Losing your teeth is a serious situation and should be addressed and treated as soon as possible. So many aspects of your life will change and choosing the best replacement option should be well thought out. If you are missing most or all of an arch of teeth, you will have the choice between a denture and dental implants. Weighing the pros and cons of each option can be difficult. Dr. Pamela Doray is a leading reconstructive dentist in Philadelphia, recommends dental implants over dentures to her patients because they are the next best thing to your natural teeth. Below we lay out the pros and cons of both options.

Dental Implants

A dental implant is a tiny screw-like post made of titanium. A set of implants will be surgically implanted in to your jaw bone and act as the anchor for a new set of teeth. After surgery, you will need to wait until the posts have healed and fused with your jaw bone. Next, abutments will be attached to the implants and then your final restoration will be attached. When an entire arch of teeth is missing, Dr. Doray will implant as few as four strategically placed dental implants that will secure a cosmetic denture. When you compare dental implants to dentures, there are many pros to choosing implants including:

  • Next best option to natural teeth
  • Better quality of life
  • Will not slip or wiggle because they are surgically implanted
  • Presence of the implant in your jawbone will prevent bone loss
  • Not bulky and will give you a natural appearance and smile
  • You will have a 100% normal chewing function
  • Over a 95% success rate
  • Comfortable and not bulky
  • With proper care they can last a lifetime

Dentures

A denture is a set of false teeth that is removable. If you are missing an entire row of teeth, you will be fitted for a full denture and a partial denture if most teeth are missing. Your dentist will take impressions of your mouth and teeth and they will be made in a dental laboratory. Dentures are made up of a base that is typically made of acrylic resin and metal that will rest on your gums. The teeth portion are attached to the base and typically made of plastic or porcelain but can differ depending on quality, color and size. When you compare dental implants vs dentures, there are many cons to choosing a denture including:

  • They are bulky and noticeable
  • May take up a lot of space in your mouth
  • Requires adhesive to stay in place in your mouth
  • Takes ample time to get used to them
  • Requires time consuming daily maintenance
  • They slip around in your mouth making talking and eating difficult
  • There is only a 30-40% normal chewing function
  • They will need rebased as your jawbone diminishes and the fit changes
  • Requires periodic maintenance
  • They do not even compare to fully functioning, natural teeth that are anchored to your jawbone

Comparing the Treatment Time

The time it will take you to receive your dentures will be significantly less than the time it will take to receive your final implant restoration. In about three to six weeks, you can have dentures. Getting dental implants is a long process that will require ample planning, surgeries, and healing time. It could take over six months before your final restoration is placed. Once placed though, you will not know the difference between your implants and natural teeth. It may be faster to get dentures, but getting used to them will take a long time.

Comparing the Costs

When comparing the cost of dental implants vs dentures, there is quite a large cost gap. Dentures can run anywhere from $300 to $3,000 depending on your circumstances and the type of replacement teeth you need. Replacing a full or partial set of damaged or missing teeth with dental implants can cost anywhere from $20,000 to $45,000 according to a 2010 article in the New York Times. Dental implants are a highly customized treatment that also requires at least one surgery. It’s also important to remember that dentures will need replaced, realigned, or rebased over time. They also require a lot of extra care and maintenance where you will need to buy special products and cleaners. It is even possible for a person to spend more on dentures as times passes than on implants. Dental implants are a long-term investment in your oral health and overall well-being.

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