Millions of Americans are missing all of their teeth in one or both jaws. If you are in this situation you may be considering replacing the missing teeth with dentures or dental implants. Let's review the pros and cons of each.
Advantages of Dentures
- • Dentures are less costly than implants and therefore are the most affordable option for some patients.
- • Many people choose to start with dentures. Since they are less expensive a patient may try them out and see how they feel.
- • If you have just had teeth removed recently, starting with dentures will allow your body time to heal before considering implants.
- • Depending on the location of the missing teeth, dentures may be a perfect solution. (Patients often find upper dentures look good and are easy to wear.)
- • The process to create the dentures is non-invasive. No surgery required.
- • If additional teeth are lost in the future, it is easy to modify the dentures to accommodate the loss.
Disadvantages of Dentures
- • They do not quite look as natural as dental implants.
- • They must be removed and thoroughly cleaned regularly. Many patients find the cleaning of cups and adhesives undesirable because they are messy and expensive.
- • Dentures are not worn overnight.
- • Sometimes dentures slip around making it difficult to speak and eat.
- • Certain foods cannot be eaten with dentures. Examples include caramel, apples and corn on the cob.
- • There’s an increased risk of gum disease if food is trapped by the dentures.
- • They frequently need replacement (every 3 to 6 years compared to 20+ years for dental implants). Also, they’ll break if dropped, requiring replacement.
- • Partial dentures are known to weaken the adjacent natural teeth that provide support for the dentures.
Dentures are molded to fit your mouth and are held in place by an adhesive. They are typically removed each day before bedtime and soaked overnight for cleaning. No matter how good dentures are, they are never going to feel 100 percent like your real teeth. However, some people enjoy the flexibility of taking their teeth in and out as needed. Be aware, though, that the longer your dentures are out of your mouth, the weaker your jaw becomes without the pressure of teeth to support.
You might be a good candidate for dentures if your jaw is too weak to support more dental implants. However, be aware that even the best denture adhesive does not work all the time and your dentures might fall out from time to time.
Advantages of Implants
- • They’re easy to care for. Just brush and floss as you do your natural teeth.
- • Implants look and feel like natural teeth since the root and tooth is replaced.
- • Implants allow you to eat any food including things that are sticky and crunchy.
- • Dental implants don’t affect speech.
- • Bones and adjacent teeth are preserved. Further deterioration is not a problem. They’re less likely to require future dental procedures.
- • With proper care, dental implants will last for decades.
Disadvantages of Implants
- • Cost more than dentures, but pricing is dropping due to technology
- • Surgical procedure(s) is required.
- • Your jawbone needs to be healthy and strong
Use Implants and Dentures Together with Overdentures
When implants and dentures are used together they are called overdentures. Overdentures utilize the latest in dental technology to make dentures feel as close to natural teeth as possible because they clip on to your implants, like a permanent denture.
While traditional dentures are held in place using temporary adhesives which often results in slipping, overdentures never slip or slide since they are affixed to a permanent implant. Implants, by themselves or when used with dentures, make chewing, talking, and other activities easier and more comfortable than traditional dentures.
Dental implants should last a lifetime. In fact, some dental offices, like all of our offices in Idaho, provide a lifetime warranty on the implant. However, the crown often needs to be replace which makes implants a much more permanent solution than dentures, plus create a more natural feeling in your mouth.
Which Is Best: Denture, Implant, or Both?
When choosing between implants and dentures, you will need to consider factors like your lifestyle, your budget, and your health. It’s important to decide what you are willing to compromise and what you are not because you might not find a solution that perfectly meets all three needs.
The good news is that most dental offices offer free consultations to thoroughly discuss your options with you, and help you weigh the pros and cons.