Dentures vs. Implants

When someone is missing even one tooth, especially when that missing tooth is located in the aesthetic zone at the front of the mouth – the area that’s visible when a person talks or smiles – the effects can be devastating to a person’s self-esteem. There are solid clinical reasons to replace missing teeth, too, which only adds to the desire for an appropriate, satisfying option for tooth replacement. Dentures and dental implants are two of the most common options people choose when they want to replace multiple missing teeth, and the options for each patient will depend on multiple factors. When you meet with your dentist to discuss your options, you can ask about the factors that mean the most to you, which might include your budget, your desired treatment timeline, and the overall health of the oral cavity and bones, in addition to whatever other considerations you may have. Dentures and dental implants both come with positives and negatives, and as you weigh these pros and cons with your dentist, keep in mind that your desires matter, too. It’s likely that other dental restorations also exist, like dental bridges, and your dentist can review these options with you when you meet.

Overall, dentures and dental implants are used for the same outcome, which is to rehabilitate the mechanics and appearance of the dentition when a person is missing one or more of their natural teeth. Both types of dental restorations can help people improve their nutrition and enjoyment of food, and both help improve the smile and support the shape of the face, promoting self-confidence, ease, and overall health. While the overarching goals of dentures and dental implants are the same, the effects of each type of restoration will differ, and some of the benefits and drawbacks are related to the characteristics specific to each treatment. Dental implants are medically beneficial and produce lifelike results, but they can also be prohibitively expensive and time-consuming. Dentures are readily available and affordable, but they can be inconvenient and uncomfortable, or even painful.

Dental implants are one of the most popular choices for replacing teeth. A dental implant is a tiny pedestal made of titanium or other biocompatible material. This fixture is surgically implanted into the bone in the jaw, beneath the gums, where it fuses together with the bone as the bone tissue heals. The dental implant is inserted into the spot where the natural root of a tooth once lived, and it will be used to support a dental prosthetic. It’s imperative to wait until a dental implant has healed completely before placing this dental prosthetic, to allow the fusion of bone and implant to fully integrate, and patients are usually provided with a temporary dental restoration called a healing cap that will protect the implant sites as they heal. In a traditional dental implant treatment, a single dental implant post is used to support and secure a single artificial tooth. This dental crown that is affixed to the top of the dental implant once it has healed can be made of lifelike, luminous porcelain that matches the natural teeth and provides the same appearance and function as a healthy natural tooth.

In more recent years, however, dentists have had impressive success in using dental implants to support a greater number of teeth, reducing the likelihood of additional surgeries and helping keep the cost of implant treatment down. This has proven to be especially fortunate for patients who wear dentures. Dentures are artificial teeth that are removable and can be used to replace multiple teeth in a row. A denture that replaces only a few teeth is called a partial denture, and a denture that replaces an entire row of teeth is called a full denture. Dentures are custom-made, based on an impression of the patient’s teeth, gums, and bite; first, the dental lab will make a temporary denture that will be used for fitting and adjusted accordingly, and then, when the fit has been perfected, a final denture is crafted. Dentures are made of materials that look like natural teeth and gum tissue, and they are affixed in the mouth with denture adhesive. Many people complain about denture adhesive, which can be bitter and sticky and not work that well. When dentures aren’t fitted well, which can happen over time as the bone degrades in the absence of healthy teeth, they may rub and slip, causing uncomfortable sores on the gums and interfering with eating and speaking.

Dentures are more affordable than dental implants overall, though cost is determined by a few different factors. The average price of a dental implant ranged from about $1,500 to $2,500 for each tooth that will be replaced, while the average cost for a full denture for either the upper or lower row is about $1,500. Dental implants can be cared for the same way the natural teeth are cleaned, with twice-daily brushing and daily interdental cleaning, and regular dental visits are an important part of the maintenance of dental implants, just as they are with the natural teeth or with restorations like dentures. Basically, oral health is important no matter what type of teeth you have, and dental visits are an integral part of this. Dentures are cleaned outside of the mouth and therefore require specific maintenance routines, but it’s important to clean the inside of the oral cavity even when there are natural teeth present; the gums and bone support the dentures, after all, and their health is important, too.The pressure that dentures exert on the jaw can contribute to their gradual degradation, which occurs when there aren’t tooth roots or dental implants present to stimulate the bone, and this can lead to ill-fitting dentures that need to be adjusted or remade frequently.

To successfully receive dental implants, a patient should have good oral health and be in good health overall. When this is not the case, additional treatments will be required before implants can be considered. Dental implants can also be very expensive, and they require surgery and extended healing times. In some cases, it’s possible to combine the benefits of dental implants with the affordability of dentures, so make sure to review all your options with your dentist at your consultation appointment. There’s a very good chance there will be an impressive option for replacing missing teeth available to you.

Lifespan of a Dental Implant

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