5 Key Tips to Help You Decide Between Implants and Dentures
There are options for restoring your smile.
Both dentures and implants are great treatment options for anyone with missing or broken teeth. While dentures and dental implants both require proper care, they can boost your self-esteem and restore your oral health to its original function and aesthetics. Both options have pros and cons that may or may not work with your lifestyle, health condition, and/or budget. You need to recognize all of your dental needs and then compare implants vs dentures to decide the best treatment option for you.
What are dentures?
Dentures are a dental appliance that is usually removable, and help to replace some, or all of your teeth. They help you eat, speak, and smile comfortably if you have broken teeth as a result of injury or tooth decay.
There are different types of dentures—some are permanent and some are removable. Full dentures work best if you’re missing all of your natural teeth. The upside of getting a denture is that it is a cost effective method to replace teeth. They also help your face from changing shape, and can be removable or fixed, for convenience.
The downside of a denture is they can slip and need replacement over time. They may cause sores around your mouth, and some people report discomfort for the first few days until their mouth gets used to it.
What are implants?
Implants are like artificial tooth roots. They are titanium screw-like posts surgically placed into your jawbone. They osseointegrate, or bond naturally to your bone. Implants are beneficial because they support artificial crowns and can naturally match your teeth in shape and color. They are the closest resemblance to your natural tooth, if you are missing one.
A single tooth implant allows for improved chewing and speaking, and will complete your smile. There are numerous benefits, which make implants such a popular treatment option. Implants can preserve natural bone and stimulate bone growth to preserve the shape and density of the jawbone. They are easy to clean and are expected to last decades, if not a lifetime.
The main disadvantage of dental implants is their high upfront cost. As well, you require adequate bone to support an implant. Some people require a bone graft or sinus augmentation to improve the chances of success of the implant. Another thing to consider regarding cost, is dentures need to be replaced every seven to 10 years, while your implants will last a lifetime with proper care.
Dental treatment is unique for everyone and it is a personalized decision whether you opt for implants vs dentures. Here are some of the best tips to give you some background on implants and dentures so you can determine which is the best course of action for your oral health.
1. The Number of Teeth You Need Restored
If you are missing a single tooth or two, it may be in your best interest to get dental implants. An implant can replace a tooth and prevent the other teeth from shifting or nearby bone from resorbing. Both of these scenarios may cause bone loss against adjacent teeth.
It is a better cosmetic option and more comfortable to get dental implants to replace one or two teeth, whereas if you are missing many teeth or an entire arch, it may be more convenient to get dentures.
The great thing about dentures is that they can act as a stepping stone to implant-supported dentures. These are full arch dentures that remain in place and can’t be removed. Implant-supported dentures are a wonderful option to give a more youthful appearance and more comfortable than a removable denture, but they come with a bigger price tag.
2. The Density of Your Jawbone
When you lose teeth, you also lose the bone density around those teeth that helped hold it in place. Without solid bone mass, an implant cannot be successful as it can’t osseointegrate to become a stable “root” for the tooth. Your prosthodontist may recommend a bone graft prior to an implant, to help stimulate more bone growth for a better outcome.
If you have been missing teeth for many years and lack bone support, dentures are a great option to restore your function and cosmetic appearance. Sometimes as we age we also lose bone mass and it is harder to restore teeth with implants. It may be recommended to get mini implants to help keep a denture in place, or use a removable appliance.
3. The Age of the Patient
If you are missing a tooth because of tooth decay or an injury, but are not fully done growing, as a child or teen, you may not be a good candidate for dental implants. Implants are not a treatment option for younger people. If your child is missing a tooth, you may want to consider a removable appliance to hold the space, until they are old enough for an implant.
There are no age limits as to when you can get an implant as an adult. If you have the bone density, space, healthy medical background, and finances, you can always choose a dental implant to replace a missing tooth.
There is no question that dentures are the more affordable option compared to dental implants. You have to budget your cost depending on if you are missing one or more teeth.
Custom dentures are not cheap, but an arch of dental implants has a significantly higher upfront cost. If you are missing a single tooth, it may be a good option to replace it using a dental implant as it is a permanent, fixed treatment. However, if you are missing multiple teeth, you can always work with your prosthodontist about doing a few implants at time and combine it with a partial denture until you are ready for full implants.
5. Function and Feel
Dentures are convenient because you can remove them to clean, but they require more maintenance than dental implants. You need to purchase products to keep your dentures clean and after several years, you may even need repairs or replacements because they become worn down and unflattering. You need to be conscious of your food choices with dentures as they don’t have the bite force of dental implants.
A dental implant resembles your natural tooth so you would care for it just like any other tooth by brushing and flossing. While you can’t get a cavity on a dental implant, you still need to be cautious of your gum health to avoid infection and bone loss.
Dentures do not feel as natural as dental implants, but over time most people become accustomed to speaking, eating, and smiling with dentures. Both dentures and implants serve to restore function to your teeth, but a dental implant is the closest to your actual tooth, compared to a denture, because it actually stimulates bone growth in that area.
Restore your smile at My Chico Dentist.
Both implants and dentures offer different benefits, but the good news is they help replace missing teeth to get you back your confidence and dental function you need for a quality life of eating, smiling, and speaking. Once you evaluate all of your options with your prosthodontist, you can decide which is the perfect option for you to restore your optimal oral health. If you’re ready to find out which option might be right for your smile, reach out to My Chico Dentist and book a consultation.