A quarter of adults 65 or older have up to 8 missing teeth. Tooth loss is common, especially among the older population. When we lose teeth, we need to fill the missing space to prevent tooth loss, changes in the facial structure which can change our appearance, and shifting teeth which can cause crooked and overcrowding teeth.
Two of the most popular tooth replacement options in dentistry are dental implants and dentures. This blog from Sarasota Bay Dental is a cost-benefit analysis of the two restorative treatments. To learn more about each procedure and to find out which could be better for you, read on.
Dental implants involve a minor surgical procedure to implant a titanium post inside the jawbone. Once the jawbone grows around the implant (osseointegration) it will become fused with the bone and become stimulated whenever you chew. This allows the tooth replacement to function like a real tooth. An abutment is attached to the implant at a separate appointment and then finally a dental crown.
Procedure & Healing - Implants are a heavily involved and lengthy procedure. It involves multiple minor surgeries and months of osseointegration. It takes 3-6 months for the implant to fuse with the jaw bone. Successful osseointegration is important for the success of dental implants.
Your gums are opened and your jawbone drilled into. It’s important to have adequate jaw bone density for this procedure or you may require additional bone grafting. You will heal from these surgical procedures rather quickly, in a few days to 2 weeks. The longest process is osseointegration.
Benefits - Though the implant process is lengthy, it is a worthy investment if you’re looking for a long-term tooth replacement. If you take care of your implants properly, they can last from 20 years to a lifetime. The post that’s implanted into your jaw is very secure, so it does not shift around when you chew or speak.
The only part of a dental implant that needs replacing is the crown. Implants are low maintenance, so you clean them just like your natural teeth. Because the implants fuse with the jawbone, they are also the only restoration option that preserves the jawbone and prevents any further bone loss. This prevents shifting teeth, changes in the facial structure, and many other oral health problems.
Cost & Longevity - Dental implants are more expensive than dentures upfront. However, dentures don’t last nearly as long as implants. While you will need to replace your dental crown 5-15 years, the implant will stay securely snug in your jawbone if implantation is successful.
This means you may never need to replace your implant and you can be assured that you won’t suffer from bone loss. Implants, however, are not the best option for many missing teeth, because implants are required for every single missing tooth which can be a very lengthy and costly procedure.
Dentures replace missing teeth through a removable prosthetic. Depending on how many missing teeth you have, you could need partial or full dentures. Partials replace a few missing teeth, while full arch dentures replace an entire arch or both arches of teeth.
To have full arch dentures placed, you need to have your remaining natural teeth extracted first. You do not need to have an ample amount of jawbone density to be a suitable candidate for dentures.
The framework of dentures is usually made out of acrylic or metal materials and the false teeth are made of porcelain or composite resin. They are held into place through an adhesive but can also be held into place through a series of implants.
Procedure & Healing - Unlike dental implants, dentures can be made and fitted relatively quickly. If you are receiving full dentures, the longest part of this process will be healing from your extracted teeth before you can have your dentures fitted onto your gums. This typically takes about 6-8 weeks.
Impressions are taken of your natural teeth to create a realistic tooth replacement that will look natural. A jaw record in which your jaw is measured and how your bite fits together will be taken into account to ensure that the dentures fit inside your mouth and jaw. You will be fitted with temporary dentures and check if any adjustments need to be made
Benefits - Dentures are a great and convenient tooth replacement option for patients who are not suitable candidates for dental implants. Dentures are very natural looking, the procedure is much faster than implants, and it requires minimal to no oral surgery.
If you don’t have enough jaw bone density for implants, dentures are the next best thing for you. They are also great for people with many missing teeth who cannot afford to go through the long and expensive process of receiving many dental implants. Dentures can also be secured into the mouth through a series of 2-4 implants, known as implant-supported dentures.
Cost & Longevity - Dentures may be cheaper, but they aren’t a long-term tooth replacement solution. Dentures require more cleaning and maintenance than dental implants to keep them healthy and last for a few years.
They are also prone to irritating the gums, shifting around, and causing ulcers or feel uncomfortable in comparison to implants. Dentures last between 5-10 years with a maximum lifespan of 15 years.
After reading through the advantages and disadvantages of dental implants, if you’re still unsure which is right for you, contact us at Sarasota Bay Dental to find out more. We offer high-quality dentures and dental implants for every patient’s needs in Sarasota. The best way to determine what tooth replacement is best for you is to attend a consultation. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Robert Miller today!