProne to odors, even with regular cleaning.Basic dental hygiene will prevent unseemly odors
Unstable – Prone to movement and slippageLess stable – Some movement (can move and slip)Stable – No movement
Can be painfulCan be painfulPainless
Impairs speechImpairs speechDoes not impair speech
Prone to breakageProne to breakageNo breakage
Does not prevent further bone lossCan prevent some bone lossMost effective in preventing bone loss
Low upfront cost, but requires proper cleaning, regular adjustments, and periodic replacements.$8,000 – $12,000 upfront + replacement costs every ~5 years (replacement teeth cost roughly $2,000)$14,950 one time fee (no replacement costs)

Cost of Dentures vs. Implant

Dental implants can be performed for a single tooth or for a full row of teeth through an all-on-four procedure. For the majority of our patients, an all-on-four procedure will be the most cost-effective. America’s First offers a flat rate of $14,950 on all-on-four procedures, which includes:

  • Initial consultation, CT scan, and x-rays
  • All materials, including custom bridge (your replacement teeth)
  • The surgery to install titanium screws and follow-up procedure to place the permanent, custom bridge
  • IV anesthesia
  • Any extra appointments or consultations required to complete the procedure.

The cost of snap-in dentures is far less cost-effective. Your upfront cost will range between $8,000 – $12,000 and does not cover future adjustments and eventual prosthetic replacements. In the long run, fixed permanent All-on-4 dental implants treatment is almost always more cost-effective than snap-in dentures.

Dentures vs. Implants FAQs

1.   What’s the cleaning process of dentures vs. implants?

Dentures, including snap-in dentures, have to be removed every night for cleaning. The prosthetic (fake teeth) and the abutment (where the teeth connect to the gums) can be difficult to fully clean, which encourages bacteria growth. The bacteria is what causes the unpleasant smell that dentures are known for, and even thorough cleaning can make it difficult to prevent it.

Dental implants require no special cleaning. The all-for-one bridge is comparatively slimmer than overdentures and can easily be cleaned with a toothbrush and mouthwash. As long as patients use basic dental hygiene and see a dentist for regular cleanings, there will be no issues with smells or odors.

2.   What is the cost of snap-in dentures vs implants?

Snap-in dentures, just like traditional dentures, are not meant to be permanent. The initial surgery will cost $8,000 – $12,000. The removable prosthetic will eventually break down and need to be replaced, which usually occurs within 5 years. Getting the prosthetic replaced is not covered in your upfront cost, and quickly makes overdentures more expensive over time.

Our all-on-four procedure has a $14,950 upfront, all-inclusive, one-time cost.

3.   Why do snap-in dentures cause speech problems when implants don’t?

Snap-in dentures can be large, intrusive prosthetics. The abutments where the prosthetic connects can be large, which will interfere with tongue movement in speech. If the overdenture isn’t properly secured to the abutments, it can slip and move, which will further impact a patient’s ability to speak.

Dental implants connect securely to titanium screws, and the bridge is slim, comfortable, and meant to look and feel like real teeth. This means that it won’t impact your ability to speak, and most people won’t be able to tell that you have implants instead of your natural teeth.

4.   How is the appearance of dentures vs. implants?

Dentures have a dull, unnatural appearance. This is because they are usually made of acrylic, nylon, or resin. Acrylic is a porous plastic material that absorbs stains and bacteria easily making it smelly and ugly. Dentures also have artificial gums which add to the obvious artificial look, even if you choose snap-in dentures.

Dental implants, on the other hand, look like natural teeth when done by skilled doctors. First, the crown of the implants is flush with your natural gums, which helps to create an authentic look. Second, our teeth are made from Zirconia, which is a strong ceramic that is naturally bright and white. The result is a bridge that comfortably fits along the gum line, creating a truly authentic look.

The majority of our patients that receive all-on-four procedures have bridges that are indiscernible from real teeth.

5.   What are the dietary restrictions with dentures vs. dental implants?

Dentures will come with eating restrictions, such as any crunchy and hard foods that would damage the prosthetics (e.g.,  nuts, chips, crackers, ice cubes), anything chewy which would displace the denture (e.g., pizza, sandwiches, gum, breadsticks, steak, etc.) and, anything that are likely to get trapped in hard-to-reach areas (e.g., pasta, cheese, muffins). Thorough morning and evening cleanings can help eliminate some of the issues, but the effort required makes it difficult for most patients to do consistently.

You will not have dietary restrictions with implants. Since implants are securely fastened to your jawbone, and the crowns are made of ceramic Zirconia, you’ll be able to enjoy the same foods you did with your natural teeth. Keeping your implants clean is also easy, so you won’t need to be concerned with foods that would get trapped in hard-to-clean areas.

6.   How long do dental implants last compared to dentures?

You can expect snap-dentures to last around five years before you need to have them replaced and refitted. Remember, you’ll have to pay for the replacement and refitting. Dental implants are permanent and usually last a lifetime.