If you’ve ever lost a tooth, you know that there is a lot to think about when it comes to getting it replaced. What is the best option for replacement? How much will it cost? Are there health risks involved? To help answer some of these questions, we have compared two options for replacing missing teeth: dentures and implants.
Dentures are removable appliances that can be fitted to your mouth to replace missing teeth. These appliances are also used to replace some gum tissue that may have deteriorated. Of the dentures available, you can get a full set which replaces all teeth in either the upper or lower jaw (or both), as well as partial dentures, which are mainly used to fill in the gaps of a few missing teeth. Partial dentures can be braced by clasps around existing teeth or a precision attachment.
What Are the Benefits of Dentures?
- Adjustable. As time goes on, you may need to change the denture to better fit your mouth. The appliances can be easily modified to do so.
- Affordable. Dentures have many benefits, one of the most prominent being that they tend to be affordable for dental work.
- Natural Looking. For the most part, dentures will look natural in your mouth. The applications come in a variety of shapes, sizes and coloring to match the current state of your mouth.
No Surgery Required. For some people, surgery is a higher risk procedure or simply intimidating. Dentures do not require any type of surgery.
- Support Oral Structure. Oftentimes, your appearance may change slightly after losing teeth. Having dentures replace teeth will help restore some structure to your mouth.
What Are the Drawbacks of Dentures?
- Can Weaken Other Teeth. Occasionally, food can get trapped in the dentures, posing a risk for cavities or decay on any remaining teeth. They might also cause gum irritation (or disease, if not taken care of). Partial dentures may also weaken natural teeth because of the clasps needed to hold the denture in place.
Fragile. Some dentures can be fairly breakable if dropped and should be handled carefully.
Higher Maintenance. Dentures need to be cleaned regularly in order to prevent further oral damage and maintain the quality of the materials. They should not be worn overnight.
- Not Always Secure Fixed. Dentures aren’t always firmly in place, and can slip as time goes on due to the wearing of the appliance or jawbone changes. It may also be difficult for a person to speak or chew if the dentures are having trouble staying in.
- Restrict Types of Food. Foods that are sticky or especially crunchy (like nuts or almonds) would need to be eaten in moderation. Other foods that can be hard to eat, like corn on the cob or steak, should probably be avoided for eating ease with dentures.
- Needs Replacing. About every 3-6 years, you can expect to need to replace your dentures. If you have chosen an appliance that has a metal framework, it should last slightly longer than other models.
Maintaining Oral Health w/ Dentures
You should clean your dentures everyday just like you would with your normal teeth. Remove the application, rinse it and use a soft bristle toothbrush (with non-abrasive cleaner) to carefully clean the surfaces. This will help prevent scratches. When you take your dentures out, keep them covered in water to maintain their shape. (Note: You can use a different denture cleaning option, like Polident®, but you should avoid using chemicals such as bleach.)
It’s also important to efficiently cleanse your mouth after wearing dentures all day. Brush your natural teeth, your tongue and gums (gently). Use mouthwash for a finishing touch!
How Much do Dentures Cost?
The cost of dentures will vary slightly depending on where you live and the quality of dentures you choose. Below are estimated prices of what you may pay for dentures.
Dental implants are artificial posts (usually made of titanium) that act as a tooth root. The implants are inserted into your jawbone to anchor a replacement tooth or bridge. This method is useful to replace a single tooth or multiple teeth.
What Are the Benefits of Dental Implants?
- Long Lasting. Dental implants are meant to be a long-term solution to missing teeth. On average, dental implants last for around 15 years – sometimes even for life! The implants actually help to preserve the bone of your jaw and prevent the gum tissue from shrinking.
- Low Maintenance. After an implant, you can take care of it just like a normal tooth. Be sure to brush and floss daily!
- Natural Function. Implants are one of the most natural looking options for replacing a tooth. They also function just as well as natural teeth.
- Secure Bondage. Because the implants integrate with the jawbone itself, it will not pose any sort of risk of slipping or falling out suddenly.
What Are the Drawbacks of Dental Implants?
- Can Be Expensive. Implants are a costly option for replacing a tooth. For many, it can be difficult to afford the cost of the implants and crowns or bridges.
- Requires Surgery. Some people want to avoid surgery because of health risks or dental fears. The process of dental implants does require surgery.
Maintaining Oral Health with Dental Implants
As mentioned above, dental implants are simple to take care of because they don’t require extra maintenance. You can treat them like normal teeth – brushing and flossing daily. If you have a concern or question, bring it up with your dentist.
How Much do Dental Implants Cost?
Like most dental procedures, the cost of dental implant varies widely based on your location, dental health and the type of implant you need/want to get. Besides the actual implant surgery itself, additional costs may come from the diagnostic tests (i.e. bone graft) needed to perform the procedure.
3. In Comparison
Both dentures and implants have their own advantages and disadvantages. So, which one is best for you? Take a look at the quick comparison lists below.
Are you more inclined to wear dentures or get implants? Let us know in the comments below! We hope this article has given you an idea of what is involved in getting either dentures or implants, as well as an accurate estimate of how much each procedure will cost. As you decide, we’d love to hear your thoughts!
Need to replace fewer teeth? You might also consider dental bridges.