Dentures and dental implants are both used to replace missing teeth in the mouth. Factors that contribute to tooth loss include age, improper oral hygiene, and diets high in sugar. In the past, dentures used to be our only solution for the replacement of missing teeth.
However, with the advent of dental implants, we can restore the appearance and function of your natural teeth for longer with less maintenance and even prevent further bone loss. If you’re unsure if dentures or dental implants are a better option for you, this guide can help explain the pros and cons of each procedure.
Dentures are removable artificial teeth that are placed over your natural teeth. They are available as partial dentures, which cover small gaps in the teeth, or full dentures, which cover an entire set of teeth.
Partial Dentures: In partial dentures, metal clips are attached to your natural teeth, which hold the dentures in place. False teeth are attached to a plastic base, connected to a metal framework. These are used to replace a few missing teeth and are therefore cheaper than full dentures, which cover an entire set of teeth.
Full Dentures: A full set of dentures are opted for when a patient is missing almost all of their teeth. They will need to have their remaining natural teeth extracted to ensure a proper fit and are more expensive than partial dentures.
Full dentures consist of artificial teeth which are attached to an acrylic, gum-colored base. An entire arch or both arches of teeth can be replaced with dentures. Full dentures are reserved for people who suffer from severe teeth loss or oral disease because their remaining healthy teeth need to be extracted.
Dental implants are made of titanium materials and are implanted into the jawbone. A post will then be used to connect the implant to the artificial crown. This process is broken into several appointments over months, while osseointegration takes place.
Osseointegration is the process of the jaw bone growing around the dental implant, causing the implant to fuse with the jawbone. This process can take 3-6 months and must be fully complete before the permanent artificial crown can be attached.
Dental implants allow you to use the artificial tooth just like your real teeth and strengthen your jawbone because the jawbone is being stimulated when you chew.
Dentures and dental implants achieve the same objective - to replace missing teeth with artificial teeth and blend in with your natural teeth. However, there are quite a few differences between the two as far as convenience, length of the process, and cost go. These are the biggest differences between dentures and dental implants:
Duration of Treatment - The process of getting dentures takes a few weeks to a few months at the most. The most involved part of the procedure is simply taking impressions of your natural teeth to create a mold that matches your natural teeth as closely as possible. It may need to be adjusted a few times.
This is a much faster process than dental implants, which can take up to 10 months to fully complete. This is because of the osseointegration process that takes 3-6 months in between dental implant procedures.
Cost - Dental implants are much more costly upfront as compared to dentures, costing a few thousand dollars. However, they are much more durable, comfortable, require less maintenance, and last longer. Dentures are cheaper but will need to be replaced more often and require more extensive maintenance.
Lifespan - Dentures are considered a much more long-term solution in comparison to dentures. Because the titanium rod is implanted into the jaw, it acts like a natural tooth. They can last from 25 years to a lifetime. Dentures, despite what materials they are made of, will only last for 7-10 years.
Appearance & Feel - While both dentures and implants are effective at mimicking the appearance of natural teeth, they certainly don’t feel the same. Dentures are notoriously uncomfortable, causing the wearers to produce excessive saliva, experience irritation, and fall out more easily. Denture wearers are often restricted in the foods and drinks they can consume.
Dental implants are much more secure and allow for more freedom in what the patient can eat and drink. Unlike dentures, dental implants aren't subject to shifting or moving at all, even when you're eating or talking.
Maintenance - Dental implants require less maintenance because they can be treated like real teeth. It is only required that you regularly brush and floss as you normally would. Dentures are more prone to damage and need to be thoroughly cleaned.
You will need to regularly brush and soak your dentures in addition to cleaning your natural teeth. They also require meticulous care to avoid damage and food particle buildup.
Effects on jaw bone - Because dentures do not stimulate the jawbone, they result in further bone deterioration. Dental implants cause the jaw bone to fuse with the implant and stimulate the jaw bone, which prevents further bone loss.
Dentures and dental implants are life savers when it comes to covering up gaps where teeth used to be. However, both procedures come with advantages and disadvantages. Dentures are cheaper upfront and take much less time to complete, but they also require much more maintenance, have a shorter lifespan, and cause their wearers a great deal of discomfort and limitation.
Dental implants, while a more costly and lengthy procedure, are a great investment for long-term support of your teeth and bone health. They require minimal maintenance, can last a lifetime with proper care, and function just like your natural teeth.
We understand the urgency of covering up dental imperfections. If you would like to find out if dentures or dental implants are suitable for you, contact us at Priti Naik, DDS today and schedule an appointment with Dr. Priti Naik to get started.