Missing teeth can impact your ability to do everyday things like chew food, talk, and smile, but there are many different ways to address these issues. Two of the most common solutions for missing teeth are dentures and dental implants. So which one is right for you?
The answer depends on lots of different factors. Your dentist can discuss these factors with you, ensuring that you’re given the best treatment for your oral health, but it’s also good to have a think about your goals and personal preferences before making any decisions.
Dentures are essentially “false” teeth, often made of materials like porcelain, acrylic, or cast metal. They fit into the space where teeth have been lost. Before deciding on the right solution for you, your dentist will evaluate your current dental needs. When the decision is made, the teeth are extracted and an immediate denture is fitted on the same day. Depending on each situation, the denture may need to be relined three to four months after the extraction.
To make dentures, your dentist will create impressions and moulds of your teeth and jaw, which are then sent away to a specialist laboratory technician. Your dentist can help you to decide on which tooth shapes, sizes and colours fit your mouth and suit you best. Once the dentures are sent back to your dentist, you’ll be contacted for an initial fitting and any necessary adjustments to ensure they are as comfortable as possible. You may be required to return for subsequent appointments to address any soreness and make further adjustments.
Pros Of Dentures:
- The process can be quick and simple. Same day dentures are usually recommended.
- More cost-effective than dental implants
- Recommended for patients with weak or unsuitable gums or jaws
- Provides support to your facial muscles, so that your teeth maintain a natural look
Cons Of Dentures:
- Without denture adhesive, dentures are susceptible to moving or dislodging while talking or chewing
- May cause some discomfort
- May cause some difficulty with eating and speaking
- Require ongoing cleaning and maintenance as opposed to dental implants that can be cared for as natural teeth
- Will take time in getting used to wearing dentures
- Require periodical replacements. Dentures have a lifespan of approximately five to seven years, depending on several factors. Wearing old dentures can result in problems with TMJ, a flattened or sunken appearance and can add to difficulty with chewing, therefore, it is recommended they be replaced every five years on average.
- Dentures do not prevent further deterioration
- Psychosocial factors associated with wearing a denture
Dental implants are an alternative solution for patients who do not wish to wear removable dentures or for those who can no longer wear them. Made of titanium, the dental implant itself acts as an artificial root for your replacement tooth.
Before the treatment commences, a thorough medical history is taken to ensure suitability. A 3d scan is essential to assess bone quality/quantity and to plan for the implant placement. a computerised-aided surgical guide is now a standard practice to ensure more accurate placement of the implant.
A local anaesthetic is administered before surgery begins. The dental implant is then placed into the bone socket and jaw during surgery. The jawbone then naturally fuses to the dental implant over a course of approximately three to four months, through a process called osseointegration.
Once the jawbone is completely fused, a carefully sculpted replacement tooth (an abutment) is attached on the implant to support the crown, bridge or fixed denture. Full functionality is restored creating a natural-looking tooth that won’t come loose.
When properly cared for, dental implants can last you a lifetime. Below is a non-exhaustive list of the pros and cons for dental implants:
Pros Of Dental Implants:
- A permanent tooth replacement solution that poses no risk of moving or dislodging
- May look or feel more like a natural tooth
- Require less maintenance than dentures, once implanted
- Easily incorporates into your regular oral health routine with brushing twice a day and flossing once a day
- Assist in protecting the jawbone by preventing further deterioration
- Less risk of cavities developing. Since dental implants are made with titanium and affixed with a crown, bridge or fixed denture, cavities cannot occur.
Cons Of Dental Implants:
- The process requires more consultation and time, than with dentures
- Less cost-effective than dentures
- Not recommended for patients with weak or unsuitable gums or jaws
- Like all surgical procedures, it carries the risk of complications such as excessive bleeding, nerve trauma, post-operative pain and rejections
- Not suitable if you are a smoker
The Cost of Dental Implants versus Dentures
Cost is a sizeable factor when comparing treatment options. Dental implants tend to be more costly than dentures. However, if considering dentures, there are other factors to keep in mind such as additional maintenance costs for dentures, like fixatives and cleaning solutions. Dentures may also require adjustment as your jaw structure changes with age. This can also add to the overall cost of dentures.
Want to find out more about solutions for replacing missing teeth? Contact us on (07) 5575 9100 to arrange your consultation at our Gold Coast practice!
*Before proceeding with a surgical or invasive procedure, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.