If you’re looking for a way to replace missing teeth, you have a number of options. Two of the most popular choices are dentures and dental implants, and each have their own advantages and disadvantages. Dentures were the choice of many in the past, but advancements in dental technology has seen the popularity of dental implants skyrocket. So, have implants completely replaced the need for dentures? Read on to find out.
Dentures are a removable replacement for a missing tooth or teeth; they are essentially false teeth made from acrylic plastic and metal. Partial dentures are used when some of the natural teeth remain, while complete dentures are used when all the teeth need replacing. Dentures are a low-cost and relatively quick and easy solution to the problems caused by missing teeth.
Advantages of dentures
- Dentures are far less invasive than either dental implants or bridges.
- They are designed to look and feel as close to natural teeth as possible.
- They are usually the least expensive tooth replacement option.
- They are easy to repair if damage occurs.
- They enable you to chew and speak normally.
- Dentures support your cheeks and lips.
- Dentures can be fitted sooner after a tooth extraction than implants.
- No surgery is required for removable dentures. Patients can choose between removable or fixed denture options.
Disadvantages of dentures
- Dentures can adversely affect your ability to taste food, eat, speak, smile, yawn or cough.
- Many patients find the fit and feel of dentures to be unstable and uncomfortable, as they can sometimes move around and slip out of place. Some people need to use adhesives to keep the dentures in place.
- Dentures don’t function nearly as well as dental implants, and don’t look quite as natural either.
- Dentures don’t last as long as implants will need replacing every few years. They can be damaged more easily.
- If dentures don’t fit properly and aren’t well-maintained, they can promote decay and infection in the remaining teeth.
- You’ll need to be careful what you eat with dentures, and may need to avoid hard or sticky foods.
- Dentures may be cheaper initially, but will come with additional costs such as adhesives, repairs, cleaning solutions and continual denture replacement.
- They can’t be worn 24/7.
Who might benefit from dentures?
As implants involve surgery, many people are not suitable candidates for receiving dental implants (for instance, people with cancer, diabetes, auto-immune diseases or those on certain medications). For people with complex health conditions such as these, dentures might be their only option.
For people who need to replace a lot of teeth (for example, a whole upper or lower arch), dentures might be the recommended solution. Dental implants work well to replace one or a few teeth, but might not be the best option for multiple tooth replacements.
Dental implants involve surgically inserting a replacement tooth root into the gap created by your missing tooth, and then topping it with a restoration such as a crown or bridge. An implant is essentially a false tooth that is permanently inserted into your jawbone, and which looks and functions just like your natural teeth.
Advantages of implants
- Dental implants are permanently fixed in the gum and don’t require removal or special cleaning or maintenance.
- You can treat a dental implant just like a natural tooth, using just the same care, cleaning and maintenance that you normally would.
- Dental implants pose no limitations as to what foods you can eat.
- Implants are expensive initially, but don’t require many further costs, and may well leave you ahead in the long run financially.
- They are extremely long-lasting and durable.
- You don’t have to be careful what foods you eat with an implant.
Disadvantages of implants
- The main disadvantage of implants is their high initial cost.
- Placing an implant involves oral surgery and multiple trips to the dentist.
- Not everyone is a suitable candidate for a dental implant.
- The implant process can take considerably more time than other treatment methods, as the implant needs time (often months) to fuse to the jawbone.
Who might benefit from implants?
If you only need to replace one or two teeth, implants will likely be considered the best option. Those who are healthy and don’t smoke will have a better chance of their implant being successful.
So, dentures still have a role to play in solving the problem of missing teeth. Implants are a great option too. The best choice for you will depend upon your individual situation, health and of course your budget. To determine which option is right for you, consult your dentist for the best advice. Contact Lentini Dental here.