Both dentures and dental implants are popular choices for replacing missing teeth. But how do you know which one is the right choice for you? Dr. David J. Weinstock, a dentist in Bala Cynwyd, PA, explains the difference between the two — and why he recommends going with implants.
Dentures are typically used to replace a full arch of missing teeth. They’re made of resin and metal for the base and plastic or ceramic for the teeth. They require adhesive to stay attached to the mouth. They’re removable and require some extra maintenance. Dentures need to be taken out each night and cleaned properly.
Dentures are usually picked because they’re low-cost upfront and are a restoration that you can get quickly. However, they have extra costs down the road. When you lose teeth, you also lose the tooth root. This leads to deterioration of the jawbone. Because of this, dentures will need to be adjusted or replaced over time, due to this happening.
Lastly, dentures can be bulky and hard to get used to. They don’t feel like your natural teeth and you’ll have to learn how to talk and eat with them. You also only get about 30-40% of your biting capacity back with dentures. You’ll have to follow a strict diet and won’t be able to eat certain foods because of this. Dentures can also slip and irritate your gums and soft tissues.
The Benefits of Dental Implants
Dental implants are made up of three parts. First, the titanium post is the part that’s actually implanted into your jawbone. Then, an abutment is placed on top of it, to serve as the connector between the post and the final restoration. The final restoration is the last piece of the puzzle. While it’s usually a dental crown, dental implants can also be used to support a dental bridge or fixed denture.
Dental implants are the only method that replaces the tooth root. Because of this, deterioration of the jawbone can be reversed. The posts stimulate jawbone growth as the posts fuse with the jawbone for stability. Because they’re in there permanently, they don’t require extra maintenance. They can be taken care of with a typical oral healthcare routine.
Implants also don’t require you to follow a special diet. With them, you get 100% of your bite function back. You don’t have to worry about slippage. They both look and feel natural in your mouth, so there’s no learning curve with them. They feel like normal teeth and you’re able to use them normally.
The only downsides to dental implants are the cost and the time they take. However, you only have to pay one upfront cost, as they won’t need to be readjusted later. They take longer because of the surgical element. After the posts are placed in the jawbone, they’ll need time to heal. This is what gives you the extra stability, though, and you’ll want to make sure the healing process is complete before moving forward.