For many years, the only solution for failing or missing teeth was a partial or full set of dentures. Today, however, most people have another option. While dentures rest on the gums and can be unstable, dental implants actually replace the tooth roots, giving the final restoration a strong, supportive base. Yet dental implants are not right for everyone. When deciding between dentures and dental implants, keep the following considerations in mind.
Existing Dental Health
Dental implants can only be placed inside a healthy mouth with strong gums and bones. For this reason, many patients undergo a period of wearing dentures, even if they plan to move on to implants in the future. This allows you to break up extensive dental work over time, and allows your mouth to heal between the time diseased teeth are removed and the time implants are placed. This is not always necessary, depending on your individual situation and your dentist’s preferences.
If you have lost a significant amount of jawbone to dental disease, you might need bone grafting before your new dental implants can be placed. In addition, some people need a sinus lift or other oral restructuring. In this case, you might temporarily wear dentures until your procedures are completed.
In rare cases, the existing structures in the mouth simply do not allow for the placement of dental implants. If this happens, your dentist will work hard to craft dentures that fit perfectly into your mouth and allow you to regain as much functionality as possible.
Although prices are coming down and more insurers have begun to cover dental implants, they remain a more expensive option than dentures. If cost is a concern, talk to your dentist about a mid-range solution such as implant-supported removable dentures. These require far fewer implants, and thus have a lower price tag, than fixed solutions, while restoring most of the functionality of natural teeth.
Although surprisingly lifelike dentures are now available, many people feel that anything removable in the mouth takes away from the natural aesthetics of real teeth. In addition, dentures that are unsupported by implants can shift and slide when you chew, laugh, or talk. If you have a partial denture, the clasp that connects it to your existing teeth can show. For these reasons, the aesthetics of implants are considered far superior to those of traditional dentures.
Dentures sit on the gums with no additional support, which can be quite uncomfortable. Many people find that their dentures slip and rub, creating sore spots. These problems are worsened when eating tough foods such as steak, as well as crunchy or chewy foods. Dental implants are integrated into the jawbone, providing a secure base for the final restoration that vastly improves comfort.
Strength and Stability
From corn on the cob to taffy, many people find that they have to give up favorite foods when they get dentures. Traditional dentures provide only 25 percent or less of your natural bite strength. Chewing can be difficult, especially if the dentures slip. With stable, secure implants, you can regain more than 90 percent of your bite strength, without the fear of a tough or chewy food causing your teeth to slip.
Future Oral Health
When teeth are removed, the underlying structures that supported those teeth begin to resorb into the body. Over time, this process can cause severe loss of gum tissues and jawbone. This can give the face a sunken appearance, promote wrinkles, and cause even the most carefully crafted dentures to become loose.
In addition, dentures can cause sores in the mouth, and even lead to chronic inflammation known as denture stomatitis. These conditions can make wearing the dentures uncomfortable, add challenges to your daily oral hygiene routine, and even increase your risk for gum disease underneath the dentures. Dental implants solve these problems by providing a secure, stable foundation that closely resembles the natural tooth structure.
Each person’s dental situation is unique, and what is right for one person may not be the best choice for another. Your dentist will carefully assess your mouth and make a professional recommendation. In many cases, however, whether to choose dental implants or dentures is left up to the patient to decide.
Married dentists Chad and Alexandra Schnabel welcome you to Savannah Dental Solutions. From caring children’s dentistry to high-tech cosmetic procedures and even full-mouth reconstruction, we blend the latest technology with traditional customer-oriented values. To start your journey to better oral health, call us today at (912) 354-1366.