Have you lost one or more teeth due to infection or injury? No matter the cause of your missing or badly damaged teeth, you deserve a solution that looks natural, allows you to chew and speak normally, and protects your other healthy teeth.
At Union Dental Center, 2 high-tech solutions we often recommend to our patients with missing teeth are dental implants and dentures. What’s the difference between these restoration options? And which is right for you?
Today we’ll talk about all this and more.
(Psst: Stay until the end of the post to review our dentures vs implants comparison chart!)
Why replacing missing teeth is important to lifelong health
An estimated 120 million people in the U.S. are missing at least one tooth. Some people choose to live with these missing teeth rather than find a replacement solution. But ignoring the problem is not the best answer. Quite the opposite, in fact!
Failing to fix a missing tooth can result in costly, painful, and long-term health problems. Here’s why…
Your jawbone’s main function is to act as a foundation that supports your teeth. When a tooth is missing, this bone is no longer necessary. This results in the bone around the missing tooth beginning to atrophy and disintegrate. This process is known as resorption and leads to a sunken cheek appearance — it will kind of look like you’re permanently sucking on a lemon!
The worst part? This bone loss is permanent and can’t be readily reversed.
These aren’t the only issues to be aware of with missing teeth. Other resulting dental health problems include…
- Crooked and misaligned neighboring teeth
- Difficulting brushing and flossing
- Increased risk of decay, gum disease and more lost teeth (which can contribute to heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and more)
- Weaker teeth, resulting in chips and cracks
- Difficulty chewing, eating, and speaking
As you can see, it’s very important to replace missing teeth as soon as possible.
What’s the difference between dentures and implants?
Now that you understand the dangers of missing teeth, let’s take a look at your replacement options.
Dentures are a prosthetic device supported by the surrounding soft and hard tissues of the space left by your missing tooth or teeth.
There are two types of dentures available:
- Complete Dentures – Used when all (or the majority) of your teeth are missing.
- Partial Dentures – Used when you still have some healthy natural teeth remaining.
Additionally, while conventional dentures are removable, there is also a hybrid option which combines the use of a dental implant to create a permanent (non-removable) solution (more on this later!)
Gone are the days of floppy, odd-looking dentures — modern-day dentures are truly amazing! Thanks to advancements in technology, today’s dentures are always custom-made to intimately fit your mouth and look incredibly true-to-life!
At Union Dental Center, our dentures are…
- Made from the highest-quality materials
- Fully customized to ensure a great fit
- Look just like your natural teeth
- Made to fully restore your ability to chew and speak
Dental implants are another great way to replace missing teeth. In fact, dental implants are commonly referred to as today’s gold standard in tooth replacement.
With this solution, a dental implant is surgically placed in your jaw bone, just like the natural root of your tooth would be. Once the implant has been given time to heal, it will be topped off with a restoration. This may include…
- A dental crown
- Part of a bridge, helping to replace multiple teeth
- Complete or partial permanent denture
Dental implants do an excellent job of restoring your smile back to its beautiful and natural appearance.
At Union Dental Center, our dental implants are…
- Made from a safe biocompatible titanium
- Incredibly durable and long lasting
- Beautiful and look just like your natural teeth
- Made to restore your ability to chew and speak
- The best way to strengthen your jawbone
- Made to promote healthy gums
Which is right for me: implants or dentures?
If you’re dealing with missing teeth, the most important thing to do is talk to you dentist and learn their recommendation. Based on your individual health and situation, they may recommend one solution over the other.
However, if your dentist indicates that both dentures and implants are an option for you, then it’s time to make a decision. How do you decide?
Of course, your dentist can give you a breakdown of both restoration options, including what to expect from the procedure, costs involved, and more. But here are a few considerations to make.
(And remember: Stick around to the end of the post to review our handy dentures vs implants comparison chart.)
Dentures may be a better choice when…
- A less expensive upfront solution is necessary.
- You want a quick fix (a complete set of dentures can be ready in just 2-6 weeks).
- You have a weak jaw or gums and may not be a candidate for implants but still want the appearance and health benefits of an entire set of teeth.
Some cons of dentures to keep in mind…
- Removable dentures need to be carefully and properly cleaned everyday.
- It’s very important that you work with a trusted dentist for partial dentures…if the dentures don’t fit properly, they can promote decay and infection.
- Even though your dentures will be custom made to your mouth, there will be a brief adjustment period. During this time, you’ll need to get used to how they feel, how to speak properly when wearing them, and how to properly eat while wearing them.
- Must be replaced every few years.
Dental implants may be the better choice when…
- You don’t just want a façade of natural teeth, but an actual replacement.
- You want a long-term solution to tooth loss.
- Don’t want to deal with special cleaning or frequent replacements or maintenance.
- You want a solution that feels and looks exactly like natural teeth.
Some cons of implants to keep in mind…
- More expensive upfront (Though when you consider the additional costs of dentures, including cleaning solutions and denture replacements, dental implants are often a better financial solution in the long term.)
- A longer process. The entire implant procedure — from your first office visit to the day your implant is finally completed — can take up to nine months (sometimes as short as 3-4 months) and you’ll visit your dentist a number of times along the way.
- Implants do require surgery. Although your comfort and safety are a top priority, the surgery will require some additional healing time which is something you must consider when making this choice.
Dentures vs implants comparison chart
|Support||Sit on gums. With modern-day solutions, your dentist can ensure a tight and comfortable fit.||Fixed to jawbone, just like your natural teeth.|
|Longevity||May need to be replaced every few years.||Durable enough to last many years maybe even a lifetime.|
|Cost||Less expensive upfront, but additional costs over time.||Higher investment upfront, but little to no maintenance costs.|
|Feeling||Take time to get used to, but will eventually feel normal.||WIll feel and function just like your natural teeth.|
|Looks||Modern dentures look very close to natural teeth, but can be somewhat noticeable.||Look just like your natural teeth.|
|Maintenance||Removable dentures must be taken out and cleaned with a special solution on a regular basis.||Cared for in the same way you would your normal teeth — brushing and flossing every day.|
|Eating||Must be careful when eating certain hard or sticky foods.||Restores your full chewing ability.|
|Surgery||Besides removal of remaining teeth minimal surgery is required.||At least 1 surgical procedure is required.|
Are you missing teeth? Let’s talk
If you’re missing teeth, give us a call today to schedule an appointment. We want to help you understand your tooth replacement options and get you on track for a beautiful, healthy smile again. Call us at (410) 939-3950 or schedule an appointment online — we can’t wait to hear from you and are here to help!
Dr. Friedman earned his Doctorate of Dental Surgery from the University of Maryland, Baltimore College of Dental Surgery in 1996. For over 20 years, Dr. Friedman has been creating the smiles of his patients’ dreams. He believes that nothing should stand between you and a healthier smile.