Table of contents
Tooth loss is a common problem and can affect anyone at any age, and many people have lost all their natural teeth. Up until just a few decades ago, the only option for complete tooth loss was to have dentures, but nowadays, there is a choice, as you can opt for traditional dentures or dental implants. Both solutions restore missing teeth and can help improve your confidence and self-esteem, but each has benefits and drawbacks.
If you lose teeth right in your smile line, you probably feel self-conscious when talking and socializing with others, but if you lose elsewhere in the mouth or are not worried about having a gap, you may wonder if you need to replace them. The short answer is yes, as missing teeth can affect oral health in several ways you may not have realized.
Without teeth, it is difficult to eat properly, so you may choose softer, easy-to-chew foods or foods that require minimal or no chewing, resulting in a significant change of diet. Dietary changes can impact overall nutrition and may mean missing out on essential minerals and vitamins, affecting your body’s ability to function properly, heal and fight infection.
Missing teeth can affect your jaw structure, as your jawbone begins to resorb over time. This can destabilize nearby teeth, so they shift out of position, and can affect your overall facial dimensions by reducing the height between your upper and lower jaw. Consequently, your facial features may begin to collapse inward, and the loss of dimensional can affect your jaw joints, placing them under stress so they become inflamed and painful.
Choosing dental implant teeth or dentures helps protect and preserve your overall facial dimensions and ensures you can eat properly. They also help to protect any remaining natural teeth. If you are facing tooth loss or have missing teeth, we strongly recommend you replace them as soon as possible. If you have failing teeth, we can discuss possible replacements before we remove them.
Dentures are oral appliances made to look like natural teeth and are removable. They sit directly on your gums and are supported by the ridge of bone that originally held your natural teeth, relying on this ridge for retention. You must remove dentures before you go to sleep and whenever you wish to clean them thoroughly, and they must be stored in denture cleaner or a glass of water to ensure they remain moist and don’t dry out, as they could begin to warp and crack.
Dental implants are prosthetic tooth roots, usually made from titanium, inserted into your jawbone. They are designed to become fused in the bone so they are strong enough to support new implant teeth. Dental implant teeth are very strong and are designed to look and feel like natural teeth and to function similarly, providing excellent biting strength. With dental implants, you can continue eating your favorite foods without the worry that teeth will slip out of place.
Not everyone wants or is suitable for dental implants. You need reasonable dental and general health and no medical conditions that could affect healing, such as uncontrolled diabetes. Some people don’t wish to have implants because of the oral surgery needed, particularly anyone who may feel slightly nervous or anxious about dental visits. Others have worn dentures for years, are well adjusted to wearing them, are perfectly happy with the results, and don’t see any reason to change. Then there is the cost, as dentures are a low-cost and affordable way to replace multiple missing teeth, whereas dental implants cost more.
Mini dental implants are another option for denture wearers looking to secure their loose dentures. They are considerably smaller than conventional implants and can minimize or eliminate the need for bone grafting. Unlike conventional implants, they tend to have a one-piece design that combines the implant post and the abutment, culminating in a ball-shaped abutment that fits directly into special attachments on the denture in a ball-and-socket design.
With conventional dental implants, the implant post and abutment are separate. The surgical process to insert them differs, as mini dental implants are inserted directly through the gum. In contrast, a dental implant dentist must make an incision into the gum to expose the bone underneath when placing conventional dental implants. Mini dental implants are frequently used to hold dentures in place and are typically more cost-effective. Therefore, anyone who wears conventional dentures that rest directly on the gums and is looking for an affordable implant treatment to secure them might find mini dental implants offer an attractive solution. They are also an alternative for anyone who cannot have conventional implant surgery.
When cared for properly, dental implants will last longer than dentures. It’s not unusual to enjoy healthy, strong implants for decades or even life, whereas dentures need regular replacement. Although the cost of dental implants is initially higher, these long-term benefits make them an excellent investment.
The advantages of choosing dentures include the following.
The disadvantages of choosing dentures include the following.
The advantage of choosing dental implants include the following.
The only real downside of dental implants is their initial cost, as they are more expensive to make and fit due to the oral surgery and cost of implant components.
Denture implants are extremely affordable, and a set of dentures can cost a few hundred dollars. However, you can spend more on denture teeth if you opt for the best quality teeth that look and feel more natural. Even so, dental implants are inevitably more expensive. There is the cost of oral surgery to insert the implants, the cost of the implant components, and the restorative implants that replace missing teeth.
If you have dental insurance, it will almost certainly cover the cost of dentures, but it is less certain whether it will cover the cost of dental implants. Up until fairly recently, dental implants were considered a cosmetic dental treatment, but nowadays, it’s increasingly recognized that they are a necessary restorative treatment. Therefore, it’s worth checking with your insurance provider to see if they will cover all or part of the cost of dental implants.
Without a doubt, it is easier to eat with dental implants. The problem with dentures is that they become loose, especially after they are worn for several years, as the jawbone resorbs and there is less natural suction to keep the dentures in place. Dentures lack the biting strength of permanent teeth and can be damaged if you eat anything hard or crunchy. Dental implant teeth provide a biting strength similar to real teeth. They do not move around, so following a more varied and enjoyable diet is easy.
If you are missing all of your natural teeth, then your only choices are to have full dentures or dental implants to replace them. If you have some of your natural teeth, these may be strong enough to support a bridge. A dental bridge can be supported by crowns fitted over your natural teeth and which hold the bridge of replacement teeth between them. However, a dental bridge does place these natural teeth under considerable stress, so there may be a risk that they will fail in the future.
Dentures can become uncomfortable or even painful to wear, especially if they start to rub on the gums, and it may be difficult for these sore spots to heal completely. However, the process of making and fitting them is quick and non-invasive. Well-planned and placed dental implants have a high success rate of 95% or more, and complications are rare but can occur. If dental implants aren’t placed properly, they can cause nerve damage that may be temporary or permanent, resulting in numbness in the jaw. There is also a risk that they could become infected soon after surgery or years afterward. Usually, the infection is due to a lack of oral care, and it may still be possible to save the implants with prompt dental care.
Dental implants are widely regarded as the gold standard for replacing missing teeth and have been used worldwide for several decades, so they are extensively researched and studied and are very safe for use. Dentures have been around for hundreds of years, and while many people find them easy to use, others struggle and may benefit from dental implant treatment that can provide them with teeth that remain firmly in place.
Century Medical and Dental Center is an accredited healthcare facility in NY that operates in accordance with Article 28, a public health law. This law regulates and recognizes accreditation for public healthcare facilities, ensuring they are licensed and operated correctly. By undergoing the Article 28 process and achieving accreditation, Century Medical and Dental Center demonstrates its commitment to meeting the highest standards of care.
As a multidisciplinary medical center, we have highly qualified doctors, nurses, and support staff who are working hard to provide the best medical care to patients in Midtown Manhattan, NY, Downtown Brooklyn, NY, including Brooklyn Heights, Dumbo, Prospect Heights, Park Slope, Clinton Hill, Boerum Hill, Red Hook, and Bedford-Stuyvesant.