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The Long-Term Impact: Dental Implants vs Dentures Compared

Did you know that the choice between dental implants and dentures can have a huge impact on your oral health? When considering dentures vs dental implants, it’s essential to understand the differences between these tooth replacement options.

Here, we’ll compare dental implants and dentures and explore their long-term effects on oral health, functionality, and aesthetics.

What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are artificial tooth roots, usually a titanium post, surgically implanted into your jawbone. The post serves as a fixture to hold the replacement tooth or dental crown. Implants can replace a single tooth or an entire arch of teeth or can be used to support a set of dentures, known as implant-supported dentures. The healing process post-implant surgery is usually a couple of months but offers a long-term option for tooth loss.

What Are the Long-Term Effects of Dental Implants?

  • Improved Oral Health. Dental implants, a great alternative to dentures, are designed to fuse with the bone that creates a strong foundation for prosthetic teeth. This popular option, offered in many dental offices, helps to prevent the risk of infection, cavities, and gum disease. This makes it a great option for replacing false teeth.
  • Bone Loss Prevention. Dental implants, often supported by bone grafts if necessary, stimulate the jawbone to prevent bone loss often associated with tooth loss. This supports the surrounding teeth and maintains oral health, adding to the benefits of this implant treatment.
  • Increased Comfort and Functionality. Working like natural teeth, dental implants restore full chewing and biting ability. This allows for a more comfortable eating experience and the enjoyment of a wider variety of foods. Given their functionality, they are a preferred alternative to traditional false teeth.
  • Enhanced Aesthetics. Dental implants closely resemble natural teeth, leading to improved self-confidence and aesthetics. With proper care provided by a reputable dental office, they can last a lifetime. This offers you a long-lasting, attractive smile.
  • Long-Term Stability. Dental implants are an efficient fix to missing teeth, unlike dentures or other false teeth. They do not slip, shift, or fall out, leading to improved speech and a more authentic chewing experience.
  • Cost-Effectiveness. While this oral surgery is an upfront investment at the dental office, its potential to last for decades may make it more economical in the long run. It can save you from the ongoing costs associated with maintaining and replacing dentures or false teeth, making implant treatment more appealing for many patients.

What Are Dentures?

Dentures are removable oral appliances designed to replace missing teeth. They can mimic the look and function of natural teeth. The variety of types of dentures encompasses partial dentures, used to replace a small number of lost teeth, and complete dentures, which can replace an entire set of teeth.

While older versions of dentures relied on denture adhesive to keep them in place, contemporary options are secured by metallic frameworks, offering improved stability.

What Are the Long-Term Effects of Dentures?

  • Regular Maintenance and Replacement. Regular maintenance and cleaning are non-negotiable aspects of traditional dentures. They may also need replacement roughly every half a decade to a full decade. This could lead to potential long-term expenses, representing a substantial financial commitment over time.
  • Reduced Bone Density. Unlike dental implants, dentures do not stimulate the jaw bone, leading to bone loss in the long run. This can affect facial structure and may cause sagging or premature aging over time.
  • Potential Discomfort and Slippage. Dentures may cause discomfort due to the foreign object in the mouth. They might also slip or shift while eating or speaking, which can lead to embarrassment or decreased confidence.
  • Oral Health Concerns. Poorly fitting dentures can cause sores, infections, or inflammation in the mouth. To prevent these issues, it’s essential to ensure dentures are well-fitted and regularly checked by a dental professional.
  • Aesthetic Considerations. While modern dentures are designed to closely mimic natural teeth, they may still be noticeable to others. Some wearers may feel self-conscious about their appearance.
  • Deterioration of Jaw Structure. Long-term use of dentures can lead to changes in the jaw’s shape and size, causing the dentures to fit less comfortably as time goes on. This requires adjustments and replacement of dentures.

Dental Implants vs Dentures: How Do They Differ?

Aesthetics and Functionality

While both dental dentures and implants aim to replace missing teeth, dental implants can provide a more natural look and feel than even the best type of denture. Dental implants are designed to mimic the function of real teeth, allowing you to enjoy your favorite foods without discomfort. It is also possible to speak and eat freely because they are stable and don’t slip like some removable dentures.

Bone Health and Structural Integrity

Dental implants offer significant benefits in maintaining bone health. They stimulate the jaw bone, preventing bone loss—a common side effect of tooth loss. Dentures do not offer the same bone-density preservation, which can potentially impact facial structures over time.

