Implants vs dentures

About Implants vs dentures

Implants and dentures are both common solutions for replacing missing teeth. Before you have any treatment, you’ll need a clinical assessment with your dentist where they’ll assess your mouth and talk you through your options. Here are some of the key differences between implants and dentures.

Type of treatment

A dental implant consists of a titanium screw that’s fixed into your jawbone. A replacement tooth, also known as a crown, is then placed on top.

Dentures are removable plastic or metal frameworks that carry multiple false teeth. Depending on how many teeth you are missing, you might need full or partial dentures. It’s also possible to have implant-supported dentures, where dentures ‘clip on’ to dental implants.

Your dentist will talk you through all your options when you see them for an initial consultation.

Look, feel and functionality

A denture is made up of a base or plate which is moulded to sit over your gums. This is usually made of plastic or sometimes metal. This carries a set of teeth that are crafted to look natural.

A denture can take some time to get used to. You’ll need to practice chewing and speaking out loud once you get your dentures to help you adjust. After a couple of months, they’ll feel more natural.

As an implant is fixed into your jawbone, it feels like a real tooth and it won’t impact your speech. You’ll be able to eat normally once the implant has healed just as you would with your natural teeth. An implant will also remain strong and secure as you age, preventing bone loss which can impact your face shape over time.

Treatment time and care


Implant treatment usually involves two surgical procedures which are carried out under local anaesthetic at your local practice. Initially, your implant is inserted into the jawbone. After the bone has fused with the jaw, the crown can then be placed on top.

If you don’t have enough bone to hold your implant, your dentist might recommend you have a supporting treatment beforehand, such as a bone graft or sinus lift. If you do need any supporting treatment done, this will add longer to your treatment time. Read more about the implant procedure.


Having dentures fitted is generally a quicker procedure than implants. Your dentist will take an impression of your mouth to make sure the dentures fit snugly over your gums. A dental technician will then build your bespoke set of dentures to make sure they feel comfortable and look natural.

Having dentures fitted is usually a less complex procedure than implants, but your dentist may need to remove some teeth before you begin treatment. This is sometimes the case if you’re going to have a full set of dentures, but you still have a few remaining natural teeth that aren’t able to be saved.

If you do need any tooth extractions, your dentist may recommend a healing period of a month or two for your gums to settle before you start wearing dentures. Your dentist will talk you through everything you need to know during your initial assessment.

How long they last

Generally, dentures need to be replaced every five to eight years. This is because the bone structure in your face changes over time, so dentures are likely to become loose. This might mean they stop functioning properly or they could become uncomfortable. You can ensure your dentures last as long as possible by looking after them properly.

Implants can last as long as natural, healthy teeth if you care for them properly. You’ll also have regular follow-up appointments with your dentist to make sure your implant is still secure.


Dentures aren’t usually painful as long as you maintain them properly, but you may experience irritation while you’re first getting used to them. This should disappear within a month or two and your dentist will advise you on how to manage any discomfort you experience. It’s important to keep dentures clean as you can develop sore spots around your mouth if food gets trapped.

You can look after implants in the same way you look after your natural teeth, by brushing them thoroughly and flossing daily. You’ll need to see your dentist and hygienist regularly to ensure your implants are clean and healthy. Read more about implant aftercare.


Dental implant treatment requires a complex procedure, meaning it’s usually a more expensive solution than dentures. Implants are also made from high quality materials (the implant itself is made from titanium, and the crown is made from ceramic or porcelain). In comparison, dentures are usually made from acrylic.

Dentures are often a less expensive solution than dental implants, but they will need to be replaced every five to eight years. Partial dentures can also be made using metal, which is stronger and lighter than acrylic dentures, but these generally cost more.

You might also be able to get dentures on the NHS, whereas you usually need to pay for implant treatment privately. You might be able to get implants on the NHS in rare circumstances, such as if you’ve suffered from mouth cancer or a bad accident where you’ve lost multiple teeth.


While almost anyone can get dentures, dental implants may not be recommended if you smoke, have had radiotherapy to your jaw area or have diabetes that isn’t well-controlled.

If you suffer from gum disease, your dentist will help you treat it before dentures or implants are fitted. Remember, each case is different so visit your dentist for further advice. They’ll do a thorough clinical assessment and discuss your options with you in detail to help you decide what solution is right for you. Read more about suitability for implants.


Interested in dental implants?

If you’re interested in dental implants as a solution for replacing missing teeth, get in touch with your local practice providing implants. We’ll talk you through all your options.

Showing result

Show Map
Content is loading

Find out more

Learn more about implants and dentures and find answers to all your questions with our dental implant FAQs.

^ We may record or monitor our calls.

Bupa Dental Care is a trading name of Oasis Dental Care Limited. Registered in England and Wales No: 00478127. Registered office: Bupa Dental Care, Vantage Office Park, Old Gloucester Road, Hambrook, Bristol, United Kingdom BS16 1GW.

Oasis Dental Care Limited has a number of trading names including Bupa Dental Care. For a list of all our different trading names please follow this link.

Content is loading