Regarding dental restorative treatments, the choices often boil down to two popular and effective options: implants and dentures. These dental solutions offer a way to replace missing teeth, improving aesthetics and function across multiple teeth.
This article aims to dissect the intricacies of implants and dentures, providing an authoritative guide to help you decide what is right.
What to consider when choosing dental implants vs. dentures?
When deciding between dental implants and dentures, one must consider many factors ranging from cost, durability, comfort, appearance, and the impact on oral health. Each treatment option carries its own advantages and disadvantages that can greatly influence an individual's choice.
What are dentures?
Dentures, or false prosthetic teeth, are devices for replacing missing teeth. They are often fabricated from acrylic, metal, or both. Traditional dentures are removable, allowing for easy cleaning and adjustment.
Dentures have been a popular solution across the globe for those who have lost teeth due to gum disease, tooth decay, or injury. They offer patients functional and aesthetic benefits, enhancing their overall quality of life. However, as with any solution, they also have their drawbacks. Let's delve into the pros and cons of using dentures.
Pros of dentures
- Non-invasive: Unlike dental implants, dentures do not require surgery, making them best for those unsuitable for surgical procedures due to health conditions or personal preferences.
- Affordability: Dentures are typically more affordable than implants, making them the go-to option for many with budget constraints.
- Improve aesthetics: Dentures can improve the appearance of the mouth by filling in one or even all the teeth, which in turn can enhance the facial structure and boost self-esteem.
- Quick solution: Production and fitting of dentures can be done relatively quickly and in fewer visits compared to the lengthy process of implants.
Cons of dentures
- Discomfort: Dentures can cause discomfort, especially during the initial adjustment period. Some people may also experience soreness or irritation of gum tissue over time.
- Less stability: Dentures do not provide the same stability as implants. Denture adhesive may slip or move when eating or speaking, which can be inconvenient and embarrassing.
- Regular cleaning: Just like natural teeth, dentures require regular cleaning to maintain oral hygiene and prevent bad breath. Furthermore, they need to be removed and cleaned every night.
- Periodic replacement: Dentures typically need replacement every 5-7 years, which can add to the overall cost and inconvenience over time.
Prospective patients must discuss these factors with their dental practitioner to make an informed decision.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are a popular and effective long-term solution for people suffering from missing teeth, failing teeth, or chronic dental problems. They are prosthetic tooth roots, similar in shape to screws, that, when placed in your jawbone, bond with your jaw and natural bone to provide a sturdy base for supporting one or more artificial teeth, called crowns.
Implants often stand out as a highly effective option for many as they offer several benefits that greatly enhance one's quality of life. However, just like any other medical procedure, they also have disadvantages.
Pros of dental implants
- Natural appearance and comfort: Dental implants mimic the look and feel of natural teeth, making them an appealing choice for those seeking a realistic appearance. They fit comfortably in the mouth without causing any discomfort or feeling out of place.
- Longevity: Dental implants offer a more long-term solution than other tooth replacement options. If properly cared for, they can last for decades, making them a worthwhile investment.
- Improved oral health: Dental implants don't require reducing other teeth, as a tooth-supported bridge does. Because nearby teeth aren't altered to support the implant, more of your own teeth are left intact, improving long-term oral health.
Cons of dental implants
Despite their numerous advantages, dental implants do have a few drawbacks that potential candidates should consider:
- Surgical procedure: Receiving dental implants requires a surgical procedure. As with any surgery, this comes with inherent risks, such as infection, nerve damage, or sinus problems.
- Cost: Dental implants can be a significant drawback for many individuals. They are often more expensive than other tooth replacement options; not all insurance plans cover them.
- Time-consuming: Getting dental implants can be lengthy, often spanning several months. This includes time for healing between the implant placement and the crown's attachment.
The cost of dental implants vs. dentures
There are several factors to consider when considering the cost of dental implants vs. dentures. It is essential to understand that these two dental treatments come with different price structures, with dental implants generally being more expensive upfront, but potentially offering savings in the long run.
