Dental implants and dentures are two popular options for restoring your smile when you have missing or damaged teeth. Both can improve the appearance of your smile as well as your ability to chew and speak properly, but they differ in terms of cost, durability, and maintenance requirements.
Our team at Dentistry in Paradise offers both dental implants and dentures here in our Santa Barbara, California, office. But how do you know which one is right for you? There are many factors that shape your treatment plan. Here, Kevin Miller, DDS, explores a few common factors that may help you determine which restorative solution is right for you.
Dental implants 一 prosthetic teeth surgically anchored into your jawbone 一 consist of three parts: the implanted post, the crown that looks like a tooth, and an abutment to join the post and the crown. The implant posts are made of titanium, a biocompatible material that fuses with your natural bone to create a strong, stable base for a replacement tooth and acts like a tooth root.
Advantages of dental implants
Dental implants are strong, sturdy, and aesthetically pleasing. They look, feel, and function like natural teeth, they can last a lifetime with proper care, and they don’t require any special maintenance beyond regular brushing and flossing. You don’t remove or soak implants because they’re permanently secured in your mouth.
Dental implants preserve your jawbone and prevent bone loss, which can occur when you have missing teeth. That’s because the dental implant post stimulates your jawbone to keep growing, just like your tooth roots normally do.
Most importantly, they can boost your self-confidence and restore the functionality of your smile without the fear of dentures sliding out of place.
Disadvantages of dental implants
As with any restoration option, it’s important to explore any possible disadvantages, too. Dental implants:
- Are more expensive than dentures
- Involve a lengthy process — several months and multiple dental appointments, especially if you need a bone graft to support the implant post
- Aren’t suitable for everyone, particularly if you have certain health conditions, such as poorly controlled diabetes or gum disease
- Require ample jawbone to support your dental implant
Additionally, even if you’re eligible for dental implant surgery, you may not want surgery.
Dentures are removable prosthetic teeth. Partial dentures may be ideal if you’re missing some but not all of your teeth, while full dentures replace an entire upper or lower arch. Dentures can be made of acrylic, porcelain, or a combination of both.
Advantages of dentures
Dentures are typically less expensive than dental implants. This is especially true if you compare the cost of replacing a full mouth of teeth with implants versus dentures. Also, they can be made relatively quickly.
Additionally, because they don’t require any surgery, dentures can be ideal for people who don’t want or can’t have oral surgery.
Dentures can last for a long time, although they need to be relined every 10 years or so.
Disadvantages of dentures
People with new dentures find that they have an adjustment period as they get used to talking and eating with them in place. They may feel bulky or uncomfortable in your mouth, but this is normal at first.
Dentures may slip or move around while you’re eating or speaking, but this can be remedied with denture adhesive and ensuring your dentures fit correctly. Over time, you need adjustments as your mouth changes to ensure that your dentures remain comfortable and stay in place.
They also require regular cleaning and maintenance, including daily removal and soaking in a cleaning solution.
Dentures don’t have “roots” that stimulate healthy bone and tissue. You may experience accelerated bone loss in your jawbone over time.
Which solution is right for you?
As tooth replacements, both implants and dentures restore clear speech, enable you to chew food properly, and boost your confidence. Ultimately, determining the best restorative solution depends on your specific oral health needs and preferences.
If you’re looking for a permanent solution that looks and feels like natural teeth and requires little maintenance, dental implants may be the best option for you. However, if cost is a concern or if you prefer a nonsurgical solution that can be easily adjusted, dentures could be the better choice.
While this can seem like a lot of information to take in, you don’t have to make this decision on your own. At Dentistry in Paradise, Dr. Miller reviews all of your options with you and helps find the right solution based on factors such as your overall health, the number of missing teeth you have, your budget, and your preferences.
Whether you’re missing one tooth or many teeth, give us a call and start exploring your replacement options. You can reach us at 805-967-0272 or via our online form.