Are you looking to replace missing teeth and weighing up the options of dental implants vs permanent dentures? If so, you’ve come to the right place.
When it comes to replacing multiple missing teeth, two of the most common options are dental implants and dentures. Which you choose ultimately depends on several factors including the health of your jawbone and any remaining teeth, preference and price.
While dental implants and dentures serve the same purpose in supporting your facial muscles, restoring your ability to bite and chew, and giving you back your confidence, they are two very different treatments with advantages and disadvantages that you need to consider before reaching a decision. This article discusses dental implants vs permanent dentures and their main points of difference. Let’s get started.
A dental implant comprises a titanium screw securely inserted into the jawbone, with a replacement tooth, or crown, placed atop it.
Dentures, on the other hand, are removable plastic or metal frameworks that support multiple false teeth. The type of dentures required—complete or partial – is determined by the number of missing teeth. Additionally, there is the option of an overdenture which is attached to two or four dental implants.
A denture consists of a gum-colored base or plate molded to fit over your gums, typically made of plastic and sometimes metal. The base supports a set of teeth designed to resemble natural ones.
Adapting to dentures can take some time. Practicing chewing and speaking aloud is essential to help you adjust after receiving your dentures. Over a few months, they will start to feel more natural.
In contrast, an implant, fixed into your jawbone, mimics the feel of a real tooth without affecting your speech. Once the implant has healed, you can eat normally, just as you would with natural teeth. The implant remains strong and secure over time, preventing bone loss that could impact your facial shape as you age.
Implant treatment generally comprises two surgical procedures performed under local anesthesia at your local dental practice – one to place the implant post and the other to connect the abutment. Once the bone has successfully fused with the implant, the crown can then be affixed on top. The process can take up to six months or longer from start to finish.
In cases where there is insufficient bone to support the implant, your dentist may advise a preparatory treatment, such as a bone graft or sinus lift. In most cases, this will extend the overall duration of your treatment. Further details about the implant procedure can be found here.
Getting dentures fitted is typically a faster process compared to implants. The dentist will create an impression of your mouth to ensure a snug fit over the gums. Subsequently, a dental technician will craft a customized set of dentures to ensure comfort and a natural appearance.
While the process of fitting dentures is generally less complex than that of implants, your dentist might need to extract some teeth before beginning treatment. This is particularly common if you're getting a full set of dentures, and there are still a few remaining natural teeth that cannot be preserved.
Typically, dentures require replacement every five to eight years due to changes in the bone structure of your face, leading to potential loosening. This change may affect the functionality and comfort of the dentures. Proper care can extend the lifespan of your dentures.
In contrast, implants can last as long as natural, healthy teeth with proper care. Regular follow-up appointments with your dentist are essential to ensure the ongoing stability and well-being of your implant.
Dentures shouldn’t cause pain if properly maintained, but initial discomfort may occur as you adjust to them. This discomfort usually diminishes within a month or two, and your dentist will guide you on managing any temporary irritation. Keeping dentures clean is crucial to avoid developing sore spots around your mouth due to trapped food.
Implants can be cared for similarly to natural teeth, involving thorough brushing and daily flossing. Regular visits to your dentist and hygienist are necessary to maintain the cleanliness and health of your implants.
Although dentures are generally suitable for most individuals, dental implants may not be recommended if you smoke, have undergone jaw-area radiotherapy, or have poorly controlled diabetes.
If you have gum disease, your dentist will address the condition before fitting dentures or implants. It's important to note that each case is unique, so it's best to consult with your dentist for personalized advice. They will conduct a comprehensive clinical assessment, discuss your options in detail, and help you determine the most suitable solution for your needs.
Due to the complexity of dental implant treatment, it’s generally a more costly option compared to dentures. Implants are crafted from high-quality materials, with the implant itself typically made from titanium, and the crown from ceramic or porcelain. In contrast, dentures are commonly constructed from acrylic.
While dentures tend to be a more budget-friendly alternative than dental implants, replacement every five to eight years is likely. Partial dentures can be produced using metal, which is both stronger and lighter than acrylic dentures, albeit at a higher cost.
The total cost of a dental implant ranges between $3,000 and $4,500 per tooth and between $60,000 and $90,000 for an entire mouthful of implants whereas a mid-priced denture costs between $1000 and $3,000.
The decision between dental implants vs permanent dentures should be made thoughtfully, with guidance from your dentist. Despite the higher cost of implants, they offer the potential for 20 or more years of service, whereas dentures may require occasional adjustments or replacements over time. By thoroughly exploring all your options for replacing missing teeth, considering your priorities, and determining the desired outcomes of the prosthetics, you can confidently arrive at a well-informed decision.
Why not schedule a free consultation with the experienced team at Chesterfield Dentistry to assess your suitability for implants and discuss other tooth replacement solutions?