A good oral health routine, starting at an early age, will help you to keep your teeth throughout your lifetime. This kind of care supports your overall health by preventing bacteria from infecting the rest of your body, too. Many serious, and even deadly, conditions can be the result of poor dental care.
Even with the most attentive dental care, though, many people lose teeth. It may be due to an accident, an injury, or simply the aging process. According to the CDC, nearly seven out of ten adults between 35 to 44 years are missing one tooth. And 25% of people over the age of 74 are missing all of their teeth. All of these people can be helped by the options that modern dentistry now provides to fill in those gaps or even replace an entire mouthful of teeth.
Two of those options are dental implants or dentures. If you are missing teeth, it’s best to fill in the gaps sooner rather than later for a number of reasons. Which is the best option for you? This article will provide the information you need to help if you are deciding between dental implants vs dentures.
What Are Implants?
Dental implants are false teeth but that are permanently attached to the bone of your jaw. The process is done over time, with the dentist first inserting a base screw into the bone. A healing period is next during which the bone and gums heal and become bound to the screw. Next, the dentist attaches a dental crown to the screw that matches the surrounding teeth so that they all blend naturally.
Implants can be one tooth or a number of teeth in sequence. When there is more than one tooth that needs to be replaced, implants are placed on the outer edges of the missing teeth. A dental bridge is then used to replace the teeth between the implants. The crowns are attached to each other in a row and this creates a bridge that fills in the entire gap of missing teeth.
Dental implants are permanent and are not removed once they are in place.
What Are Dentures?
Many people picture an entire set of teeth when they think of dentures. But dentures are attached to a plate or frame that can have any number of teeth attached, from a few teeth to an entire mouthful.
Much like a prosthetic limb, dentures are prosthetics for teeth. The fake teeth are mounted onto the frame or plate and then the user inserts the plate into the mouth. All gaps between the real teeth will then be filled in by the fake teeth so it appears you aren’t missing teeth at all.
Your dentist carefully measures your mouth and the gaps to be filled and then a custom-made set of dentures is created. This process takes some time from start to finish but once inserted for the first time, you will see a complete set of matching teeth when you smile. You remove dentures any time you want, whether that is to clean them or any other time your dentist recommends during a routine day.
The Differences Between Implants and Dentures
The main difference between the two, as discussed above, is that implants are permanent while dentures are not. Implants are exactly that: Implanted into the bone in your mouth and never removed. Dentures can be taken out any time you wish.
Another difference is the process of having each made and inserting them into your mouth. Dentures don’t involve any drilling or insertion of anything into the jaw. The dentist measures, makes a mold, and then has a custom device made for you. Once it arrives, you return to the dentist and you simply put it into your mouth. There may be a short period of time to adjust to talking and eating with your new teeth, but using dentures is a straightforward process.
Implants are much like minor surgery. Your dentist will make you comfortable with sedation or local anesthesia as the screws are inserted. When you leave their office, your eating will be limited as you heal, but your dentist will instruct you about self-care to keep you as comfortable as possible. This will include over-the-counter or prescription pain relief for a short time. The rewards when you finally have your new teeth will be well worth any discomfort!
What Are the Benefits of Each?
There are benefits to both dental implants and dentures. Many times, the choice comes down to a personal preference which is different from person to person based on comfort and cost, among other factors.
Implants today are extremely popular. Once they are inserted, there is no additional care for the implanted teeth. You simply care for them just like your natural teeth around them. While the average cost is higher than dentures, they can last a lifetime with proper care. Plus, the implants give support to the jawbone and can help prevent further tooth loss.
Alternatively, dentures may be considered to be more convenient by some patients. There isn’t any recuperation time to get ready for your new dentures. Plus, they can be removed at any time, which makes them easier to clean. Partial dentures and bridges are generally more affordable and dental insurance sometimes covers dentures, either completely or partially.
What Are the Drawbacks of Each?
As you make the choice between dental implants or dentures, you must consider the drawbacks of each, too. This is a decision with long-term repercussions and there are some things to think about.
Dental implants require enough strong bone for the insertion of the screws. If there isn’t enough, the procedure can still be done, it just may require some bone grafts first. This adds time and healing from start to finish of getting the implants. You will likely experience some pain throughout the process.
Also, dental implants are more expensive than dentures. However, the cost is all upfront because they will last much longer than dentures.
Dentures don’t involve pain, but there may be some discomfort at first. Talking and eating may seem odd to you initially, but you’ll adjust quickly. It is still a drawback that must be considered.
Also, there are different kinds of dentures. Some snap into place while others require an adhesive to keep them in place. Adhesives are bothersome to some people, plus there is the worry of the dentures falling out or slipping. This can be embarrassing.
Dentures must also be replaced on average every five to seven years. This is an additional cost to you. They stain and wear down just like your natural teeth and they will need to be adjusted because your mouth is always changing. If the dentures stop fitting tightly like they did at first, your gums can become irritated.
Now that you have the information you need, it’s time to make a decision!
TLC Dental Center Is Here to Help!
Millions of Americans experience missing teeth. The good news is that those teeth can be replaced with either dentures or implants. Both have pros and cons, so it’s important to have the information you need if you’re making this choice right now or need to in the future.
Our team here at TLC Dental Center in Cherry Hill is here to help you every step of the way! We do specialize in dental implants (as well as dental bridges) but will be glad to discuss dental implants vs dentures in detail so you make the best decision for you. It’s a choice with far-reaching repercussions for the rest of your life, so take your time and rely on us for expert advice.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment!