Dentures vs Implants
For patients who need to replace one or more missing teeth, they may be considering dental implants or a denture. Everyone is different and their individual case and needs are different so what might be right for some, may not be right for you. There are a number of factors to take into consideration when determining what treatment path to take. Factors such as price, oral health, overall health, and personal preference are some of the major players.
Dentures and implants each have their own benefits and disadvantages so it is important to discuss your options as well as your concerns and goals for your smile with your dentist. There are also other alternatives to dentures and implants that you might consider such as dental bridges. A denture is removable and can be placed regardless of how much bone structure is available. An implant is permanent and surgically placed in the jawbone and requires sufficient bone structure.
For the most part, dentures and implants serve the same purpose. Both help you eat and speak more naturally and both will increase your self-esteem by giving you a beautiful new smile. Let's take a look at the differences between dentures and implants that should be considered before you make a final decision.
An impression is taken of both the upper and lower jaw which is then used for your dentist to make models to send to the dental lab. A dental lab will fabricate a temporary denture for you to wear while your final denture is being made. Your dentist will examine the bite and alignment of your upper and lower jaw to make sure that the length of the denture is appropriate for optimal speaking and eating. If any adjustments need to be made to the alignment or the length of the teeth, your dentist will make those adjustments and notify the dental lab before your final denture is produced. Dentures are made to be a natural looking dental restoration and are held in place with suction and retention, an adhesive may be used when necessary.
Dental implants or a screw-like post that is placed directly into your jaw bone. It is necessary for the patient to have enough bone structure to support the implant. In the event that there is not enough bone structure, a bone graft may be necessary before the implant can be placed. A dental implant is placed by an oral surgeon or periodontist. The doctor will begin by making a small incision in the gum tissue and drilling a small hole in the bone. They will then secure the implant into the bone and suture the gum tissue back together. A small portion of the implant will protrude above the gum tissue, this is the part that holds the fake tooth. A healing abutment is placed on the exposed portion of the implant to protect it from damage or infection for the healing period, which can take up to six months.
Once the implant is healed, the artificial tooth is placed using an abutment to attach it to the implant.
Dental implants are one of the more expensive restorative treatment available. Dental implant can cost between $1600 and $2200 per tooth. Dentures are not as expensive but have their own disadvantages. A full denture cost about $1600 per arch.
Dental implants are a safe and effective way to replace missing teeth but there are a number of complications that can arise. A mechanical problem such as a loose implant or cracked crown can happen as well as infection at the implant. Dental implants have a success rate between 95% and 97% which does leave room for implant failure.
Dentures are not without their own possible complications. The most common problem with dentures has to do with fit. If the denture does not stay in place, it can shift around in the mouth and the resulting friction can cause sores on the gum tissue, making the denture uncomfortable to wear.
Care and Maintenance
Caring for a dental implant is extremely easy! No special treatment needs to be observed during your routine oral care. Dental implants can be brushed and flossed just like your natural teeth. In the event that your implant suffered damage, your dentist will be able to replace a broken crown or abutment but your implant doctor will need to address any issues with the actual implant.
Caring for your denture is a little more involved. Adventure should not be worn overnight so before bed, they should be placed in water or a special cleaning solution overnight after brushing them thoroughly to remove any food particles and debris. If you experience changes to your bite, your denture may need to be realigned or adjusted to fit better. Overtime, deterioration in the bone structure will cause you to need a new denture all together.
Making Your Final Decision
Now that we have reviewed some of the key differences between receiving implants and dentures, let's take a closer look at some of the additional factors that need to be considered before you choose between a dental implant and a denture.
Function: Dental implants proved a higher comfort level and are much more stable for eating and speaking than dentures. Patients that need to have a full arch or both arches replaced may consider an implant-supported denture.
Oral Hygiene: Dentures require more specialized care than dental implants so if you do not believe that you will be able to care for your denture effectively, you should consider dental implants.
Bone Density: for patients who are hoping to receive a dental implant, sufficient bone structure is absolutely necessary for the success of the implant. Patients that do not have enough bone material due to age, gum disease, or tooth loss may not be a great candidate for dental implants and should take a closer look at dentures. A bone graft may be performed prior to implant placement for those patients who are willing and able to endure additional surgery and healing time.
If you need to have a significant number of teeth replaced, it is important to discuss your goals and concerns with your dentist before making your final decision. Dental implants are more expensive but will last significantly longer than a denture and are typically more cost effective in the long run. This is an investment in your health so it is important to make sure that you have all of the information available to you to make an informed decision.