Dental Implants vs. Dentures: Which Is Best for You?
by Dr Richard Barry
When it comes to your smile, your dental health plays a crucial role. One or more problems or missing teeth can cause you to hide that smile as well as cause other issues in your day-to-day life. It may be time, then, to consider your options, and two of these are dental implants and dentures.
Knowing how these two options differ and how you can benefit from either one is essential to making the best decision for you personally. This is where your trusted dentist here at Lifetime Dental Health can help explain the differences and help you find the right solution. To get started, though, here is what you need to know.
What are the Main Differences Between Dental Implants and Dentures?
Knowing the differences between dental implants and dentures will help give you further insight into which will work better with your lifestyle and particular needs. Each has its advantages but also some disadvantages. Weigh each of these pros and cons with your dentist, and choose the one that benefits you the most.
Dental implants are permanent, long-lasting replacements for missing teeth and require regular maintenance similar to your natural teeth. They are also strong, providing you with confidence when eating the foods you love.
The procedure for dental implants is highly involved, however, and will take some time to complete. Your dentist will start by creating a synthetic anchor in your jawbone to act as the root of a natural tooth. From there, a crown-type tooth or bridge is attached, with the final result looking and feeling much like a natural tooth.
Dentures are removable teeth replacements, usually made from either porcelain or acrylic resin. They can be complete or partial replacements, depending on your particular needs. Made to resemble your natural teeth and gums, you will have to add an adhesive to hold them in place.
The procedure for dentures also takes time. First, your dentist takes impressions of your lower or upper gums, or both if needed. Next, your overall bite and alignment will be analyzed to help in correcting the denture length to allow you to eat normally and also not interfere with speech. The dental lab will then create a preliminary denture for you to try and for your dentist to observe for alignment or length adjustments. From there, your final dentures will be crafted and provided.
Once you receive the final dentures, your dentist will go over how to use an adhesive and how to care for them. Occasionally, you may need to be fitted for new dentures as your bite changes throughout your life. Common complaints about dentures include sores on the gums and the dentures slipping and not staying in place.
If you’re not sure if either of these options is for you, discuss with your dentist the newer possibility of hybrid versions known as implant-supported overdentures.
What Factors Do I Need to Know When Choosing Between Implants and Dentures?
Choosing between dental implants and dentures involves the consideration of several factors, such as bone structure and density, number of missing teeth, age, and lifestyle.
Bone Structure and Density
Your bone structure and density are factors that may eliminate one choice over the other for you, depending on your particular circumstances. To be a candidate for dental implants, your jawbone must be able to support the necessary posts. Unfortunately, bone loss often occurs due to age, injury, gum disease, or the very tooth loss you are attempting to correct.
In addition, the structure of your jaw may shift eventually. This happens when the nearby teeth try to compensate for the missing tooth and try to shift over to fill the open space. This leads to instability in your mouth structure and can lead to more tooth loss or decay.
Your dentist will evaluate you for all of this and determine if implants are even an option for you. In many instances, you can choose a bone grafting procedure to bolster the density of the jawbone. However, this will involve several visits, higher costs, and be a more invasive type of surgery.
Once chosen, dental implants or dentures can help maintain and preserve your bone structure going forward.
Number of Missing or Damaged Teeth
Much will depend on the number of missing teeth and the overall health of the surrounding ones. Cost can be a significant factor here as well. If you need more than one tooth, the expenses will naturally be higher. At a certain point, a partial or full denture may be a better option for you financially than a set of dental implants.
Dental implants require a more invasive, time-consuming process. Such a process takes considerable time to heal, and as you grow older, this may take even longer. Older adults often find that dentures are a more acceptable and beneficial choice. Younger adults, considering a lifetime of needing their teeth to eat, smile, and talk, often lean more towards dental implants.
When choosing between dental implants and dentures, it is essential that you consider your lifestyle. Practicing good oral hygiene is necessary to maintain your teeth, and either of these can add to that. Dental implants require similar brushing and flossing as your natural teeth. Dentures, on the other hand, require continuous special care and cleaning.
Ask yourself how ready you are to take on this extra task and keep your dentures in good shape. The use of adhesive is necessary, especially if you enjoy such activities as swimming or playing football with friends. Be honest when it comes to what you are willing to do as far as oral hygiene is concerned.
Why Should I Replace Missing Teeth?
Whether to replace your missing teeth or not is an individual decision. Every circumstance is different, and your decisions are your own. Consider the following reasons and benefits to replacing one or more missing teeth.
To protect and maintain bone structure and the jaw
Support for your facial muscles
Maintain or improve your speech
Increase your ability to eat normally and chew foods better
Boost confidence in your smile
Avoid the additional risk of bacteria and food sticking in areas of missing teeth, potentially leading to infections and gum disease
Replacing missing or damaged teeth is an important decision, so discuss your options with your dentist, so you’ll be ready to take this next step.
Schedule an Appointment with Lifetime Dental Health Today
If you’ve experienced tooth loss, you’re not alone. Many people experience this type of loss, either as young adults or as they grow older. You can trust the compassionate staff with Lifetime Dental Health here in Columbus, Ohio to help. We provide thorough information to help you make your choice and stay with you throughout the entire process and beyond. Call us today at 614-321-1887 to get started.