What’s the Difference Between a Tooth Implant and Partial Dentures?

If you need to replace one or two teeth, rather than several, your dentist may ask if you want a tooth implant or partial dentures. Here’s the lowdown!

If you’re one of the 120 million Americans missing a tooth, then you might be deciding whether to get partial dentures or a tooth implant. Lucky for you, we’re going to explore the major differences between the two right here in this article.

Let’s dive in!


In short, dentures are a custom-made replacement for missing teeth. You can flick these in and out your mouth with great ease.

Unfortunately, these never feel the same as natural teeth. But dentures have come a long way- and today’s fittings are the best they’ve ever been.

Dentures are fabulous for improving:

  • Your smile
  • The support of your facial muscles
  • Conquering signs of aging
  • Helping you eat and speak with greater comfort

You get the idea!

There Are Two Types of Dentures

There are two types of dentures:

  • Partial
  • Full

If you’re unsure what to go for, consult your dentist and heed their advice.

1. Full Dentures

All dentures are custom-made using impressions taken of your mouth.

However, full dentures have a skin-colored acrylic base which fits over your gums and sits on the roof of your mouth. Conversely, lower dentures resemble the shape of a horseshoe. This ensures there’s plenty of room for your tongue to rest.

2. Partial Dentures

Alternatively, partial dentures use a metal framework that latches to your remaining natural teeth. Occasionally, a crown will be necessary to place on a few of your teeth to anchor the denture.

How Long Do Dentures Last?

As time goes on, you’ll need to realign your dentures to fit the shape of your mouth, comfortably. This may include crafting a new base. Visit your dentist once every twelve months- they’ll tell you whether any alterations are needed and advise you on how to handle them.

When Will I Get Used to the Feel of Dentures?

Patients often report that new dentures feel a tad uncomfortable for a few weeks. It’ll take a while to get used to speaking and eating. Be patient with yourself, and allow time to practice.

You may also suffer from:

  • Excessive saliva production
  • Feeling as though your tongue doesn’t have enough room
  • Minor soreness

In the early days of wearing a new denture, these symptoms aren’t unusual. If the irritation persists, contact your dentist.

Dental Implants

Dental implants support one or more false teeth (although it’s more common for implants to replace a single tooth, you can opt for a complete set!). A titanium screw is used to replace the tooth’s root into the jaw bone or skull.

The following can also be attached to a tooth implant: a crown, a bridge, or a denture- this makes their function incredibly diverse.

Whether you’re a candidate for dental implant surgery all depends on the health of your jaw bone. Before inserting an implant, your dentist will ascertain how much bone you have left and whether it’s in a fit state for operating on. It might be necessary to graft new bone beforehand.

Contrary to myths surrounding dental implants, the procedure is painless. You should be able to use a local anesthetic. However, you might feel a bit of discomfort the week following your dental surgery.

Why Choose a Dental Implant?

Dental implants look and feel far more like your natural teeth in comparison to dentures. Therefore, patients usually find it easier to chew their food and to speak. On the whole, implants are generally more comfortable and practical than partial dentures.

Plus, they boast extended longevity in comparison, as you can make a tooth implant last a lifetime- providing you care for it properly.

AftercareYour dentist should provide information on how best to look after your implant during the aftermath of the procedure.

They may even prescribe painkillers to take afterward. If they don’t, ensure you stock up on over the counter painkillers at home. You’ll want them ready to use as and when you need them.

After your procedure, allow the bone in your jaw time to grow over your dental implants. This is essential as this is what fuses them. Typically, this takes a few months.

If you’re having numerous teeth replaced, you may be given a temporary denture to use in the interim while your implants are healing.

Just like regular teeth, you need to frequently clean your tooth implants to remove the natural buildup of plaque. You should also try to floss. However, do so with care- the surgery can make the blood flow in your gums a little unpredictable.

If you’ve opted for a porcelain crown, expect to see gradual discoloration. As time goes on you may need the assistance of a dentist to give the area around your implant a deeper clean.

What If the Implant Doesn’t Fuse with the Bone?

The occurrence of this is incredibly rare. However, if this does happen, your implant will become loose which makes it very easy to remove.

Then you’ll need to let your jaw heal. Once you’ve waited enough time for it to knit itself back together, your dentist can attempt to insert another implant in its place.

Did You Enjoy This Article on Partial Dentures and Tooth Implants?

If you found this feature on tooth implants and partial dentures interesting, we’re confident you’ll love the other pieces published on our blog.

Over there we cover everything from what to expect during a dental implant procedure to the causes of bleeding gums. Enjoy!

Alternatively, if you have any questions concerning your oral health, please reach out and contact us. We’re committed to getting back to you as soon as we possibly can. Speak soon!