There’s no denying that missing teeth is one of the most common dental problems out there. As a matter of fact, according to research, over 178 million Americans are missing at least one tooth. Those numbers are staggering, especially when you consider that 40 million of them miss all their teeth.
However, while missing teeth can cause many discomforts and disturb our daily life, there are a variety of solutions. From dental implants to dentures, modern medicine provides many alternatives, no matter how many teeth we are missing. Yet, if you are new to tooth replacements, you might have difficulty deciding which route to go for. Luckily, we are here to take a deep dive and analyze the pros and cons of dental implants vs. dentures.
Dental Implants Vs Dentures
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are replacement tooth roots, which are made out of titanium or a similar material. Usually, they support crowns, bridges, or even dentures, depending on your specific situation.
The procedure itself is complex and could take up to six months before completion. First of all, the dentist will remove the damaged root and drill a hole into the jawbone. Then, he will implant a prosthetic root, called a post, deep into the bone, allowing the bone to grow around the post. Once the post is secure, the dentist will fit it with a crown, which is an artificial tooth similar to your natural teeth.
Overall, dental implants are one of the most durable and good-looking teeth replacement options available. They manage to perfectly emulate the feeling of natural teeth while lasting much longer. However, it’s worth noting that dental implants are usually costly and may require additional procedures.
Pros of Dental Implants
Aesthetics: Dental implants look and feel just like regular teeth, drastically improving one’s appearance.
Durability: The durability of dental implants is unmatchable, making them a permanent solution to teeth loss.
Bone Health: Since implants replace the root of the tooth, bone loss is much less likely.
Quality of Life Improvements: Dental implants don’t affect speech or eating abilities due to their fusing procedure.
Cons of Dental Implants
Cost: Dental implants are one of the most costly tooth replacement options available. Not only that, but even if your insurance plan covers them, you will still have to pay for a portion of the procedure.
Infections: While they are pretty rare, getting an infection after the dental implant procedure is possible. Even worse, complications can result in periodontal disease, which leads to bone loss.
Procedure Time: Getting implants is a lengthy procedure, as it may take up to six months for them to fuse with your jaw. In other words, if you want a fast fix for missing teeth, dental implants are not the right choice.
Additional Procedures: Sometimes, dental implants may require additional bone graft or sinus lift procedures. Those can easily add up and increase the waiting time and costs of your implants.
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Dentures are medical devices that replace one or more missing teeth and are supported by surrounding tissue or teeth. Usually, they are made out of acrylic or metal, the difference between the two being durability. Nonetheless, dentures are pretty durable and can withstand most food.
Generally speaking, there are two main types of dentures, which can be used depending on how many teeth you are missing:
Partial Dentures are used when the patient has at least one natural tooth in the lower or upper jaw. Their purpose is to fill the place left by missing teeth while preventing tooth movement. And while some partial dentures can be removed for cleaning or eating, others are permanently attached using a compound or metal frame.
Complete Dentures are the go-to solution for people who are missing all their teeth. The dentist can either place them immediately after extraction or a few months down the road, depending on the gum’s structural integrity. Yet, it’s important to mention that complete dentures don’t prevent bone loss, as they don’t put enough pressure on the bone.
Pros of Dentures
Cost: Dentures are much more affordable than dental implants as they require fewer materials and are cheaper to manufacture.
Maintenance: Since some dentures can be removed, they are easier to clean and maintain. Additionally, you can take them out before eating in order to prevent food from getting stuck underneath the dentures.
Looks: Acrylic dentures look similar to dental implants, emulating the teeth’ original appearance almost entirely.
Versatility: Even if your remaining teeth and jaw are in bad shape, dentures are still a viable solution. In contrast, dental implants require a strong jaw to fuse with the titanium root and provide a secure connection.
Cons of Dentures
Procedures: Before you get dentures, you will have to undergo various procedures, including decayed teeth removal and getting molds of your teeth. Not only that, but you will have little to no idea on how your dentures will look inside your mouth until they are fitted in the final appointment.
Replacements: Eventually, dentures wear out, meaning that you will have to get replacements. And while the process of replacing dentures is much cheaper and faster than dental implants, it is still an inconvenience.
Removability: Although the ability to remove dentures is a plus, it can lead to other problems. For instance, the more you remove your dentures, the looser they become, allowing food to accumulate underneath them. And if they become too loose, your dentures might end up falling while you eat or speak.
Overall, while having missing teeth can completely change our life, there are various ways to replace them. On the one hand, if you want a durable, good-looking, and reliable replacement, you can always go for dental implants. However, keep in mind that the procedure is usually costly and time-consuming. On the other hand, you can go for the cheaper yet reliable alternative, dentures. But similarly, you will have to undergo various procedures before you can even take a look at your dentures. Nevertheless, regardless of what option you choose, you can relax knowing that you will enjoy your favorite foods again.