Dentures Versus Dental Implants
December 29th, 2020
As mentioned in another blog there is no one size fits all solution when it comes to replacing missing teeth. And, if you have lost considerable bone density in your jaw, implants may not even be an option. For the sake of this blog let’s assume you are a candidate for dental implants or dentures. How do they compare? Is one better than the other?
Dentures are more affordable in the short term. But studies show that dental implants are more affordable in the long run. That is, the upfront cost is higher for implants but, they last longer making them a more affordable option in the long term.
As stated above, dental implants last longer than dentures. Dentures will usually need relining, rebasing or possibly replacing every 3-10 years depending on the wearer. Dental implants however, can last 15 – 20 or more years before needing to be replaced. This longevity for dental implants is, however, dependent on your oral care. If, for instance, you fail to brush and floss regularly chances are your implants will have a much shorter life span. Likewise, practices which lead to bone loss, such as smoking for example, can cause implants to loosen resulting in a need for surgery to correct this problem.
Dentures can be made to look like much like your own teeth. They will however be noticeable a if they become loose or cause discomfort.
Implants look even closer to your natural teeth and they do more to supports your cheeks and lips than dentures can.
Implants feel and function like your natural teeth. Dentures, on the other hand, can feel large and bulky meaning it will take some time to get used to them.
Dentures may move, slip around, or click while eating or speaking. Implants cannot move and as they are held rigidly in place by the jawbone.
Dentures may interfere with speech whereas speech issues with implants are non-existent.
With dentures some foods are not recommended. For example, certain hard or sticky foods. Additionally, dentures tend to trap food which can increase the risk of gum disease and decay of remaining natural teeth.
There are not any food restrictions with dental implants. There is also the bonus of food tasting better if implants are used to replace upper dentures. This is because your upper palate, which contains thousands of tastebuds will be uncovered.
Surgery is not needed if dentures are the chosen option. Instead, several impressions will be made of the mouth area where the denture will be placed. When the denture is made, a few fittings will occur so adjustments to the dentures can be made if necessary.
In the case of dental implants, a patient will usually have a special scan of the mouth. This scan is called a cone beam computerized topography scan or CBCT for short. It produces a three- dimensional image of teeth, soft tissues, nerve pathways and bone in one scan.
A dentist, oral surgeon, radiologist or all three in conference with each other will read the scan to determine where the dental implants should be placed.
A denture can be ready in 6 – 8 weeks. For dental implants, however, the wait is longer. Usually 1 – 2 surgical procedures are necessary for dental implants. Add in the healing time between surgeries and it can be 4 – 6 months before the tooth or teeth are affixed to the implanted posts.
Dentures need to be removed and cleaned thoroughly every day. On the other hand, implants are treated like your natural teeth and can be maintained by simply brushing and flossing.
Dentures can be quite fragile and are likely to break if dropped and as mentioned above will need replacing relatively frequently. Dental implants however, if properly cared for will last for many years or even for life.
Surrounding Teeth and Long-Term Oral Health
Partial dentures can weaken the natural teeth surrounding them. If this happens it may be necessary to re-shape the natural teeth to accommodate the denture’s clasps.
With a full plate, dentures can, in fact accelerate bone loss if it places too much pressure on the bums or underlying bone.
Implants on the other hand, help to preserve bone and prevent gum tissue from shrinking by stimulating them with the forces produced by chewing.
Dentures are usually covered fully or partially by most dental insurance plans. But as dental implants are considered a cosmetic procedure most insurance plans do not cover the cost. Having said that, it is advisable to check what coverage, if any your insurance provider include for implants.
A third option
And if all that wasn’t enough to consider there is a third option! It is a combination of both dentures and implants and is known as the All-on-4 technique. In this technique a complete upper or lower denture can be supported and secured using 4 implants for each. This option is available for those who dislike removable dentures due to their slipping or shifting, their maintenance and/or accompanying food restrictions and who are looking for a more affordable option than a full set of implants.
There is a lot to consider when deciding whether to go the dentures or implants route. The only question remaining now is, which will you choose?