Dentures vs. implants – they both replace missing or damaged teeth. So, what’s the difference?
Having a healthy smile boosts your confidence and can feel great. The two most effective methods for replacing missing teeth are dental implants and dentures. Different people will find that the best choice for them will vary. It’s best to talk to your dentist about what options are available to you so that you can make an informed choice. The decision between dentures vs. implants depends on several factors:
- Your overall health
- The health of your gums and bones
Problems with missing teeth
Whether you choose dentures or dental implants, having missing teeth can cause more problems than just not having a great smile. Missing even just one tooth can spoil the mechanics of the mouth, leading to problems that affect your health like:
- Drifting of remaining teeth: Teeth tend to shift in the mouth when a missing tooth leaves space in the mouth. As they shift, they become crooked and leave spaces between teeth. This change not only affects the shape of the jaw and cheeks, but also often traps larger food particles between the teeth.
- Bone loss: When the area of a missing tooth goes unused, the bone around the area diminishes. Bone loss has an impact on the way the face and mouth look (the “puckering” or “collapsing” of the cheek and mouth that occurs when a tooth is missing), and also makes it more difficult to place implants.
- Quality of life: Putting a hand over your mouth to hide a smile or feeling awkward and embarrassed in social settings are very real consequences of tooth loss. They may not be as serious as the physical consequences, but it still affects the quality of your life.
Replacing missing teeth is a step toward taking care of your health and well-being. The decision about how to replace missing teeth is an important one. Having as much information as possible and getting the input of an experienced dentist will help you make a good decision.
Creating dentures is both a science and an art. Modern materials and techniques contribute to the great look and comfortable feel that dentures can provide.
Full Dentures replace all upper, lower, or upper and lower teeth.
Partial Dentures fit on existing teeth, and you can remove them and clean them at home.
Facelifting Dentures are similar to regular dentures, but they also stimulate the muscles of the jaw, which helps to encourage regrowth of tissue, decrease bone loss, and improve the appearance of the face and jaw.
A dental bridge, although not the same as what is usually thought of as a denture, is a good option for many patients. It fills the space where a tooth is missing. It’s “permanent” because only a dentist can remove it, but you’ll care for it the same way you take care of your natural teeth.
The advantages of dentures are:
- Dentures are less expensive than implants
- Unlike implants, which must be anchored to bone, dentures are placed even in patients who have experienced bone and gum loss.
- The procedure for fitting dentures is non-invasive and drilling into the bone is not required, as it is with implants.
- Dentures are made quickly, and require only about 4 dental visits.
- Our office has an on-site laboratory to make the process not only faster, but also better and easier.
The disadvantages of dentures are:
- Dentures often need adjustment or replacement as the structure of your face and gums change with age.
- Dentures take some getting used to, especially during the first day or two of wearing them, causing increased salivation and difficulty chewing and speaking.
- Just like regular teeth, dentures need daily care. If not cared for properly, infection around the mouth and gums can occur.
Dental implants are a permanent solution to replace a missing tooth or set of missing teeth. Implants are like natural teeth. They require the same care and are likely to last you a lifetime. They also help maintain the structure of your jaw, preventing the sunken facial appearance often seen in patients with tooth loss. Implants are what most dentists would recommend if the patient has enough density in their jawbone.
A titanium post is placed in the bone, to act as an anchor, and a new tooth is placed on top of the post. The procedure takes a high level of expertise to do properly and safely. It really is best to have the implants done by a skilled prosthodontist. Dr. Stone teaches implant dentistry to other dentists and has almost 40 years of experience placing dental implants.
The advantages of dental implants are:
- A success rate higher than 95%.
- Lifespan of 20 years or more.
- As easy to care for as regular teeth.
- Preserve the integrity of the facial structure and jaw bones.
- Act like regular teeth and allow the bone to continue to grow.
- Possible to get dental implants in one day, although the procedure does require follow-up.
The disadvantages of dental implants are:
- Dental implants are initially more costly than dentures, although a study done for Washington Dental Service, the largest insurance carrier in Washington State, found that over a five-year period the maintenance costs for people with bridges were higher than for those who had implants.
- Not everyone is a candidate for dental implants. Implants need healthy bones and gums to secure properly to the jaw. Bone and tissue grafts are an option, but they will add to the cost of the implant.
Dentures vs. implants
Dentures and dental implants are both great solutions for your oral health, appearance, and general well-being.
A great first step in deciding which procedure is best for you is to request an appointment with Dr. Stone. Our practice also works with CareCredit, a company that allows you to pay for dental procedures in monthly installments, so you’re able to get your perfect smile back by paying for it in a way that’s still affordable.
Denture Problems http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/common-denture-problems
Denture Problems http://www.thedenturestudio.co.uk/denture-problems/
Implants or Dentures? http://www.oralb.com/topics/implants-or-dentures.aspx
Lesley Alderman Planet Money: For Most, Implants Beat Dentures, but at a Price http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/31/health/31patient.html?_r=1&
How Much Do Dental Implants Cost? http://health.costhelper.com/dental-implant.html
Karl F. Leinfelder, DDS, MS, et al The Art of Denture Relining https://www.dentalaegis.com/id/2007/05/the-art-of-denture-relining
George Washington Had Hippo in His Mouth http://www.kidzdentalcare.com/george-washington-had-hippo-in-his-mouth/