While losing natural teeth isn’t pleasant, it doesn’t have to be a life sentence of discomfort. Tooth replacement options are available to help anyone who lost one tooth, or even many. Even if you lost all your teeth, there are long-term sustainable options to choose from. Some options will provide tooth replacement that’s similar to having your real teeth back, while others come with some disadvantages that make them less comfortable. Either way, the choice is yours.
Dental Implants and Dentures – What’s The Difference?
Dentures are false teeth, like the ones your grandparents might have had. They look like real teeth and gums. The acrylic base, which looks like the “gums” part of the denture, is hollowed out so that the denture fits onto your real gums. Because they rest on your gums, dentures are fully removable. This means you’ll actually be toothless when you remove your dentures.
Dental implants, on the other hand, aren’t removable. A dental implant is a titanium post that’s implanted into your jaw. Your new teeth are then securely attached to these implanted posts to permanently hold them in place. To replace all of your teeth with dental implants, you’d need to get at least eight posts implanted into your jaws: four in your upper jaw, and four in your lower jaw.
Implants or Dentures?
So how do you choose between implants and dentures? There are a couple of things that you need to consider to help you make the choice that’s right for you:
- Price: Dental implants typically require a larger, once-off upfront financial investment. Dentures require less upfront investment, but they do tend to be an ongoing expense.
- Longevity: Dentures aren’t really a permanent solution. Although you can use dentures for the rest of your life, your dentures will need to be replaced and refitted on a regular basis. Dental implants can last you a lifetime.
- Quality of life: Dentures can shift around in your mouth as you talk or eat, which is uncomfortable and can negatively affect your confidence.
- Health: Dental implants have the added health benefit of stimulating bone growth in the jaw, whereas wearing dentures actually has the opposite effect, causing your jawbone tissue to degenerate faster. However, dental implants also require you to have healthier jawbone tissues to start with, as the bone tissue must be adequate to support an implant.
- Recommendations: Your dentist will recommend options after a thorough evaluation. These suggestions are based on your individual health, as well as concerns you might have mentioned during conversations.
Implant Care vs Denture Care
When it comes to maintenance, implants are a much more convenient solution than dentures. After getting a full set of teeth replaced with all-on-four implants, you can simply visit your oral hygienist to learn more about keeping your implants clean. But for the most part, keeping you new set of implanted teeth clean will be just as easy as keeping a set of natural teeth clean. Simply brush twice daily according to the recommendations given to you by your oral hygienist.
Dentures are trickier. You’ll have to remove your dentures while you sleep to avoid bacteria from growing on them. Most dentists recommend that you remove your dentures at night to place them in a denture cleaning solution. You might also need to rinse your dentures after eating sometimes. Apart from keeping your dentures clean, you’ll also need to see your dentist whenever they no longer feel comfortable. While some patients try to adjust the appliance themselves, it can actually do more harm than good.
Denture vs Implant Cost
The cost of dentures can greatly vary depending on the kind of dentures you get. Be sure to ask your dentist questions about the kind of dentures you get for the price you pay, as not all dentures are the same. For a more accurate estimate of what dentures would cost in your area specifically, it’s always best to talk to your dentist. For your reference, here’s a price breakdown of what dentures tend to cost in the US*:
- Basic dentures: $600-$1000
- Premium dentures: $4000-$8000
- Partial dentures: $700-$1800
- Implant-supported: $30,000-$50,000
Implant-supported dentures are almost like the in-between option when it comes to tooth replacement. While implant-supported dentures are still be removable, dental implants inserted into jaw prevent them from shifting in your mouth.
With all-on-4 implants, you can expect to pay $15,000-$24,000 for a arch of teeth, meaning you can replace both your upper and lower teeth for $50,000 or less.
*Dental Implant Cost Guide, 2017