Dental Implants Vs. Dentures: Deciding What's Best For You

Posted on: 10 December 2018

Tooth loss is common as we age. It's estimated that at least 178 million Americans are missing at least one tooth, and about 40 million are missing all of their natural teeth, according to the American College of Prosthodontists. There are excellent options to replace missing teeth in the form of dental implants and dentures.

Since dentures are removable, they're not ideal for every person with missing teeth. They usually need to be secured to your gums with adhesive, which can create an unnatural feeling for some people. If they're not properly secured, they may slip or move around, which can make for embarrassing situations or even cause sores on your gums. Many denture wearers find they can't eat some foods, especially those that are very crunchy or chewy because dentures reduce bite force. You'll also need to remove your dentures for cleaning, adding an extra step to your daily hygiene routines.

Dental implants eliminate or reduce many of the downsides of dentures. Since implants are surgically placed, you won't need extra products to secure them in your mouth and they won't slide around. You might find taking care of your implants easier than dentures since you'll brush and floss them just like natural teeth and won't have to remove them for cleaning or soaking. Implants mimic natural teeth very well, so you shouldn't have trouble eating all of the foods you ate before your tooth loss.

One of the main things to consider when making a decision on how to replace your lost teeth is the health of your jaw and gum tissue. Dental implants require your gums and jawbone to be sturdy and healthy so the post has a good anchor on which to place the cap of the implant. If your jaw is weak or your gum tissue is unhealthy or particularly sensitive, dentures might be a better option, and they may be the only option depending on the exact nature of the issues with your gums or jawbone.

Many people consider dentures as a first choice because they cost less upfront than implants do. Even though implants have a higher initial cost, they're a long-term investment for most people. Implants often last for 20 to 25 years before needing replacement. On the other hand, dentures usually have to be replaced every 7 to 15 years. Denture wearers typically need more ongoing care than those who get dental implants. If you find your dentures are rubbing uncomfortably or slipping, they'll need to be relined and you may have to get them completely remade as your facial structure changes. Many dentists offer financing and payment plans to help break costs up over a longer period, rather than having to immediately pay the entire cost at the time of treatment.

Talk to your dentist about any questions you have to help you make your decision and discuss the best treatment option for your situation.