If you have experienced tooth loss, then you might be looking at the choice between dentures and implants. Both can be used for partial or full tooth replacement, but what exactly is the difference and which one is right for you?
The Key Difference Between Dentures and Implants
The key difference between dentures and implants is that dentures are removable, while implants are permanent and actually replace your natural teeth. Which is the right option for you depends in part on your situation and needs.
Advantages of Dental Implants
Dental implants, like All-On-4 implants, offer a lot of advantages over dentures that can make your daily life easier. The following are a few of the biggest advantages of dental implants:
- The list of foods you can't eat is shorter: Although you will still have to be careful right after the surgery and follow the instructions of your doctor, once the implant site has healed, you have a much wider selection of foods than those with dentures. With removable dentures, you will always have to be careful with some foods, including corn on the cob, crusty bread, sticky candy, nuts, popcorn, and peanut butter. You also can't really chew gum.
- Implants tend to look more natural: They don't shift in your mouth and they look much more like the real thing.
- You will not experience changes in your speech: Ill-fitting dentures can suffer from slipping which can affect your speech and the way you live daily life. You are less likely to mumble or slur with implants which are firmly attached to your jaw.
- Implants can last the rest of your life: If taken care of properly, implants can last you a long time, can’t be lost, and are less easily broken compared to dentures.
Although dental implants are better for most people, there are some advantages to having removable dentures instead:
- You don't have to have surgery and recovery. Although there's an adjustment period with dentures, there's no surgery risk.
- Heavy smokers sometimes have a higher risk for surgery (and also smoking stains permanent implants and dentures alike, but dentures are easier to replace).
What is the Process of Getting Dental Implants vs. Dentures?
Dental implants do require oral surgery. If you talk to your dentist about implants, you will be referred to an oral surgeon who will assess you, particularly the state of your jaws and gums, and decide if you are a good candidate.
If your jaw is in poor condition, you may need a bone graft before getting the implant.
The actual dental implant surgery only lasts a day but you’ll need a few rounds of post-surgical checkups and you’ll have to pay close attention to your implant’s care for a few months.
Dentures involve your dentist making a series of impressions of your jaw, from which a model will be made. Once they have a model you are happy with, the final denture will be cast and fitted.
Dentures are worn 24 hours a day for the first few days. After that you remove them to sleep.
Ultimately, deciding which choice is best for you depends on your mouth and the thoughts of your doctor. While most people with tooth loss, as long as they are otherwise healthy, do better with implants, dentures can be a good alternative for others.