Dental Implants vs. Dentures

There are many different oral health problems that people can face due to circumstance or develop with age, and while most people are familiar with cavities and gingivitis, there are plenty of other issues that an oral health professional may have to address. One of these issues is missing teeth.

The debate between two tooth-loss solutions, dental implants and dentures, is growing as technology advances in the dental care industry. On the surface, both are used to correct issues created by one or more missing teeth; however, they also have their pros and cons that everyone should understand before making a decision.

An Overview of Dental Implants

Dental implants are often used to help people correct issues caused by missing teeth. In some cases, someone could be born missing one or more teeth. In other cases, someone could lose one or more teeth due to a traumatic accident or tooth decay. There are many benefits that people can enjoy with a dental implant.

A dental implant is placed into the jaw bone without causing damage to the surrounding teeth, so when someone gets a dental implant, it feels and functions like your natural teeth. Since dental implants are fixed, comfortably in the mouth, they cannot fall out and if cared for properly, they can last a lifetime. Similarly, the dental implant crown can last up to 15-20 years if properly cared for.

The decision to place a dental implant can also help someone restore their normal chewing ability, while other tooth-replacement options may lower this ability. Dental implants need to be taken care of just like a typical tooth

                See related: Dental Implant Q & A with Dr. Taj

The Pros of Dental Implants

  • Natural looking
  • Stops bone loss
  • Fixed (non-removable)
  • Comfortable
  • Doesn’t damage healthy, adjacent teeth
  • Becomes the strongest tooth in your mouth
  • Not susceptible to further decay or gum disease
  • Most secure and stable option

The Cons of Dental Implants

  • Higher Fee
  • May take longer to complete
  • Expensive if you have many missing teeth

The Procedure

When someone gets a dental implant placed, it is normal for people to be concerned about the procedure. It is important for everyone to know that dental implants are a common procedure and oral health professionals, including the doctors at Modern Family Dental Care, are trained extensively on how to place these. In fact, Dr. Taj has trained with top doctors from around the world, is a Diplomate of the International Dental Implant Association and a top implant provider in the U.S.

The first step is making sure that someone has the jaw strength and surface area necessary to hold a dental implant. It is vital for the jaw to be as strong as possible so that the implant grafts well to the jaw. After this, there must be a gap large enough to handle a tooth implant. In some cases, people could require braces to move the teeth around so that there is room for the implant itself. After this, the porcelain cap must be made to match the surrounding teeth. There are lots of different shades and everyone must make sure that they find the right shade to match their teeth. In some cases, people could have a whitening procedure performed to help improve the look of their smile.

Once this is done, the individual will come in for the procedure day. A local anesthetic is used to numb the area. Then, an incision is made in the gums to reveal the jaw. After this, a drill is used to place the titanium screw in the jaw. Once this is done, the healing cap is placed on top of the screw. Then, gum tissue grafted over the implant site. It will take some time for the gum tissue to heal and for the implant to take root; however, after this, your dentist can place the porcelain crown and most people are able to eat and drink with the implant as they would with a regular, native tooth.

 See related: What to Expect in Your Upcoming Dental Implant Surgery

An Overview of Dentures

In contrast to dental implants, dentures do not require a surgical procedure. They do not require local anesthesia or an implant to be screwed into the jaw bone. Therefore, dentures are an appropriate choice for many people, particularly if they are missing lots of teeth, making the possibility of receiving multiple implants not feasible.

Dentures can be helpful because they help people restore the architecture of the smile, restoring their self-confidence, and can also help people chew again – although at a lower chewing capacity. On the other hand, dentures do require special care. Some people might feel like dentures are a bit unnatural. They can slide around and cause some discomfort for the individual wearing them. Furthermore, some people could require an adhesive to keep the dentures in place, which could be irritating.

There are multiple types of dentures to consider, such as partial dentures, implant-anchored dentures and overdentures, so make sure to analyze the pros and cons of each option.

Partial Dentures

A removable partial denture is a cosmetic tooth replacement option for people missing one or multiple teeth. The design and functionality is like traditional dentures, but they are designed to only replace some (not all) of your teeth. Since the mouth piece is removable, it can cause irritation and discomfort for some users who are prone to slippage. Additionally, removable partial dentures can lead to bone loss and potentially more tooth loss. The clasps that grab on to your teeth to hold the dentures in place can harm your healthy teeth doing more harm than good.

The Pros of Partial Dentures

  • Most economical

The Cons of Partial Dentures

  • Uncomfortable
  • Can irritate gum
  • Moves and shifts when eating
  • Food gets trap causing bad breath
  • Clasps wear down adjacent teeth leading to more tooth loss
  • Needs to be taken out at night
  • Life Span is 5 -10 years
  • Bone loss continues
  • Diminished function
  • Removable

Implant-Anchored Overdentures

Implant-anchored partial dentures are a good choice for adults who are missing more than one tooth, but still want to recapture the strength and look of their previous teeth. While the implants sit in the jaw, these snap-in dentures are removable and should be taken out every night.

The Pros of Implant-Anchored Overdentures

  • Stops bone loss
  • Increased function & comfort
  • Decreased gum irritation
  • Increased stability
  • No visible clasps
  • Existing partial denture can be used

The Cons of Implant-Anchored Overdentures

  • Removable

Removable Dentures

Partial dentures are a tooth-replacement option for patients who are missing all their teeth. These dentures sit on top of your gums and can lead to progressive bone loss. Not only is this option uncomfortable due to slippage and poor tasting adhesives, it can also affect your speech, cause pain when biting, and restrict your everyday pleasure of eating.

The Pros of Removable Dentures

  • Economical

The Cons of Removable Dentures

  • Uncomfortable
  • Can irritate gum
  • Moves and shifts when eating
  • Food gets trap causing bad breath
  • Clasps wear down adjacent teeth leading to more tooth loss
  • Needs to be taken out at night
  • Life Span is 5 -10 years
  • Bone loss continues
  • Diminished function
  • Removable

It is important to speak with an experienced oral health professional about dentures because they can make a significant difference in someone’s quality of life.

Our Recap and Recommendation

Ultimately, both dental implants and dentures have their pros and cons. It is important for everyone to think about both dental implants and dentures before deciding which treatment to choose. Depending on your unique situation, you may or may not be a qualified candidate for one tooth-replacement treatment over another.  Making this decision can be challenging and it is a good idea to sit down and meet with an experienced oral health professional before making a decision.

When considering the consequences and benefits of dental implants compared to dentures, our team unanimously agrees that dental implants are the obvious choice for most patients. Our goal is to give our patients a beautiful, healthy smile. To do that, we want to recapture the look and functionality of their missing teeth, so they can move forward, without restriction, in their everyday lives.

                See related: Smile! How Dental Implants Can Change Your Life for the Better

There are lots of issues to talk about and the friendly professionals at Modern Family Dental are happy to help. Contact us to speak with a friendly representative today!

Written by Dr. Taj

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