Dental implants and dentures, two popular tooth replacement options, play a crucial role in restoring a confident smile and functional bite. They both address the everyday health challenges of missing teeth with distinct features, advantages, and practical considerations.
This post will examine the differences between dental implants and dentures to help you make an informed decision about the most suitable option for your smile makeover.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are artificial replacements for natural tooth roots. They are typically made of titanium, a material that is well-tolerated by the body. The titanium post is surgically inserted into the jawbone, where it fuses with the bone over time in a process called osseointegration. Once the implant has fused with the bone and is stable, it can be used to support a crown, bridge, or denture—the parts that are visible and used for chewing.
This two-part process—placing the implant and then attaching the replacement tooth—is what makes dental implants a durable and stable solution for replacing missing teeth.
Benefits of Dental Implants
Natural Look and Feel
Dental implants closely mimic the appearance and function of natural teeth. The custom-designed crowns are crafted to match the shape, size, and color of existing teeth, resulting in a seamless and natural-looking smile.
Improved Stability and Functionality
Implants are securely anchored in the jawbone through a process called osseointegration. This integration provides exceptional stability, allowing individuals to enjoy normal biting forces and improved chewing efficiency, similar to natural teeth.
Longevity and Durability
With proper care, dental implants can last up to 25 years or more. The durable materials, such as titanium, used in implant construction contribute to their longevity, making them a cost-effective and enduring solution.
Preservation of Jawbone Density
Unlike traditional bridges or dentures, dental implants actively stimulate the jawbone. This stimulation prevents bone loss, preserving the integrity and density of the jaw over time. This feature not only maintains facial structure but also prevents the sunken appearance often associated with missing teeth.
Dental implants eliminate the discomfort and inconvenience associated with removable dentures. Since they are fixed in place, there’s no need for adhesives, and individuals can speak, eat, and smile with confidence without worrying about slippage.
Improved Oral Health
Dental implants do not require alterations to adjacent teeth, as is often necessary with dental bridges. This preservation of neighboring tooth structure contributes to overall oral health and minimizes the risk of complications.
The natural appearance and stability of dental implants instill a sense of confidence in individuals. Knowing that their smile looks and functions naturally can positively impact self-esteem and social interactions.
Convenience and Easy Maintenance
Dental implants eliminate the need for specialized cleaning routines or adhesives associated with dentures. Regular brushing, flossing, and routine dental check-ups are usually sufficient to maintain optimal implant health.
Drawbacks of Dental Implants
While dental implants are considered a reliable and long-term solution for tooth replacement, they do have some drawbacks:
- Long Healing Time: Dental implants require a healing process that can take several months. The implant must fuse with the bone in a process called osseointegration before the artificial tooth can be placed.
- Expensive: Dental implants tend to be more costly than other tooth replacement options such as bridges or dentures. They may not always be covered by insurance providers.
- Surgical Risks: As with any surgery, dental implants come with certain risks like infection, nerve damage, prolonged bleeding, and possible damage to surrounding teeth. There could also be complications if the implant does not fuse properly with the bone.
- Not Suitable for Everyone: Not everyone is a suitable candidate for dental implants. Factors such as insufficient bone density, certain chronic diseases, and lifestyle choices (like smoking) can affect the success rate of dental implants.
- Multiple Appointments Required: The process of getting dental implants requires multiple appointments, which might be inconvenient for some people.
What Are Dentures?
Dentures are removable replacements for missing teeth and the surrounding tissues. They are made of acrylic, nylon, or metal and can replace all the teeth in your mouth (complete dentures) or just a few missing ones (partial dentures).
Complete or full dentures are used when all of the patient’s teeth are missing, while partial dentures are used when some natural teeth still remain. Immediate dentures are made in advance and can be positioned as soon as the teeth are removed.
Dentures can help restore the appearance and oral functions that were lost when the teeth were removed. However, they require proper care to maintain their function and to keep your mouth healthy.
Benefits of Dentures
Dentures are often a more budget-friendly option compared to dental implants or other restorative procedures, making them accessible to a broader range of individuals.
Unlike dental implants, dentures do not require surgical procedures for placement. This non-invasive characteristic makes them a more straightforward and quicker solution for those seeking to restore their smiles.
