American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons statistics show around 70 percent of individuals in the U.S. between the ages of 35 to 44 years old have a minimum of one missing tooth due to tooth decay, dental fractures, accident or gum disease. If your smile is missing teeth, you’ll no doubt want to know your options. Two common types of dental restorations your Overland Park dentist can off you are dentures and implants. But, what’s the difference between the two?
Dentures vs Dental Implants
To make the right decision, you should get a better understanding of both dental options in terms of what they are, how they work and the pros and cons of each.
What Are Dentures?
Dentures are a prosthetic device. The hard and soft tissues of the space your missing tooth or teeth left to surround the device to support it.
A couple of types of dentures include:
- Partial Dentures: These are used when there are still some remaining healthy natural teeth.
- Complete Dentures: These are used when most or all of your teeth are missing.
Also, while you can remove conventional dentures, you also have a hybrid option that also uses a dental implant for creating a non-removable (permanent) solution.
You know longer have to deal with old-looking, floppy dentures. Today the modern-day dentures look great. Thanks to technology advancements, dentures today are always custom-made, so they fit your mouth precisely and look like your natural teeth.
What Are Dental Implants?
Another great way of replacing missing teeth is dental implants. These are now a common tooth replacement option.
The dentist surgically places a dental implant in your jaw bone, just like your natural tooth root would be. After you’ve had time for your implant to heal, the dentist tops it with a restoration which could include:
- Part of a bridge to help replace multiple teeth
- A dental crown
- A partial or complete permanent denture
Dental implants do a great job of bringing your smile back to a natural and beautiful appearance.
How Each Treatment Option Works
Each treatment option has its own function and process.
How Dentures Work
Dentures help fill your facial and profile appearance out. But, they don’t change your overall appearance because they look like your natural teeth and improve your smile.
Types of dentures include:
1. Conventional: Once the dentist removes your remaining teeth and allows time for your gum tissue to heal, they’ll create and place a full removable denture in your mouth.
2. Immediate: On the same day the dentist removes your remaining teeth, they’ll insert a removable denture. They’ll take jaw measurements during your preliminary visit so they can create models. While you won’t have to wait for your teeth during your healing period, the dentist will need to reline or remake your dentures once your jaw heals.
3. Overdenture: The dentist might be able to save some of your natural teeth to preserve your jawbone which will provide stability and support for your installed denture. Once they mold it, they’ll fit the overdenture over your remaining natural teeth.
How Dental Implants Work
There are typically a few steps involved in the dental implant procedure.
1. The dentists will surgically place the implant, usually a cylindrical or titanium tapered post, into your jawbone. They will then fuse or attach your implant to your natural jawbone when you’re in the healing process. The two will simultaneously grow and ultimately form the strong and long-lasting groundwork for your replacement teeth.
It could take months for the healing process to complete, but in between appointments, you’ll go on with your day-to-day life. While there typically isn’t any pain involved, if you’re experiencing any pain, acetaminophen or ibuprofen should provide relief.
Finally, the dentist will place a small connector or abutment on top of your implant, which attaches the implant to your replacement tooth or teeth once your implant and jawbone bond. They’ll then attach dentures, a single tooth or an implant-supported bridge to the abutment.
Pros and Cons of Dentures vs Dental Implants
It’s important to weigh the pros and cons of these dentistry options to help you decide which is the best one for you.
- Dentures don’t cost as much as implants, making them the more affordable option.
- Many individuals decide to start with dentures because they’re less expensive, to see how they feel and try them out.
- The denture creation process is non-invasive with no surgery needed.
- If you’ve recently had teeth removed, dentures would be the ideal way to start to allow your body time to heal before you consider implants.
- If you lose additional teeth in the future, it’s simple to modify dentures to accommodate this loss.
- Dentures might be the best solution, depending on the area of your missing teeth (individuals often find upper dentures are easy to wear and look good).
- Dentures don’t look quite as natural as implants.
- They aren’t worn overnight.
- You need to remove them and thoroughly clean them regularly. Adhesives and cleaning of cups are undesirable, messy and costly for many individuals.
- Sometimes dentures can slip around making it hard to eat and speak.
- They often require replacement regularly (every few years) compared to implants that last for 20+ years. Also, if you drop them, they could break and require replacement.
- Partial dentures could weaken your neighboring natural teeth that are providing support for your dentures.
- Implants are easy to care for. You just brush and floss them like you would your natural teeth.
- They feel and look like natural teeth since they replace your tooth and root.
- They allow you to eat any type of food, even crunchy and sticky food.
- They don’t affect your speech.
Adjacent teeth and bones are preserved. There’s no problem of further deterioration and they’re not as likely to require further dental procedures.
They last for decades if you care for them properly.
- Implants can be expensive.
- They require surgical procedures.
When deciding on whether you should go with dentures or implants, you’ll need to take some factors into consideration, including your budget, lifestyle and health. It’s important for you to decide what you’re willing to compromise, since neither may be a solution that will meet all three of these needs perfectly.
Fortunately, most dental offices provide free consultations, including Dr. Ross S. Headley DDS at KC Smile for past dental traumas, to discuss your options with you thoroughly and help you make the best decision. Schedule your appointment today if you’re interested in either dentures or implants.