Toothless man’s dilemma: Are dentures or dental implants better for me?
You need something to replace your teeth once you lose them . You’re options are either receiving a set of dentures or placing dental implants in your mouth. Now you know that dental implants can be expensive and take a good while to complete. So what are the advantages of dental implants over dentures? Is it enough to justify their high prices in addition to how long it takes to receive them? Or should you stick with yet another denture reline and adjustment or try putting more denture adhesives for just a while longer?
Replacing all your teeth with full dentures
A full denture, also known as complete denture, is a false set of teeth that replaces your own teeth. Wearing full dentures can be a bit of a hit or miss. Some denture wearers do real well with them and comfortably eat, talk and function as if it were their own actual teeth. However others find their false teeth to be loose, painful and a constant struggle to keep in place. If this applies to you, then you’ve probably been looking at other options, such as placing dental implants on your mouth instead.
Replacing all your teeth with dental implants
If you are serious about replacing all of your teeth with dental implants, then you have two basic treatment options to choose from. These are both excellent options which give you superior teeth to dentures:
Implant-retained bridge also referred to as All-on-fours
An implant-retained bridge gives you a full set of dental implants with a fixed bridge sitting on top. This treatment is what most people imagine when thinking about replacing all of their teeth with dental implants. Implant-retained bridge treatment, or all-on-fours, typically takes around 6 months to a year and costs in the tens-of-thousands range.
Implant-supported denture also referred to as overdentures
An implant-supported denture involves placing several dental implants to anchor your dentures in place and stabilize them. Keep in mind that you will still be able to take your dentures in-and-out with this treatment as opposed to all-on-fours which locks your false teeth in place. This treatment is very effective and much less expensive than an implant-retained bridge is. However since few people know about it, it’s not as popular of a treatment as it should be. Implant-supported denture treatment, or overdentures, typically takes less than 6 months to complete and costs a few thousand dollars per set.
Advantages of dental implants over dentures
For the purposes of this article, we will be comparing both dental implant treatment options as a whole and compare them to full dentures:
More stable false teeth
Receiving just a few dental implants can really help secure your false teeth in their place. Many denture wearers struggle to keep their false teeth from moving as much. Their dentures move a lot when they are eating and chewing, particularly with harder food items. Loose dentures can cut and lacerate your gums and cause repeated episodes of pain and swelling. And the older you get, the more your jawbone shrinks, causing your dentures to become looser and looser.
Dental implants, whether in the form of all-on-four or overdentures, help anchor teeth in your mouth. Having a few dental implants essentially gives you the equivalent of having a few teeth back in your mouth. It would be as if you were wearing partial dentures instead of full dentures. Which is yet another reason we prefer dental implants over dentures, especially full dentures.
In most instances, dental implants are actually even a better option than wearing partial dentures. This is because when wearing partial dentures you still have teeth remaining and have to constantly worry about cavities or teeth loosening over time. With dental implants there are no more concern of cavities or lose teeth any longer. In fact well placed dental implants last forever if placed properly and allowed to heal.
Your false teeth will be which less bulky with dental implants in place
Full dentures rely on the suction against your gums to remain in place. After all, what else is there for them to grip onto when there are no more teeth left in your mouth? As a result full dentures are made bulky to cover as much gum tissue as possible for maximum suction and retention.
With dental implants in place, your false teeth can now use these implants as anchors to secure them in place instead of relying on your gums. Your dentist can make you a much less bulky set of teeth with implants over dentures alone. This means that you can receive false teeth that are much less bulky with dental implants over dentures. No longer do you need all that excess acrylic just to hold your dentures in place:
- Once you place dental implants, your top full dentures no longer need to cover the roof of your mouth (palate). This means that your dentist can make you a much smaller denture and open up your palate. As a result you can eat, taste and talk much more comfortably with your upper dentures.
- With dental implants your bottom full dentures will not be falling out when you talk or push against them with your tongue. Loose bottom dentures is extremely common and placing just a few implants can really make a difference.
Successful dental implants last you a lifetime
Well placed dental implants typically last you a lifetime. Unlike your own teeth, once dental implants are placed and allowed to successfully heal they almost never fall out of your mouth. Chances of successful dental implants failing once they’ve had a chance to properly heal is very slim. Once you receive your implants, you get to keep them for the rest of your life.
Of course problems can occur with the denture or bridge which sits on top of your dental implants. However if your dentist makes a nice bridge or denture to anchor on top of the dental implants, then you should have a nice, stable set of teeth with which you can chew just about anything. Once your dental implant treatment is completed, you no longer have to go back to the dentist every couple of years for a new set of false teeth. In fact this set may very well be the last set of false teeth that you’ll ever need!