Missing teeth lead to an increase in dental health risk factors and can lower your self-esteem. Two common and highly effective treatment options are implants or dentures, but patients want to know which treatment is the best choice. Advances in technology and innovative techniques have made either option affordable and realistic.
If you’re considering getting replacements for missing natural teeth, a licensed dentist can help you determine the best option for your case. Learn more about your options here!
What’s the Difference Between Dentures and Implants?
The biggest difference is that dentures are removable, while implants are a permanent, fixed solution. Here is more detailed information about both options:
What Is a Denture?
A denture is a removable appliance that replaces your lost teeth and builds up the gum area slightly with a small amount of artificial gum tissue. The base of the denture is colored to match your gums and supports the attached artificial teeth. Dentures may have an underlying metal framework for maximum support. Overall, dentures are lightweight and easy to remove or replace.
Many patients like how they can remove the dentures until they are needed for eating or going out. These appliances come as a complete set for patients who want to replace all their teeth or partials for patients who are only missing a few teeth. They can replace either your upper or lower sets of teeth.
Partial dentures are used to fill in small gaps and rely on the existing teeth for support. Complete dentures must be attached using an adhesive to hold them in place.
What Is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is an artificial tooth placed permanently in your mouth. The main part of a dental implant is the titanium post that replaces the root of your natural tooth. A new implant post creates an anchor point for your replacement tooth. The part that you and others will see is the permanent artificial tooth, which is easy to attach to the post and is a secure, high-quality replacement.
Your dental implant will look and behave like a natural tooth. Implants also require brushing and flossing to stay healthy. They are designed to last for several years and can replace a single tooth or multiple missing teeth. You can also get dental implants to upgrade an earlier treatment like a bridge and supporting crowns.
Because a dental implant is placed in your jaw, it can stimulate the nerves to keep your jawbone built up. Missing teeth can create areas of bone loss over time, but implants can prevent a sunken facial appearance from happening.
The Pros and Cons of Dentures
Dentures are the traditional option for patients who need replacement teeth and want to restore their appearance. Dentures offer several benefits but also come with a few drawbacks.
The pros of dentures include the following:
- Simplistic candidacy: If your dentist determines that your jaw or gums make you a poor candidate for implants, you can usually get dentures instead.
- Realistic results: The current models can look as natural as implants or natural teeth.
- Inexpensive: Dentures are generally more affordable than implants and have lower upfront costs.
- Non-invasive and low risk: Getting your dentures fitted is non-invasive and takes little time to perform.
- Fast installation: You can get your dentures installed in fewer dental visits than you would need for implants.
The cons of dentures are the following:
- Discomfort at first use: Dentures take getting used to. They may feel uncomfortable or trigger an increase in salivation. It might be difficult to eat and talk while wearing them for the first few days.
- Adhesives are required: You have to apply a denture adhesive to hold your appliance in place. Dentures will slip while you speak or eat without the adhesive.
- The fit must be perfect: If you get partial dentures and they fit poorly, they may promote infection in your surrounding natural teeth.
- Replacements and repairs: Dentures need to be replaced every few years. As you age, the structure of your face and jaws will change, which will require adjusting your dentures so they continue to fit properly.
- Cleaning and maintenance: Like natural teeth and implants, dentures require regular daily care to prevent periodontal disease. However, dentures require a special cleaning regimen that differs from brushing your permanent artificial teeth.
The Pros and Cons of Dental Implants
Of the two treatments, dental implants are the more innovative solution for replacing missing teeth. Implants offer the closest possible replacement for the real thing, and many of their greatest benefits come from how realistic they are.
Here are some of the pros of implants:
- Long-lasting and durable: Patients like how implants are a long-lasting solution for lost teeth. The crowns can last longer than 20 years.
- Successful: They have a high success rate of about 95%.
- Low maintenance: Caring for implants is about the same as caring for your natural teeth. You have to brush and floss as you normally would.
- Best for bone tissue: They stimulate the jawbone just like real teeth, preventing the bone from deteriorating due to lack of use.
- Permanent: They stay fixed in place without adhesives or special maintenance practices.
- A good investment: The cost of maintaining them is often lower, and you will also have a reduced number of repairs or replacements in the long term.
These are a few of the cons of implants:
- Limited candidacy: Your dentist might determine that you are a risky candidate for this procedure, making dentures the more appealing choice.
- Bone grafts: You might have to get a bone graft before dental implants are possible.
- Higher upfront costs: Implants cost more than dentures. If you also need a bone graft, the cost will be higher, and getting your implant installed will take longer.
- Surgery: Getting implants requires surgery.
- Limited insurance coverage: Many dental insurance policies do not fully cover dental implants or bone graft procedures. Since the upfront cost is higher for this procedure, the lack of coverage is a disadvantage for some patients.
Make an Appointment With Drew Family Dentistry
Whether you need dentures or implants, the dedicated team at Drew Family Dentistry can provide the best treatment option for you, so you can enjoy the results just like you have your natural teeth again.
Dr. Drew cares about each patient, and all our staff members ensure everyone receives individual attention. At our office, we want you to feel like you are among family and get high-quality results that make dental care life-changing. Contact us to schedule an appointment today.