The average cost of a single dental implant can range from $3,500 to $6,700. This pricing includes the implant, the abutment (the screw that attaches the implant to the crown), and the crown itself.
On the other hand, the price range for dentures is usually lower. A full set of dentures can cost between $600 and $3,000, depending on the quality and type of dentures one chooses. This wide range is due to the varying materials used and the extent of customization required for each patient.
Additional factors to consider when choosing dental implants vs. dentures
Understanding the factors differentiating dental implants and dentures can determine the right dental treatment while considering the impact on your dental health, aesthetic appeal, long-term outcomes, maintenance needs, and cost-effectiveness.
- Dental health: Dentures can sometimes lead to bone loss over time as they only replace the visible part of your teeth, unlike implants that replace both the root and the tooth. This difference can have a significant impact on your overall dental health.
- Aesthetics: Both implants and dentures can improve the appearance of your smile. However, dental implants look and feel much more like natural teeth. They are designed to fuse with your bone, providing a stable and permanent solution that doesn't slip or make noise like dentures can.
- Long-term outcomes: Dental implants generally have a higher success rate in the long run. They are designed to last a lifetime, while dentures may need to be replaced every 5-10 years. Therefore, implants can be a more cost-effective solution in the long run.
- Maintenance requirements: Dentures require daily removal and cleaning, which can be inconvenient for some. Dental implants are maintained like natural teeth, through regular brushing and flossing, offering an easier and more convenient maintenance routine.
- Cost: Dental implants may initially seem more expensive than dentures. However, their durability and low maintenance requirements can make them a worthwhile investment. Dentures, while cheaper upfront, may incur additional costs for replacements and maintenance.
Just so you know, the choice between dentures and implants is a highly personal decision. It depends on individual circumstances, including health status, lifestyle, and financial capacity. It is always best for you to consult with a dental professional before deciding.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the success rate for implants vs. dentures?
In consideration of long-term success, dental implants typically have a higher success rate than dentures. Implants boast a success rate above 95%, while the success of dentures can vary greatly depending on the individual's oral health, the fit of surrounding teeth to the dentures, and their maintenance routine.
What are the alternatives to dental implants and dentures?
Several other alternatives can also offer functional and aesthetic benefits, including:
- Dental bridge: A dental bridge, bridges the gap created by one or more missing teeth. It's a fixed prosthetic cemented to the natural teeth or implants surrounding the empty space.
- A partial denture: A plate or frame holding one or more artificial teeth, designed to fill in the gaps left by missing or extracted teeth. Partial dentures are often removable and less invasive than dental implants.
- A resin-bonded bridge: Or resin-retained bridge, is a fixed dental prosthesis for replacing a single missing tooth.
- Flipper: A flipper is a temporary partial denture you can flip in or out with your tongue. It's generally a temporary solution before getting a dental implant or fixed bridge.
Why do people choose dentures over implants?
People often choose dentures over implants primarily because they are a less invasive and more affordable option. Additionally, getting dentures is quicker, allowing individuals to restore their smile without the lengthy recovery time associated with dental implants.
Are implants better than permanent dentures?
There's no straightforward answer to this question, as the choice between implants and permanent dentures hinges upon several personal factors, such as an individual's oral health status, comfort preferences, budget, and lifestyle needs.
Is it easier to eat with dentures or implants?
For many, eating with dental implants can be a more comfortable and natural experience than dentures. Implants mimic the function of natural teeth, providing a strong bite and reducing the chances of discomfort or movement while eating.
In conclusion, choosing between dental implants and dentures largely depends on an individual's unique circumstances, including oral health, lifestyle, and budget.
The best recommendation is to consult a dental professional to discuss your options and decide on the most suitable treatment plan. At Main Street Dental, we are here to answer all your questions and help determine the right option.
Contact us today and schedule a consultation!