Dentures or Implants? Lots to Chew On…

You’ve made up your mind. This is the moment to spend the time – and let’s be real – the $$ to improve your smile. You’ve made the decision to replace missing teeth. Now, you’ve got to decide which treatment is right for you: dental implants or dentures?

To answer this, I guide my patients with a short Q & A. Together, we discuss:

1) How Healthy is My Mouth?

This is where we start. The current condition of your mouth determines which treatments are even possible. While dentures are a viable solution for virtually everyone, dental implants are only recommended for individuals with a strong jaw and healthy gums. Implants require invasive surgery. Smoking, substantial bone loss, even allergies can determine whether implants are right for you. Additionally, diabetes and other medical conditions can affect the dental implant healing process.

2) What Do Implants Cost?

Because surgery is involved, dental implants are more expensive than dentures. But, understand, implants are a more permanent solution. Yes, a complete set of dentures will be more affordable, but these usually require reshaping or replacement over time. If only one or two teeth are missing, a partial denture is an option.

3) What’s Involved with Implant Surgery?

Dental implants do require surgery and a longer treatment period. While dentures can take up to several weeks from point of examination to impressions, molding and fitting, dental implants require drilling into the jaw and healing time for the implant to fuse with the bone. It can also take up to several months before the prosthetic is fixed onto the implant. And yes, you may experience discomfort with both procedures, as your mouth gets acclimated to its new teeth.

4) Is One Option Easier to Maintain Than the Other?

Dental implants require minimal care aside from regular brushing and flossing. Implants actually help preserve bone and prevent gum tissue from shrinking – reducing the risk of losing more teeth. And food may actually taste better with implants. If an implant is used instead of an upper denture, you’ll notice food is tastier as your upper palate (which contains thousands of taste buds) remains uncovered.

Dentures can cause infection and decay in other teeth if improperly fitted and/or if proper hygiene is not followed. Regular rinsing, brushing and soaking dentures overnight are additional steps you will need to add to your daily routine. Other issues facing patients with dentures are damaged clasps, cracks, as well as looseness due to gradual bone loss.