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For someone who has lost all or most of their teeth the only solutions to replace the missing teeth are typically dentures or implants. Bridges are a third alternative and they are a wonderful solution but do require healthy and strong teeth as the bridges are held by the remaining teeth. If too many teeth have been lost or the remaining ones are inadequate then bridges supported by natural teeth will not give you good long-term success.
Of your remaining options, there are significant differences in fit, function, comfort as well as cost between both traditional dentures and implant options. Hopefully, this dental implants vs. dentures guide will help you decide which is the best option for yourself.
To start, here are the general differences between these tooth replacement options:
Traditional dentures are typically the least expensive and most affordable method of replacing teeth. They can be made to look very esthetic and natural. If you have some remaining teeth, these teeth can be used to help secure and stabilize the denture much better than a full denture. They can often be made fairly quickly, within two to three weeks. (We are fortunate to have an in-house denturist and can, therefore, reduce the time and number of appointments to often one or two weeks).
The biggest drawback of dentures is their comfort and functionality. Unfortunately, dentures can be like having an artificial limb…they can look very natural but they do not always compare with respect to function. Overall they will help by providing areas of the mouth to chew foods, but you may need to avoid certain foods that are very hard, tough or sticky Every person is different because the stability, fit and comfort depends a lot on factors such as the remaining bony ridge, shape of the arch (jaws) etc. Some people can do very well…unfortunately, others may have difficulty with dentures.
Dental implants are artificial roots that fuse with your jaw to become anchors for future tooth replacement. They serve as a permanent foundation upon which we can build or attach teeth.
If you are missing one or a few teeth, single crowns or bridges can be attached to the implants. These are typically permanent and not removable by the patient.
For those missing all or most of their teeth, implants can be helpful. With implants, there is a large variety of treatment options. The simplest treatment involves places (one or) two implants. An abutment screws on top of the implant and sticks above the gum tissue. A corresponding attachment is placed on the underside of the denture so that when the teeth are in place the two attachments snap together thereby holding the denture in place, reducing movement of the denture. Although the teeth are still removable and in many ways, it is still a denture that sits on top of the gum tissue, the fit and comfort are improved considerably simply by the improved stability of the teeth.
If enough implants are placed it is possible to make permanent, non-removable teeth and get rid of the dentures entirely. The most challenging drawback of implants is probably the cost. There are some other differences as well. Implants do require a surgical step and the process takes a longer time and more appointments. However, despite these drawbacks, the advantages and benefits of dental implants often outweigh these drawbacks, even the additional costs, especially over the long term.
Learn More About Dentures And Dental Implants
To find out more about the differences between dentures and/or dental implants and to find out which would give you the most benefit, contact us.