Dental Implants vs Dentures. How to choose the right option?
Anyone with any experience with dentures may well be haunted with visions of teeth soaking overnight in a glass on the bedside table, or a slight slip of the mouth resulting in a set of falsies hurtling across the room. Comedic anecdotes such as these were commonplace up until the end of the 20th century since those who had suffered severe tooth loss would most likely have been fitted with false teeth.
Fast forward to the 21st century and dentures aren’t as prolific as they once were. Those growing up in the ’70s and ’80s will have clear memories of their grandparents grappling with their out-of-control chompers. By comparison, Millenials and Gen Z are probably oblivious to the existence of removable teeth.
So, what has happened over the last 20 something years to change the face of replacement teeth? The simple answer is Dental Implants. Tooth loss continues to occur as a common characteristic of ageing but the way in which we now approach it has evolved. Here we will be discussing Dental Implants vs Dentures, but you will soon find that one is not necessarily exclusive to the other.
What is the difference between Dental Implants vs Dentures?
We should probably start first of all by describing what dentures are. Dentures essentially are false teeth. Up until recently, we would also assume that dentures are typically a set of removable false teeth. Whilst there are records of primitive dentures being used as far back as 7000BC, their modern-day incarnation emerged during the 18th century.
Since that time, dentures have been the option ‘du jour’ for replacing absent teeth. Dentures can fill a space left by either an individual tooth (partial denture) or a full set of teeth (complete dentures.) The reason for doing this is to avoid many of the problems that arise as a result of a gappy grin; speech impediments, problems eating, sunken cheeks and risk of infection.
Dentures are usually made of a combination of acrylic, porcelain and/or metal. They are crafted to fit the contours of your gums and jaw through impressions that are taken of your mouth.
It is usually preferred to remove dentures at night, to give your mouth a rest. It is most definitely advisable to remove dentures to clean, as well as cleaning your gums and tongue as normal with toothpaste.
On the flip side, let’s look at Dental Implants.
Dental Implants were inspired as an alternative substitute for missing teeth. Whilst the concept of implanting material into the gum has existed for thousands of years, dental implants as we know them today was masterminded in the 1960s. The application was discovered kind of by accident when a Swedish Surgeon demonstrated that Titanium fuses beautifully with bone tissue. This integration synthesises the solid attachment that usually comes from a tooth root embedded into the jaw.
Introducing a ‘foreign’ metal implant with organic bone matter is one of the greatest dental revolutions of the last 60 years. This stable connection below the gum provides the missing link to replace absent teeth on a permanent basis.
Dental Implants are typically formed of a bio-compatible titanium screw, which is anchored into the jaw bone, combined with a titanium abutment that serves as the connection between the anchor and the replacement tooth. The tooth that is connected to an implant can be in the form of a crown a bridge or a denture, so whilst we are considering Dental Implants vs Dentures there are many occasions in which the two work together hand in hand.
Dental Implants vs Dentures. Which are better?
Since we are now discussing the possibility of combining these two tooth replacement procedures, it’s not really a matter of comparing dental implants vs dentures, but considering the pros and cons of dental implants vs traditional removable dentures.
Can last a lifetime Teeth are secure Look & feel like natural teeth Eat & talk as normal Clean as normal teeth Prevents bone loss More cost-effective in the long term Rarely available on the NHS
Surgery required Higher upfront cost Not suitable in cases of severe bone loss
Does not require surgery Available on the NHS Prevents the look of a sunken face Initial cost is lower Suitable even in cases of bone loss
May need replacing as jaw bone changes Can accelerate bone loss Can feel bulky Slippage is common Biting and chewing can be difficult Need to be removed to clean Can cause friction to the gums
How can dental implants and dentures work together?
The advances made in recent years with the application of implants have eliminated many of the problems associated with removable dentures. Rather than suffering from embarrassing slippages and sore gums, an implant secured denture provides the closest possible alternative to your own natural teeth.
Unlike in the case of individual tooth implants, a full arch denture can be connected to the jawline with just 2-6 implants. These strategically placed root replacements provide sufficient support to hold the entire denture in place. It isn’t therefore necessary to have an individual screw for each missing tooth.
An advantage of using implants and dentures together is that by mimicking the tooth root, the implant will provide additional strength to the jaw and prevent further loss of bone.
Furthermore, when used in conjunction with implants, dentures can be made much smaller. Removable dentures are reliant on suction to the gums and can feel quite bulky due to their surface area coverage. When retailed with screws the structure of the denture can be reduced in size, giving a much more comfortable and natural feel.
Using the All-on-4 technique of dental implants, we are able to replace an entire arch of teeth, in just one day! The confidence and convenience that this can bring to your life, after living with removable dentures is out of this world. We highly recommend this approach to anyone who is eligible as the investment will pay itself back in dividends through the course of your lifetime.
Are Implants more expensive than dentures?
This is an interesting conundrum. When weighing up the cost of dental implants vs dentures, dentures appear to be the more economical option. However, the calculation is not nearly this simple.
It is important to take into consideration the point here about longevity, wear and tear. Whilst the upfront cost of dentures is lower, the reduced lifetime, bone deterioration and follow up treatments and adjustments is not something that can be ignored.
With the right care, implant-supported dentures can last a lifetime and promote other aspects of your oral health at the same time. If you’d like to find out more about how dental implants work and how much they cost, request a free consultation today!