How to Decide Between Dental Implants or Dentures?

10 Questions to help decide between dental implants or dentures:

Now that you’ve read about the benefits of both dental implants and dentures, it’s time to decide which one is best for you. Here is a list of question to better help you decide between dental implants or dentures. Please answer each question with either a “yes” or “no“:

  1. Have you worn dentures in the past but ended up being unhappy with most of them? Especially as of the last few years.
  2. Do you avoid eating hard food such as meat or other difficult to chew items with your false teeth?
  3. If you wear upper dentures do you find yourself gagging, unable to taste food, and hating how large and bulky they are?
  4. If you wear lower dentures do they constantly move around, cut your gums and refuse to remain in place, even when you use denture glue?
  5. Do you want the absolute best that money can buy for your mouth?
  6. Can you afford dental treatment that costs upwards of $3,500? If not, do you at least have good enough credit to finance treatment costing a few thousand dollars?
  7. Do you still consider yourself young?
  8. Are your jawbones strong enough to support dental implants?
  9. Are you healthy enough to undergo a surgery to place dental implants?
  10. Do you have the time to spend multiple visits over the course of a whole year with your dentist? Plus time to periodically follow up with your treatment afterwards?

Good candidate for placing dental implants

If you answered “yes” to most of the above questions then strongly consider getting dental implants over dentures.

Questions 1 through 5: Really wanting and needing dental implants

There’s no question that dental implants is the best treatment that dentistry has to offer. Yet before you decide to go ahead with implants, you need to make sure that you really need or want them. Receiving dental implants is a huge commitment, much more so than dentures are.

However should you elect to go with dental implants, it’s very unlikely that you’ll regret your decision. Nothing comes even close to dental implants, especially not dentures. You will talk, chew, taste, look and overall function much better with dental implants as opposed to dentures in your mouth. After all, why would people invest so heavily in implants if they were similar to dentures? So if you want the absolute best, then the decision between dental implants or dentures should be an easy one to make.

Question 6: Affording dental implants

The least expensive dental implant treatment you will find is for placing two mini dental implants to secure your existing denture. This treatment costs at least $3,500 for the two implants and denture set that goes with it. Keep in mind that this is the price for only one arch, meaning either the top or bottom set.

If you can want an actual bridge which stays permanently on top of your implants, then expect treatment costs to start at well over ten thousands dollars. Price range for all-on-four implant and bridge treatment typically varies between 15 to 50 thousand dollars per arch!

Ultimately, dental implant treatment needs to be paid for either by cash or through financing. Having dental insurance won’t help you much here. Dental insurances typically don’t cover dental implants, especially when talking about full mouth replacement cases. You’d be lucky if they cover a portion of your dentures at best.

Question 7: Psychological impact of wearing fixed or removable teeth

Having teeth which stay in your mouth or can be removed will definitely impact your psyche. If you feel old then it’s easy to justify wearing dentures. But if you’re still young at heart, regardless of your actual age, then you surely don’t want to able to take your teeth in and out. Getting dental implants can make you feel ten years and boast your overall confidence. You’ll also probably look that many years younger as well. In fact most people you meet will think that they are your own teeth. And we promise to keep it a secret and not tell anyone else either!

Questions 8 and 9: Medically and dentally qualifying for implants

As much as we all want dental implants, not everyone without teeth will qualify. First off, if you have a medical issue that compromises your bone quality or the healing process then you can’t place implants. For instance, certain cancer medications as well as aggressive radiation therapy to the head and neck region may disqualify you. Also some heavy smokers can only receive implants if they are willing to commit to quitting smoking for a while.

In addition to medical exclusions, there are also dental related issues which could make placing dental implants difficult or even impossible. The most common dental limitation is not having enough jawbone to receive the implants. Without sufficient bone width or height to accommodate dental implants, you might not qualify as easily for treatment. Occasionally your bone quality is so bad that you simply don’t qualify for implants no matter what. However, most of the times there are solutions for these cases if you are persistent enough:

  • One option is a bone graft procedure, such as a block bone graft or sinus lift. These will help restore additional bone to the region so your dentist can place implants afterwards.
  • A much simpler option is to concentrate the implants where there actually is good enough bone. Essentially your dentist will place more implants in the front region of your jaws where there typically is better quality bone and avoid the back regions which are usually problematic. If you’re thinking that location of dental implants has to correspond to where your teeth originally were then you are mistaken. The location is irrelevant so long as enough implants are placed to handle the bite load and pressure.

