Both dentures and dental implants can replace missing teeth to improve your smile. But which one is right for you?
Are you reluctant to smile for fear of exposing missing teeth? Living with missing or damaged teeth is not just a cosmetic concern. Not having all your teeth in place can make it difficult to chew your food and even speak. But you can improve your dental health and your quality of life with two effective solutions — dental implants and dentures.
Which one you choose depends on your overall oral health and budget. Your dentist will discuss your options in detail after a thorough examination to help you make this important decision. For now, here’s a basic rundown of the pros and cons of dental implants and dentures.
How Dental Implants & Dentures are Made
Dental implants and dentures have the same purpose, which is to replace missing teeth for a better smile and greater comfort. However, they’re different in how they’re made and fitted into your mouth.
Dental implants involve the dentist extracting the damaged tooth. If the tooth is already missing, the root is then extracted. A hole is drilled in the jawbone and a prosthetic post is placed in the jawbone where the root was. The post is only temporary because bone needs to grow around the post before the permanent abutment is secured into the jaw. This process could take months. With the abutment in place, a crown or artificial tooth attaches to it.
Dentures can replace all or some missing teeth, too. If only a few teeth need replacement, you’ll need a partial denture. The process begins with an impression of your upper and lower jaw. Your dentist will also take into consideration your bite and jaw alignment to determine whether the dentures will fit securely so you can chew and speak properly.
A lab will construct a preliminary set of dentures for you to place in your mouth to see how the appliance feels. If the dentures don’t fit well, your dentist will make adjustments before you receive the permanent dentures.
Dental Implants vs. Dentures: The Pros and Cons
Your choice hinges on a number of personal factors and the advice of your dentist. Both solutions come with pros and cons you must weigh before you decide on an option.
Dental Implants: The Pros
- Dental implants function and look more like natural teeth. They also feel more secure in your mouth.
- Dental implants can last for decades without the need for replacements, making them a more permanent solution.
- Dental implants require no special maintenance. You clean the implants as you would your natural teeth.
- Dental implants can be costly. According to the American Dental Association, (ADA) a set of dental implants can cost between $1,600 to $2,200 per tooth.
- Dental implants may not be suitable for people lacking enough bone material in the jaw due to bone loss or gum disease. Your dentist can do a bone graft but that will add to the overall expense.
Dentures: The Pros
- Dentures can be fitted to everyone, even those with bone loss in the jaw or gum disease.
- Dentures made today are more natural looking than those of the past, so people won’t know you’re wearing dentures.
- Dentures have a shorter timeline to construct, enabling you to improve your smile sooner.
- Dentures are cheaper, capping out at around $1,600, the ADA estimates.
- Dentures may not last as long as implants. If your jaw changes you may require a replacement set in a few years.
- Dentures require more maintenance and expense, such as adhesives to ensure that they stick to gums through daily cleanings.
- Dentures can be less secure than implants. Your dentures may slip out of place when speaking or eating, causing discomfort and potential embarrassment.
Dentures and dental implants are safe, proven solutions for tooth loss. However, complications may follow both options. Although rare, infections or a cracked post/crown may occur after implants are inserted. If not fitted properly, dentures can irritate gums and lead to sores.
To prevent tooth loss and the need for dentures or implants, keep the teeth you have healthy with twice-a-day brushing, daily flossing, and regular dentist visits to catch any dental issues before they lead to a need for dentures and dental implants. The best teeth are the ones you were born with and already have!
Keep Your Teeth Healthy
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