Lifespan

Dental implants are typically known for their durability and longevity. With proper care and maintenance, dental implants can last 15-25 years or even a lifetime. This makes them a long-term solution for tooth replacement. On the other hand, dentures generally have a shorter lifespan. They often need to be replaced or adjusted every 5-10 years due to wear and tear or changes in the shape of your jaw and gums over time.

Cost

The initial cost of dental implants is usually higher than that of dentures. Dental implants can involve multiple procedures, including the consultation and surgical placement of the implant, abutment, and crown, which collectively can be quite expensive.

However, because dental implants can last much longer than dentures, they may be more cost-effective in the long run. Dentures are generally less expensive upfront but may incur additional costs over time for repairs, relines, and eventual replacement.

Procedure and Recovery Time

Getting dental implants involves a more invasive procedure compared to getting dentures. Dental implants require surgical placement of a titanium post into the jawbone, followed by a healing period known as osseointegration, where the bone fuses to the implant. This can take several months. After healing, an abutment and crown are placed on the implant. The overall process can take several months to a year.

In contrast, the process to get dentures is relatively quicker and non-invasive. After taking impressions of your mouth, a dental lab will craft the dentures, which can then be fitted and adjusted in a few appointments over several weeks.

Maintenance

Dental implants require routine oral hygiene care, similar to natural teeth. This includes brushing, flossing, and regular dental check-ups to ensure their longevity.

Conversely, dentures require more specific maintenance. They must be removed and cleaned daily to prevent infections and gum irritation. Dentures may also require periodic adjustments for a proper fit as your gums and bones change over time. Adhesives may sometimes be necessary to secure dentures in place, adding another layer to their maintenance routine.

Who Are the Suitable Candidates for Implants or Dentures?

Implants

  • Healthy Individuals. Dental implant candidates should be in ideal health with no major ongoing medical conditions. Diseases that lead to compromised immune systems or prolonged healing times, such as diabetes or leukemia, may affect the success of dental implants.
  • Good Oral Health. They should have healthy gums with no signs of periodontal disease. Adequate bone density in the jaw is also necessary to support the implant. Without sufficient bone, a bone graft may be needed first.
  • Non-Heavy Smokers. Smoking can hinder the healing process of implants, and people who smoke heavily might be at a higher risk of implant failure. Ideally, a candidate should be willing to quit smoking for a period before and after the implant placement.
  • Commitment to Oral Hygiene. Since implants need proper and regular cleaning, just like natural teeth, individuals who are committed to maintaining a strict oral hygiene routine make ideal candidates.
  • Able to Sustain Regular Dental Visits. Post-implant, a series of follow-up visits are required. So, individuals willing to commit time for these visits are suitable candidates.

Dentures

  • Numerous Missing Teeth. Dentures are suitable for individuals who have lost several or all their teeth due to decay, trauma, or disease.
  • Unfit for Surgery. Individuals who have medical conditions preventing them from undergoing surgical procedures, like heart disease or hemophilia, may opt for dentures.
  • People With Significant Bone Loss. Multiple tooth loss often leads to bone resorption. Since dentures do not require implanting anything into the jawbone, they are suitable for these individuals.
  • Bridging Large Gaps. For people who have no several teeth in a row, dentures can be a cost-effective solution.
  • Comfort With Removal. These false teeth need to be removed nightly for cleaning and to rest the oral tissues. Individuals who are comfortable with the responsibility of this daily routine could consider dentures.

Dental Dentures vs. Implants: Which One Should You Choose?

Choosing between these dental treatments depends on a variety of factors, including your health profile, oral hygiene upkeep, personal comfort, and financial capacities. If you worry more about long-term stability, function, and bone health, you may opt for dental implants.

However, if you have significant bone loss, multiple missing teeth, or a preference to avoid surgery, dentures may be more suitable. Discussing these options with your dentist would provide the most appropriate long-term solution tailored to your unique needs.

Discover the Perfect Option for Your Teeth: Implants or Dentures?

When considering dental implants and dentures, it’s essential to evaluate your specific requirements to identify the most appropriate tooth substitution method. At Tolley Dental, we prioritize offering customized attention and advice to aid you in reaching ideal dental health. Reach out to Tolley Dental now to discover the top tooth replacement solutions designed specifically for you.

Making an informed decision about dental implants or dentures is a critical step toward ensuring long-term oral health and well-being. Choose the option that aligns with your goals and consult with us to discuss the best course of action for your oral health.