Dentures Versus Dental Implants: Which is Better for You?
About 69 percent of people aged 35 to 44 have lost at least one tooth thus requiring dental implants or dentures. Not only are missing teeth unhealthy for your mouth, they can also impact your self-esteem and confidence.
Missing teeth can cause bone loss as a missing tooth’s natural roots are no longer embedded in your jawbone. This void of a missing tooth can also change the shape of your mouth, which puts neighboring teeth and gums at risk of tooth decay.
Dental implants and dentures serve the same purpose:
- Help chew foods you might otherwise not be able to chew
- Uphold facial muscles
- Better speech
- Increase self-esteem by improving your smile
Choosing the right option depends on things like price and the health of your jawbone and remaining teeth. Preference based on the pros and cons of dental implants and dentures will also determine which of the two will be best for your lifestyle.
What are Dentures?
Dentures are removable teeth replacements coming in full or partial sets. These are popular for missing sets of teeth rather than just a mere one or two.
Dentures are made by taking an “impression” of the upper or lower gums (or both depending on what you need). Your dentist will also study your bite along with the alignment of your jaw to make sure the length of the denture will be optimal for chewing and speech.
Made to look like your natural teeth and gums, dentures are held in place with a special type of adhesive bonding to your gums.
Pros of dentures include:
– Typically less expensive than implants
– Freedom to remove and put on
– Can be placed in by patients who have experienced gum or bone loss (implants must be anchored to the bone)
– Procedure is non-invasive
– Process to make dentures is quick (only requires four dental visits)
Cons of dentures include:
– Can slip out of place
– Can lead to infections or tooth decay if not fitted properly
– Need to be cleaned regularly
– Tendency to feel fake and unnatural
– Most likely requires adhesives and creams
– Eventually need to be remade as structure of your face and gums change with age
If money is an issue and the risk of instability of dentures isn’t a huge problem, then dentures may be a better option than dental implants.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are permanent teeth replacements. They are a titanium post inserted into the jawbone and are meant to replicate the root of a natural tooth. This is popular as a solution to replace a missing tooth (or more).
Implants require enough bone to place “screw-like” implants capped with crowns. Implants are made by first extracting a damaged root. When the root is no longer there, a hole is then drilled into the jawbone.
A metal prosthetic root aka a “post”, is then implanted deep into the bone. The final step is to place a “crown”, which is an artificial tooth that matches the surrounding teeth.
Pros of dental implants include:
– Long-lasting (up to 20 years however with proper care, it can last a lifetime)
– Very easy to care for as regular teeth
– Implants allow the bone to continue to grow (preventing bone loss)
– Fit comfortably
– A strong jaw is a positive side effect of dental implants as it helps stimulate bone growth
Cons of dental implants include:
– More expensive (American Dental Association reports that the cost of implants range from $1,600 and $2,200 per tooth)
– Not everyone is a candidate for dental implants (this is because implants need healthy gums and bones in order to secure to the jaw properly)
Although dental implants are significantly more expensive than dentures, they could be well worth it considering how long they last when cared for properly.
How do you choose between Dentures and Dental Implants?
After weighing the pros and cons of each option, you may want to also consider the following factors that touch mainly on dental implants.
– Age: Since implants are more of a permanent solution, those 60 or younger may want to choose this option. This is because those younger than the age of a senior can expect to enjoy a few decades out of their prosthetic teeth.
– Bone density: If you have lost bone material, you may not be a good candidate for implants. Implants require jawbone material to support the posts. If there is any presence of lost bone material through injury, tooth loss, gum disease or age then implants may not be for you.
– Feel: Implants may provide a preferable comfort level than dentures. A 2019 study outlined that people who had implant-supported dentures (hybrid of dentures and implants) reported more satisfaction with chewing compared to normal dentures.
– Hygiene: If you’re unable to take care of your dentures, you should consider implants which are much more low maintenance, however more expensive.
Main Takeaway and Alternatives
If these two options aren’t sounding favorable in your book, there are a multitude of options out there that may better suit your needs.
Also known as a fixed partial denture, a dental bridge attaches to your surrounding teeth for support. This can be a convenient option if you’re missing one or more teeth and looking to fill the gap.
Temporary partial denture
Also known as a flipper, a temporary partial denture is a retainer-line device containing one or more teeth. These prosthetic teeth give the appearance of a full smile and can be removed for easy cleaning.
This is a cross between a denture and an implant. They don’t rely on adhesive to remain in place. Instead, to secure their position in the mouth, they rely on implants.
Overall, dental implants are a more expensive option but they are the more comfortable and longer-lasting option.
Dentures seem to be the favorable option if you are over 60 and don’t qualify for dentures. This includes having lost bone material since implants require strong jaw material to support the posts.
With further consultation with your dentist, choosing between dental implants, dentures or other alternatives should be achievable. Feel free to ask your dentist all the questions you need to ask about implants to better understand as much as possible.
Getting implants or dentures is a big deal so you want to be sure that you choose the right option for you.
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