Missing a tooth or a few teeth is not only unhealthy for your mouth – it can also impact your overall health as well as self-esteem. If you happen to have some missing teeth, there is no cause to feel ashamed. Tooth loss is a common problem that affects millions of people across the world. Nearly 70% of adults aged 35-44 years have at least one missing tooth, and one in four people above the age of 74 are missing all their teeth.
Fortunately, your dentist can help you replace your missing teeth using either dental implants or dentures. Advancements in technology have made both options more affordable and extremely effective in replacing missing teeth.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are permanent teeth replacement solutions that have become a popular alternative to traditional dentures over recent years. While dental implants cost more than dentures, they last longer and save money over time.
Dental implants also require fewer visits to the dentist since they’re easier to maintain compared to dentures. Once your dentist installs your dental implants, you’ll never have to worry about them falling out while eating, speaking, or laughing in social situations.
Implants also feel more comfortable and appear more natural than dentures. If you want to look and feel like you’ve never lost a tooth, dental implants are your best option! When you book an appointment with your dentist, they can help you make the right decision and explain the differences in detail to help you make an informed choice.
Typically, the dental implant process lasts anywhere between 6-8 months and requires one surgical procedure. After thorough planning, your dentist will surgically place the titanium implant into the jawbone. When you’re fully healed, you will come back for the second appointment to your custom restoration fitted over your implant.
What Are Dentures?
Dentures are removable teeth replacement solutions that come in a partial set or full set. They’re convenient for people missing multiple teeth rather than just a single tooth here or there. Dentures have significantly evolved over the years, and today’s dentures look more natural than ever.
Dentures are relatively less expensive than dental implants, and they allow you the freedom to remove them for any reason. Your dentist may recommend dentures as an economical option for replacing missing teeth. Dentures are custom made for you, easy to clean and improve the look of your smile. Your denture fitting process takes approximately six weeks to three months, depending on whether you require tooth extraction, healing time, and whether you receive a full denture or partial denture.
Comparison of Dental Implants vs. Dentures
With so many options, it can be challenging to choose what is right for you. Your dentist can help you break things down when comparing dental implants vs. dentures to help you make an informed choice. Some of the differences between dentures and dental implants include:
Jawbone: Dental implants are attached to your jawbone, which helps to support your bone health. Implants stimulate the gum and bone tissue like a natural root and help you maintain a youthful appearance. Dentures rest on top of the gums to support facial muscles and improve appearance. With dentures, you’ll need regular adjustments or replacements as your jaw and gums change with age.
Support: Dental implants are anchored to your jawbone, meaning that you must have healthy gums and adequate bone to support the implants. In contrast, dentures sit on top of your gum line, making them ideal for patients who have experienced bone and gum loss.
Comfort: Dental implants often feel more like natural teeth. Modern dentures use high-quality materials and are custom-fitted. Dentures can take time to get used to and may feel uncomfortable at first, especially during your first day or two of wearing them.
Maintenance: Just like regular teeth, you will brush and floss your dental implants like usual. Dentures need to be removed every night and soaked in clean water with a mild disinfectant. Dentures are also fragile and can easily break when dropped on a hard surface.
Function: The implant post integrates or bonds firmly with your jawbone, creating an anchor used to hold your replacement tooth. Dentures can also improve speech and allow you to eat foods you wouldn’t be able to without teeth.
Cost: Although dental implants have a higher upfront cost, they offer long-term value since they require little maintenance and fewer visits to the dentist. With proper placement, dental implants can last as long as 20 years or more. Dentures are less expensive than implants, and many insurance plans will cover the costs.
Finding Your Ideal Tooth Replacement Option
Although dental implants offer superior benefits over dentures, not everyone is a candidate for dental implants. Other than the higher upfront cost, dental implants need healthy bones and gums to anchor to your jaw correctly. Fortunately, your dentist can sometimes recommend bone and tissue grafts to make you a good candidate for dental implants.
Of course, you can weigh the pros and cons of each option and make an informed decision. If still in doubt, contact your dental office today to schedule a consultation with an experienced dentist and learn more about our tooth restoration options!