As we age, the wear and tear of everyday life can take a toll on our teeth and cause tooth loss. For a long time, dentures seemed like the only option for those with missing teeth, but implants have seen a recent spike in popularity.
At Valley Ridge Dental Centre, we provide both implants and dentures that restore confidence! As experts, we know how important it is to learn both the benefits and setbacks of each option before making your choice at the dentist.
Here’s everything you need to know about the difference between implants and dentures.
Dentures are removable false teeth that replace areas with missing teeth. There are two main types of dentures: partial and full.
Full dentures are placed over the gums and used when all teeth are missing. Partials use metal clasps or precision attachments to connect to your remaining natural teeth.
Dentures have been a reliable and proven method to restore the look and function of teeth for generations.
- Dentures have come a long way since their invention. Modern dentists can match your gum colour and help you select a tooth colour that looks natural.
- Unlike implants, dentures do not require any surgery. Impressions are taken of your mouth. However, sometimes you need to have teeth extracted before getting your dentures. Missing teeth can make your face appear to be collapsing inward, but dentures support your cheeks and lips and restore some facial structure. Also, partial dentures are easy to adjust in case you lose more teeth.
- One of the main appeals of dentures over implants is the cost. Getting implants for multiple missing teeth adds up fast. Dentures are usually the best option if you only have a few teeth remaining. Also, insurance policies typically cover dentures. They don’t usually cover implants because they are considered a cosmetic procedure.
Alongside these many benefits, however, are some drawbacks.
- Dentures take a long time to get used to. At first, you may find it hard to eat and talk like you normally would. Also, because dentures are removable, they are prone to shifting around or falling out. This can be both uncomfortable and embarrassing to the wearer.
- Certain dietary restrictions such as avoiding hard and chewy foods can make it less likely for dentures to fall out, but these limitations are inconvenient and can prevent you from receiving a balanced diet. Even when following limitations, food can get stuck under the denture. It takes around 30 days to grow accustomed to eating with dentures on.
- One way to keep dentures in is by using specially made adhesives, but some people find these products to have an unpleasant taste and texture.
- Another flaw of dentures is maintenance. They must be removed and cleaned nightly. Also, they are not permanent. With proper care, they last an average of six years before needing replacement. People with dentures need to be extremely careful, as they are fragile and can break if dropped or mishandled.
Implants replace the root of the tooth with an appliance similar to a screw that is placed in the jawbone. On top of the implant, the dentist will place a crown to mimic the look of a real tooth. This technology is much more recent than dentures, but it has quickly gained traction as an effective way to replace missing teeth.
- Even though well-made dentures can look extremely convincing, they cannot compete with the look of implants. Implants are placed in your natural gums. They look and function like real teeth. They are a permanent solution and do not need replacement like dentures.
- One of the most convenient benefits of implants is you can be brush and care for them like your natural teeth. In addition, there are no dietary restrictions.
- One of the most impressive long-term benefits is that implants preserve bone structure. The implant takes the place of the tooth’s root, and the jawbone forms a bond with the implant as if it were a real tooth. This holds the structure in place. When teeth are missing, bone resorption occurs, leaving people with a sunken-in look. People with missing teeth that do not replace with implants often suffer from changes in facial structure.
- Implants look and feel like natural teeth but not without a cost. It is a rather expensive treatment that is more practical for replacing only one or a few missing teeth.
- Another factor that can steer people away from implants is the fear of oral surgery. Implants are an invasive procedure, and the entire process can take up to nine months with several appointments.
- When getting the procedure, you can expect the following steps over the course of a couple of months:
- A dentist will examine your gum
and bone health for eligibility, and they will create a treatment plan.
- The dentist will fuse the implant with the jawbone and cover it with gum tissue. You are sent home with a temporary implant while you heal.
- The dentist will place a post in the implant, and fit you for the crown.
- The dentist will place the crown and make adjustments as needed.
A cross between implants and dentures exists for people missing multiple teeth, or all of their teeth. All-on-four dental implants place one arch of false teeth on four implants. This prevents you from needing individual implants for each and every tooth.
The Bottom Line
Whether you want to go with dentures or implants, your decision likely will depend on several factors, such as the cost and the number of missing teeth. For people missing all their teeth, a denture may be more suitable. For someone with only a few missing teeth, implants look and feel more natural and can preserve the bone structure for a healthy jaw.
If you feel like missing teeth impairs your quality of life, consult with a dentist to see what option they believe makes the most sense for you.