If you have one or more missing teeth, you have a choice to make. Do you want implants or dentures? While other tooth replacement options like dental bridges exist, these two dental prosthetics are the most versatile and the most used.
There are many similarities between these two types of prosthetics, but most patients will prefer one based on cost, comfort, the health of their jawbone, and other important factors. Our guide will help you decide which of these two options is the best choice to replace your missing tooth.
Purpose of Dentures vs. Implants
It can be hard to choose between dentures and implants because they serve the same purposes. Both work to:
- Help you chew and enjoy tough foods like steak or crusty bread
- Improve your ability to speak clearly
- Support your facial structure, muscles, and jawbone
- Increase your self-confidence by replacing your missing tooth and restoring the natural beauty of your smile
However, there are significant differences between implants and dentures regarding the procedure, maintenance, and how well they perform these functions.
To receive a dental implant, you will need to have a small titanium screw surgically inserted into your jawbone. This screw anchors the implant and allows it to mimic the function of a real tooth exceptionally well. You will need to recover from this surgery before the implant crown can be placed to complete the prosthetic. Depending on the state of your jawbone, you may also need a bone graft before the tooth implant procedure can begin.
After the screw has been implanted in your jaw and your bone has had a few weeks to heal around it, your dentist will place your custom-made crown on top of the screw. This crown is usually made of porcelain or porcelain-fused-to-metal and will look and function just like a real tooth.
Getting dentures made is a much less invasive process. First, your dentist will study your bite and the alignment of your teeth in the area where you are missing teeth. They may also take impressions of the site to help them make a prosthesis tailored to your unique dental arrangement. They will then create a design for your dentures and send them off to a lab for fabrication.
This first set of dentures is only temporary and will be made with lower-quality materials than your final set. Its purpose is to give your dentist a chance to make adjustments to their design based on real-world feedback. Your dentist will examine your temporary dentures and mark any places where the length or alignment of the teeth must be changed. They will then send the final design out for fabrication. You will usually receive your completed permanent dentures a few weeks later.
Maintenance of Dentures vs. Implants
Caring for dental implants is easy: just follow your usual oral health routine. This will keep the area around the implant clean and prevent the bone beneath it from degrading due to gum disease.
Dentures require more daily care. Ideally, you should rinse your dentures every time you eat. You must also clean your mouth with a soft toothbrush or wet cloth at least once a day and soak your dentures in a cleaning solution overnight.
Dentures also need to be refitted periodically to accommodate changes in your bite and jawbone. On the other hand, implants only need to be replaced if they crack or break, which rarely happens.
Making a Decision
There are four primary factors to consider when deciding between Implants and dentures.
The younger you are, the longer you will be using the dental prosthetic you choose. Therefore, it makes sense to choose dental implants over dentures, even with their associated surgeries and higher cost.
You cannot receive dental implants if you do not have enough healthy jawbone to anchor the implant screws. It is possible to graft some extra bone to the implant site to strengthen it, but dentures might be a better fit for you if you have lost a significant amount of bone due to age, gum disease, tooth loss, or other factors.
Function and Feel
While dentures are a serviceable replacement for lost teeth, there is no question that tooth implants are superior in terms of comfort and function. However, implant-supported dentures can provide a good middle ground between the two. Think about how important it is to you that your replacement tooth looks and feels like a natural tooth. If this matters to you, it is strongly recommended that you choose implants over dentures.
Wearing dentures requires diligent home care and excellent oral hygiene. If you are not prepared to thoroughly clean your mouth and dentures several times a day, implants may be a better option. While you still need to brush and floss around them to keep the area free of gum disease, they typically require much less maintenance than dentures do.
Get Quality Tooth Replacements at Trillium Smile Dentistry
Both implants and dentures are excellent choices for replacing your missing teeth. Ask your dentist which of these two options they would recommend as they have a detailed understanding of your oral health status and may bring up points that you had not considered.
Whichever dental prostheses you choose will be with you for many years. Choose a dental office that can give you confidence in your decision and craft a long-lasting, lifelike tooth replacement that you will love. Our staff at Trillium Smile Dentistry will guide you through this process and ensure that you end up with a prosthetic you are happy with. Contact us today at 905-828-9894 or fill out our online appointment request form to inquire about denture or tooth implant costs or seek expert advice to help you make this critical dental decision.