Dentures Vs. Implants

Patients with multiple teeth missing typically either replace their missing teeth with dental implants or with traditional dentures. The purpose of both of these treatments is similar, in that they are designed to help patients chew food they would not otherwise be able to, improve their speech, support their facial muscles, and restore the appearance of their full smile; however, there are important differences to be aware of when considering treatment options.

Traditional dentures present a cost-effective, fast solution for missing teeth; however, they do so at the cost of comfort and functionality, which is detailed more below. Dental implants provide a much stronger, more natural solution to missing teeth and also halt the progression of jawbone decay, however, the process of having dental implants placed is much more expensive and requires several months or even years to complete.

To learn more about dentures and dental implants, please refer to the following overview, which details differences between these two treatment options, such as the cost of treatment, which may be more aligned to your specific treatment goals are, and what role your overall oral and physical health will play in determining treatment options.

Common Problems with Regular Dentures

While the affordability of treatment and relatively quick treatment time that come with traditional dentures can be very appealing, there are several drawbacks commonly attributed to regular dentures that should be considered. Some of these drawbacks include things like:

  • Frequently falling out of place, especially when the dentures are for the lower jaw
  • Bone loss is one of the biggest issues associated with traditional dentures. Because the dentures do not stimulate the jawbone, it will begin to deteriorate over time, which increases the risk of additional tooth loss and other oral health issues developing. Jawbone deterioration also alters the structure and physical appearance of one’s face, causing one to age in appearance. This also results in the dentures no longer fitting properly and needing to be adjusted.
  • Dentures require a great deal of maintenance and have to be removed, cleaned and stored each night, whereas dental implants can be cared for just like one’s natural teeth.
  • Regular dentures severely limit the types of foods you can eat and diminish your ability to chew, which negatively impacts your overall nutrition.

Problems with Dental Implants

Although there are numerous benefits to dental implants, it is important to be aware that there are also some drawbacks, as well as risk involved in having the procedure performed. In addition to the cost of dental implants being much higher than dentures, the process of getting dental implants also takes considerably longer. Although the risk of complications is low, patients who get dental implants are at some risk of the following:

  • Infection: If dental implants are not properly taken care of, the risk of infection increases significantly. If the infection is serious and reaches the bone tissue, the implant may need to be removed.
  • Loose implant: Although rare, there is a possibility the implant will fail to fuse with the bone, in which case the implant will need to be removed and a new implant placed.
    Implant rejection: Though rare, one of the worst consequences that can develop following your dental implant procedure is that your body will have an adverse reaction to the material and reject the implant.
  • Tissue/nerve damage: If placed too closely to the nerve, damage can occur which can result in issues such as numbness, tingling, and/or long-term pain in the gums and lips.
  • Gum recession: Gum recession can occur around the area of the implant, which can cause inflammation and pain.
  • Peri-implantitis: Common symptoms of peri-implantitis include bleeding or swelling around the implant site. If treated early, most cases of peri-implantitis can be reversed, which is why it is important to schedule regular periodontal examinations.
  • Sinus issues: When the dental implants protrude into the sinus cavities, sinusitis (swelling of the sinuses) can develop, which can cause a range of symptoms, including tenderness, swelling around the eyes, cheeks, and forehead, tenderness, pain, or a high fever.

Despite the higher cost and length of time for treatment, patient satisfaction rates with dental implants are significantly higher compared to traditional dentures, due to their natural look and feel.

Alternative Treatment Options

While dentures and implants are both popular treatment options for missing teeth, you may be a good candidate for alternative treatment options, such as the following:

  • Dental bridge: A dental bridge can be a good option for patients who are missing one or more teeth. The dental bridge attaches to surrounding natural teeth to support the replacement crown/crowns. The biggest drawback to dental bridges is that they are not as strong as dental implants and require special maintenance.
  • Temporary partial denture: One of the most cost affordable treatment options for missing teeth is a temporary partial denture, which works in a fashion similar to a retainer, in that they are removable and contain one or more replacement teeth. While a temporary partial denture can restore the appearance of your smile and are easy to remove to clean, they are not durable and will need to be replaced with some frequency.
  • Snap-in denture: Snap in dentures are a hybrid of implants and dentures. Snap in dentures are designed with a few snaps which can attach to implants that are placed into the jawbone. Although snap-in dentures are more expensive than temporary partial dentures, they are also more expensive, though not as expensive as permanent dental implants.

Schedule an Appointment Today!

If you have missing teeth and are uncertain whether dentures or implants are right for you, contact your periodontist today. They will be able to perform a thorough evaluation, take diagnostic tests, and discuss your treatment goals, which will allow them to provide their professional recommendation as to which treatment option is best suited for you. This appointment will also be a good opportunity to ask any additional questions you may have about the procedure, such as the cost involved, whether their office has financing options available, and what types of dental sedation are available to ensure you are as comfortable as possible while the procedure is being performed.

Lifespan of a Dental Implant