Customization for a Natural Look
Modern dentures are custom-designed to closely resemble natural teeth. The materials used for the prosthetic teeth can be matched to the individual’s natural tooth color, resulting in a realistic and aesthetically pleasing appearance.
Dentures are versatile and can be tailored to meet the specific needs of each patient. Whether it’s a partial denture for individuals with some remaining natural teeth or a full denture for complete tooth replacement, these appliances can adapt to various situations.
Improved Chewing and Speaking
Dentures restore the ability to chew food more effectively, promoting better digestion and nutritional intake. Additionally, they help in articulating speech, especially for individuals who experience difficulty speaking due to missing teeth.
Quick Restoration of Function
The process of obtaining dentures is typically quicker than some other tooth replacement options. Once the dentures are crafted, the patient can experience restored oral function promptly.
Dentures are easy to clean and maintain. Regular brushing and soaking overnight, along with routine dental check-ups, are usually sufficient to keep them in good condition.
Adaptability to Changing Oral Conditions
Dentures can be adjusted or replaced as needed to accommodate changes in the oral cavity, such as gum recession or shifting of the remaining teeth.
Restored Facial Appearance
Dentures provide support for facial muscles, preventing the sunken or collapsed appearance often associated with tooth loss. This contributes to a more youthful and fuller facial appearance.
Accessibility for Many Individuals
Dentures are a viable option for individuals who may not be candidates for more complex dental procedures due to factors like medical conditions, financial constraints, or preferences.
Drawbacks of Dentures
While dentures are a common solution for missing teeth, there are several potential drawbacks to consider:
- Discomfort and Irritation: Traditional dentures can cause discomfort, especially when first worn. They may cause sores and irritation in the mouth if not fitted properly.
- Difficulty Eating and Speaking: Some people find it challenging to eat certain foods or speak clearly with dentures. There’s often a learning curve associated with getting used to new dentures.
- Maintenance: Conventional dentures require daily cleaning beyond regular brushing and flossing, and they must be kept moist when not in use to maintain their shape.
- Less Natural Appearance and Feel: While modern dentures look more natural than ever before, they may not feel as natural or function as well as your original teeth or other options like implants.
- Bone Loss: Over time, the absence of natural teeth can lead to bone loss in the jaw. Dentures do not stimulate the jaw bone like natural teeth or dental implants do, which can lead to changes in facial structure.
- Durability and Lifespan: Dentures are not as durable as natural teeth or dental implants. They can break if dropped and typically need to be replaced every five to eight years.
Which Is More Expensive in Bowie, MD, Dental Implants or Dentures?
Dental implants are generally more expensive than dentures. The cost of a single tooth implant can range from $3,000 to $5,800. Multiple-teeth implants can cost between $6,000 to $10,000 and full-mouth implants can reach up to $60,000 to $90,000. The cost for implant-supported dentures can vary, but most patients can expect to pay between $15,000 and $25,000 per arch or more
On the other hand, dentures are a less expensive option. It can vary greatly depending on the type, materials used, and the geographical location. On average, the cost for a traditional, full set of dentures is around $1,800. Partial dentures made of a resin base average around $1,200 while metal cast is about $1,600.
While dentures are typically more affordable upfront, dental implants often last much longer, making them more cost-effective in the long run.
Which Tooth Replacement Option Should You Choose?
Choosing whether to get dental implants or dentures ultimately depends on your individual preferences, budget considerations, and oral health needs. While dental implants offer a longer-lasting and natural solution, dentures provide a practical and cost-effective option.
Consulting with a qualified dentist in Bowie, MD is crucial to assess your specific situation, discuss treatment goals, and determine the most suitable path to a revitalized and confident smile. Regardless of whether you opt for dental implants or dentures, your journey to a confident smile begins with a comprehensive understanding of two transformative options.
Ask Superior Cosmetic and Family Dentistry for Professional Advice in Bowie, MD
If you have missing teeth and are considering dental implants or dentures, we invite you to consult with one of our experienced dentists at Superior Cosmetic and Family Dentistry. We offer a wide range of tooth replacement options and will work with you to determine the best treatment plan for your needs. Our goal is to help you achieve a healthy and beautiful smile that you can be proud of.