Comparing dentures to dental implants
Now we know that not everyone can afford dental implants. First off, dental implants are very expensive. Secondly, just about no dental insurance covers them. Sure there may be an insurance here or there that covers individual dental implants, yet none of them cover replacing all of your teeth with implants. As a result, you have to either pay or possibly finance implant treatment. If you can’t afford it then you must stick with dentures over implants for the time being.
In addition to the costs of implants, there’s also a surgery involved in implant placement. On top of that treatment typically requires months or even years to fully complete. So while you keep thinking and saving up for implants why don’t we go ahead and review the benefits of dentures over implants:
Advantages of dentures over dental implants
There are typically two options available to those considering dental implants to replace all their missing teeth:
- The less costly treatment option is an actual denture which locks onto several dental implants. This is known as an implant-supported denture or overdenture.
- The more costly and effective treatment option is a long span bridge which is fully supported and sits on top of several dental implants. This is known as an implant-retained bridge or all-on-fours.
So your choices to replacing all of your missing teeth comes down to either dentures, implants that support dentures or a bridge that sits atop implants. Lets take a look at the advantages of dentures over implants in the forms discussed above:
Dentures cost much less than dental implants
While dental implants may give you great results, they do come at a very high price. Implant-supported dentures typically cost several thousands of dollars for the implants as well as the new denture that sits on top. Implant-retained bridge usually sets you back several tens-of-thousands for the implants as well as the bridge!
A full set of dentures costs much less than dental implants do. Typically each denture costs a couple hundred or at most just over a thousand dollars. Obviously this is very little in comparison to what dental implants cost. In fact it’s likely that you will pay the same for your entire denture as you would for a single dental implant!
Dentures aren’t actually expensive when you consider that one set replaces all of your missing teeth. Also dentists know that if you’re getting dentures over implants, you’re probably seeking the least expensive treatment option available. As such they try to charge you accordingly and keep your costs reasonable. After all, making a set of dentures isn’t too much work for your dentist given that the assistant and lab technician does most of their work. In fact it’s only in the United States and select countries that only a dentist is allowed to make dentures. In most other countries they have a denturist who makes your false teeth. Denturists might not be professionally educated, but it takes more artistic skills rather than a dental degree to fabricate dentures anyways.
Additionally, dentures are almost always a covered procedure by most, if not all, dental insurances. In fact insurances love paying for full dentures knowing that there’s no more teeth left in your mouth for them to pay towards! Even the worse government dental plans typically don’t cover much else but they do cover denture treatment for toothless individuals.
Receiving dentures is much easier than placing implants
To begin with, dental implants involve needles and surgeries while dentures don’t. Of course it’s true that dental implant placement isn’t really painful, but it’s still a surgery. So you might have taught you’re done getting needles once your last tooth was removed, but here you are preparing for yet another needle and surgical procedure!
Another issue with dental implants is that not everyone qualifies as easily for receiving them. Heavy smokers, radiation therapy patients and those with certain bone conditions may not qualify for implant placement altogether. Additionally, those with poor jawbone strength will have a hard time receiving implants as well. Keep in mind that teeth is what hold your jawbone in place. Once you lose all or your teeth, your jawbone starts to shrink very rapidly. If your teeth have been missing for a very long period, say several decades, then you may not be a suitable candidate for dental implants due to lack of sufficient jawbone.
Weak jawbone can’t support dental implants and failure rates go up substantially under in the absence of sufficient bone. In fact you might be required to get an additional surgery, such as a block bone graft or sinus lift, in order to create sufficient bone for implant placement. These additional surgical procedures are difficult, painful and very expensive. They also require months to years to yield satisfactory results. On top of that, there is an elevated chance that your body will reject the implants regardless of bone placement.
Time it takes to make dentures over implants
Making dentures takes anywhere from one to two months. Add another month or so for possible adjustments and getting accustomed to them, and you’re still only at three months. In fact there are places that have their own denture laboratory and fabricate false teeth within the same day. If you live in a country that has denturist you should be able to receive your dentures within just one to two days.
On the other hand, placing and restoring dental implants take a very long time. You’re generally looking at between six months to a year for most treatment cases. However if you run into problems, like say if an implant fails, of if you require additional surgeries for bone augmentation, then treatment could easily stretch beyond one year and possibly into a second year. Implant related procedures take much longer than dentures do and require a lifetime of follow-up thereafter to maintain.
It might just be that a better fitting denture solves your problems
Making a great set of false teeth is very challenging for most dentists believe or not. Not every dentist gets to make many dentures during their career, especially the ones who work in upper class neighborhoods. If you go to a dentist who hasn’t made hundreds of dentures already, chances of running into problems is very high. After all there are so many factors which affects the outcome that your dentist needs to pay close attention to:
- Choosing the right size, color and location for your teeth.
- Taking accurate impressions of your jaw so the technician can make you a well-fitting set of false teeth.
- Measuring that your bite is correct and teeth touch one another appropriately.
- Making sure the dentures gives your facial profile and lip positioning the right appearance.
- Selecting the right shade and thickness of acrylic to correctly mimic your gum tissue.
Most people only think about the color and fit of their dentures when thinking about a good or bad denture. Yet each and everyone of these factors we just mentioned can make a big difference in how well your dentures experience is going to be. Only an experienced dentist using a skilled lab technician can make you a great set of dentures that you’re going to truly enjoy.
Chance are that if you go to a dentist without much denture experience or one who uses a budget lab, you’ll end up with a poorly fabricated set of false teeth. If you’re having problems with your current set of dentures due to their poor quality then consider the option that a better set might just resolve most of your issues. Of course this means going back to your dentist or possibly another one to receive a new set. However if it does save you from having to place implants in the end, then it was certainly worth it.