It’s understandable to feel distressed over tooth loss.
Your restoration options include dentures and dental implants. But with so many factors–from look to feel to price and more–how can you know which is right for you?
We’re breaking things down so you don’t have to. Here’s everything you need to know about dental implants vs dentures.
Dental Implants vs Dentures: Which is Right For You?
What are Dentures?
Dentures are removable appliances for your mouth. They replace both missing teeth as well as some of the gum tissue.
Dentures are made of a pink gum colored acrylic base. This base supports the denture teeth.
Some dentures will include a lightweight metal framework that provides extra strength and support.
With dentures, you have two options: removable complete dentures and partial dentures.
First, complete or full dentures replace all the teeth in the upper or lower jaw or in both jaws.
Complete dentures rest directly on the gums.
Partial dentures, on the other hand, are used to fill in gaps. Because of this, partial dentures are more often used when some of the natural teeth still remain.
These dentures are supported by clasps around existing teeth. Partial dentures may also be attached with precision attachments that are fitted onto crowns.
Pros of Dentures
- Dentures are less expensive than implants.
- Dentures can be placed in by patients who have experienced bone and gum loss (unlike implants, which must be anchored to bone).
- The procedure for fitting dentures is non-invasive. Also, drilling into the bone–a part of the implant process–is not required for dentures.
- The process to make dentures is relatively quick, and only require about four dental visits.
Cons of Dentures
- Adjustments or replacements may be necessary, as the structure of your face and gums change with age.
- Dentures can take some getting used to and may be uncomfortable at first, especially during the first day or two of wearing them. You might experience increased salivation, difficulty chewing, and difficulty speaking.
- Just like regular teeth, dentures will require daily care. Infection around the mouth and gums can occur if your dentures aren’t properly cared for.
What are Dental Implants?
A dental implant is a titanium post that is inserted into the jawbone. Dental implants replicate the root of a natural tooth.
This is a permanent solution to replace a missing tooth or teeth.
The implant post osseointegrates or bonds strongly with the jawbone. This creates an anchor, which is used to hold a replacement tooth.
This option can be used to either replace single or multiple teeth, supporting crowns and even dentures.
Implants are similar to natural teeth. They will require the same care and will likely last you a lifetime.
Additionally, dental implants can help maintain the structure of your jaw, preventing the sunken in facial appearance that is often seen with patients with tooth loss.
How Dental Implants Work
For dental implants to be put in, a titanium post is first placed in the bone. This acts as an anchor for a new tooth that is placed on top of the post.
The procedure requires a high level of expertise to do properly and safely, so it’s best to seek out a dental office with experience.
The placement of a dental implant usually involves the following steps:
- The dental implant is placed surgically into the jawbone.
- As you heal, your implant will osseointegrate, or fuse with your natural jawbone. The two teeth will grow together to form a strong and long-lasting foundation for your replacement teeth. (The healing process can take weeks to months, but can happen while you proceed with your everyday life).
- After the implant bonds with the jawbone, a small connector called an abutment is placed on top of the dental implant. This will connect the implant to the replacement tooth or teeth.
- Finally, an individual tooth, an implant-supported bridge, or dentures containing multiple teeth are then attached to the abutment.
Before any of these steps are taken, however, you will meet with a dental implant dentist to develop your treatment plan.
Pros of Dental Implants
- Dental implants are incredibly successful–they have better than a 95% success rate!
- Long-lasting, the implants will hold up for 20 years or more.
- Dental implants are very easy to care for as regular teeth.
- Implants preserve the integrity of your facial structure and jaw bones.
- Acting just like regular teeth, implants allow the bone to continue to grow.
- It’s possible to get dental implants in a single day (keep in mind that the procedure does require follow-ups, however).
Cons of Dental Implants
- When it comes to costs of dental implants vs dentures, dentures are the cheaper choice.
- Not everyone is a candidate for dental implants, since implants need healthy bones and gums to secure properly to the jaw. (Bone and tissue grafts can be done, however, that will further rack up the price).
What to Consider When Choosing Dental Implants vs Dentures
Of course, you can weigh the pros and cons of dental implants vs dentures. However, the right choice will vary depending on the individual.
Here are some other factors to consider when deciding between dental implants vs dentures:
- Insurance coverage: Dentures are typically covered by most dental insurance plans. Dental implants, however, are often classified as a cosmetic procedure. This means the costs usually aren’t covered.
- Durability: Dental implants that are properly cared for can last years, and sometimes even for life! This means costs can be lower in the long term, since dentures, in comparison, will need replacements relatively frequently.
- Long-term oral health: By stimulating them with the forces produced by chewing, implants will help to preserve bone and prevent gum tissue from shrinking. This also reduces your risk of losing more teeth. Dentures, on the other hand, do not have this effect. In fact, an ill-fitting restoration can even accelerate bone loss in some cases.
- Oral hygiene: Dentures will need to be cleaned meticulously every day Implants, however, can be maintained simply by brushing and flossing, as you would do with regular teeth.
- Improved appearance: Implants look and function very naturally and in a way that is similar to your own teeth. In comparison, dentures can feel bulky.
Do you have either dentures or dental implants? Tell us how you made the choice between the two in the comments!
If you have yet to decide, comment below telling us which you’re leaning towards and why, after reading this article!