Of course only a skillful dentist or oral surgeon can correctly access your treatment plan. So make sure that you’re going to a skilled and experienced implant dentist who knows what he or she is talking about. Otherwise you could end falsely believing that you can never receive dental implants while in fact there is a viable solution out there for you!

Question 10: Time commitment and follow through

Receiving dental implants takes a long time. Budget between six months to a year for average treatment cases. Think of it as if you were getting braces and had to see your orthodontist over and over for a one to two year period. If you can’t commit to this, then don’t get dental implants. For instance if you’re always traveling back and forth or if you might relocate to a different city, then it might be best to postpone treatment for a while.

Also, don’t try to rush your dentists as proper treatment takes time. There’s nothing your dentist can do about how fast your body heals and how well it accepts the implants. All he or she can do is place your implants in a correct position and angle and the rest is up to your own body. Sometimes healing occurs in as little as 3 to 4 months while other times it takes as long as 9 months just for the implants to heal and integrate with your jawbone. If your implants are loaded with teeth too quickly, your whole treatment can fail.

In addition to time set aside for your treatment, you must also allow time for follow up afterwards. Problems with implant placement is rare when performed correctly, but problems with the bridge or denture which sits on top of the implants is actually quite common. Don’t get frustrated if you bridge isn’t make correctly the first time or if the denture doesn’t lock in as tight as you had hoped for. These problems can be fixed however they require time and patience.

Good candidate for denture treatment

If you answered “no” to most of the above questions then you should do just fine with dentures. There’s no reason to consider getting dental implants over dentures if you’re already happy with what you’ve got. If you’ve been taking good care of your false teeth and have strong enough jawbone to help hold your dentures in place, then you probably love your dentures just the way they are. In fact you most likely eat, speak and function with them without any issues whatsoever as if they were your own teeth. If this applies to you, then there is very little advantage to getting dental implants and it’s probably not worth it. Consider buying yourself a new car instead!

Final thoughts on how to decide between dental implants or dentures

If you really want dental implants and can afford them, then it can change truly change the way your entire mouth feels and functions. Dental implants anchor your false teeth in place to keep them stable. Placing just a few dental implants can change your biting ability and increase your chewing force by as much as four folds as compared to full dentures. This means you can finally bite into that steak or apple that you’ve been avoiding for so long!

Dental implants allow you to eat better, speak more clearly, taste food better and  feel more comfortable. They are all around a better and more comfortable treatment than dentures are. In fact when you’re done receiving implants you might even feel like your original teeth are back.

What should I do if I want dental implants but can’t afford them?

Getting a full set of teeth with dental implants is very expensive. If you can’t quite afford dental implants, then turn your focus onto improving your denture set. Maybe you just need a new denture or possibly require a touch-up on your existing set. Consider talking to your dentist about available solutions to help improve your denture experience. Here are some ideas to improve your denture experience:

  • Adjust your dentures to remove areas that are causing your lesions or soreness.
  • Re-enforce the interior of your denture for a better fit  through a process known as a denture reline. Denture reline can really help improve the grip and fit of your dentures when performed correctly.
  • If you haven’t tried denture glue before, it might be time that you did. Keep in mind that you lose your jawbone over time, so it’s very possible that dentures which were fitting you very well 10 years ago are now quite loose. Using just a little denture glue can make a big difference in some cases.
  • You might just be due  a new set so consider receiving new dentures.

There are many factors which affect ones decision to go with dental implants or dentures to replace their missing teeth. However keep in mind that both treatment options can work very well if executed properly and under the right circumstances. Also don’t forget that they are both a much better solution than having no teeth at all and simply gumming it.

What should I look for when shopping for dental implants?

Be careful to only seek implant treatment with an experienced dentist. In order to receive successful treatment you must go to a very skilled dentist, receive quality implants and have a skillful technician make your denture or crowns. Otherwise you will surely regret it. Here are things to watch out for when shopping for dental implants:

  • Bargains and shortcuts usually don’t work when it comes to dental implants. If you can’t afford them then don’t get them.
  • Places that advertise inexpensive dental implants are either misguiding you or will yield questionable results. It’s best that you avoid these places. Keep in mind that dental implants can fail easily if your dentist doesn’t take the right precautions to ensure their success or uses low quality dental implants.

Stories of incomplete implant treatment or cheap implants which failed soon after placement are all too common these days. In fact, you’re almost always better sticking with your dentures than going for the biggest bargain and cheapest deal you can find. You want your dentist to stand by his or her work. You also want them to be around for another 5 or 10 more years at a minimum just in case you run into issues and need to revisit them for adjustments.

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Advantages of dentures over dental implants

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