Dentures or Dental Implants: Which is Best For Me?
Your smile is important. A beautiful, attractive smile can make a world of difference not only in how others perceive you but also in how you may view yourself. For many patients, the value of being able and willing to smile confidently is well worth the costs of cosmetic dentistry.
But which tooth-replacement strategy works best for you?
The answer will depend entirely on the person asking the question. It can only be answered on a case by case basis. That’s why a visit to Willow Pass Dental Care is so important. Talking directly with trained dental professionals and experienced doctors can help you determine how to best meet your needs and desires.
When it comes to replacing missing teeth, we can give you the professional advice and medical insights you need to decide whether to opt for dental implants, traditional dentures, or another tooth-replacement strategy.
Most of our patients opt between traditional dentures or dental implants to replace missing teeth. These two fundamental replacement strategies differ significantly not only in their execution but also in their costs, longevity, aesthetics, functionality, comfort, and much more.
Both approaches to replacing missing teeth have distinct and discernable advantages and disadvantages that every patient should take into consideration. Understanding these two solutions is the key.
Dentures: How Do They Work?
Traditional dentures aren’t exactly the definition of cutting edge cosmetic dentistry or medical science. They are simple prosthetic constructs that function precisely how you would expect them to.
Edentulous, or toothless, patients place the prosthetic into their mouths as artificial teeth replacements. Dentures rest atop the gums and remain in place, albeit sometimes haphazardly, through suction. As one would imagine, this is hardly the most stable arrangement.
Dentures are known to move about and even accidentally fall out of a patient’s mouth. However, when properly made and professionally fitted into place by an experienced dentist, dentures can work quite well and look very natural and aesthetic.
Dentures are typically custom fabricated from a mold or impression. They can be made from a variety of dental-grade materials including ceramic and acrylic. Acrylic is by far the most popular and the most affordable. However, as we will discuss further below, affordability often comes at the cost of longevity and convenience.
Dental Implants: How Do They Work?
The dental mechanics behind conventional dental implants are much more involved. Dental implants consist of an assembly of distinct components that come together to create a single artificial replacement tooth. This assembly consists of a post, or implant, an abutment, and a crown that caps the whole component. Each part places an important role and roughly mimic the various parts of a natural tooth.
The post, or implant, mimics a natural tooth’s roots and anchors the replacement tooth into a patient’s jaw.
The abutment, which is really just an extension of the implant, sticks out past the soft tissues. It provides support for a prosthetic crown which is the third component.
The crown is the visible portion of an implanted tooth and is designed to look indistinguishable from a natural tooth.
Each dental implant procedure begins with an assessment of a patient’s current dental condition and, very importantly, the suitability of their underlying jaw bone for receiving dental implants. The most critical variable dentists and oral surgeons look for during an assessment of potential implant candidates is adequate jaw bone depth.
Bone depth is significant primarily because the dental implant assembly must be embedded into the bone and allowed to osseointegrate to provide stability. Inadequate jawbone depth may simply not allow implants to remain in place. Or, if the bone is thin and brittle, an implant procedure can actually fracture or break the jaw bone leading to potentially problematic dental and medical complications.
If a doctor has determined that a patient’s jaw bone simply isn’t adequate for a conventional implant procedure, there is another popular option. Patients with limited jaw bone depth might be good candidates for All-On-4® dental implants. This alternative implantation technique utilizes far fewer implants to achieve a full-mouth restoration. Better yet, when it comes to total arch replacements, All-On-4® dental implants can actually be significantly less costly than conventional dental implants.
Case Study - Custom Implant Denture
All-On-Four Dental Implants: How Do They Work?
Like conventional dental implants, All-On-4® dental implants rely on embedded posts, typically made of titanium, to anchor dental prosthetics in place. Where they differ is in the number of implants required.
With a conventional implantation procedure, each replacement tooth must be painstakingly implanted one at a time. Not only does this take time, but it also means that for a complete arch restoration, 16 individual implants must be made, embedded, and allowed to heal. For a full-mouth restoration, that’s 32 individual implants which can become quite costly.
All-On-4® dental implants, only require 4 implants per arch or 8 implants for a full-mouth restoration. This is achieved by utilizing an intermediary bridge. The reduced number of implants support a bridge which, in turn, support the prosthetic teeth. Also known as an implant-supported bridge procedure, All-On-4® dental implant treatments are a fusion of implant technology and old-school denture ideas.
Which Tooth Replacement Treatment Do You Recommend?
For single or limited tooth replacement, we recommend dental implants for patients that have the budget.
Dental implants offer significant advantages that make them a better choice functionally than traditional dentures.
For full mouth replacement, conventional implants may be unaffordable for some. Or, for medical reasons, some patients may just not be suitable for conventional implants. For these patients, we recommend an implant-supported bridge solution such as All-On-Four dental implants. Implant-supported bridge solutions offer many of the same benefits as individual implants but are less invasive and less expensive.
For patients for whom budget is a concern, or for elderly patients for whom investing in full-mouth reconstruction and rehabilitation may not make sense, traditional dentures are a perfectly adequate and a functional solution that can still deliver decent results.
Dental Implants or Dentures: How Do I Decide?
Self-evaluation of your own needs, desires, and budget is essential.
Other factors to keep in mind are your health and your existing oral conditions including the depth of your jaw bone, your tolerance for oral surgery and subsequent recovery, and what level of functionality or aesthetics you want. A younger patient, for example, concerned about not only functionality but also aesthetics may opt for long-lasting, beautiful conventional implants. A mature adult who wants an implant-based solution but doesn’t want to get bone grafts to augment jaw bone depth might choose All-On-4® dental implants. Finally, an elderly person for whom budget may be the overriding concern will best be served with a set of tried and true, and less expensive dentures.
The Best Prosthodontists Get The Best Results
When it comes to tooth replacement treatments and therapies, the number one difference maker is the Prosthodontist or dental professional in charge. Whether you opt for individual implants, implant-supported dentures or the tried and true traditional dentures, it is essential to have a doctor who is not only experienced and certified but also has a long and verifiable history of great work. The best doctors get the best results.
At Willow Pass Dental Care, our patients can rest easy knowing that their doctors, such as Dr. Reza Khazaie, DDS, Prosthodontist, have the best qualifications, training, and experience to produce the beautiful results you want. Are you considering dental implants, implant-supported dentures, or just plain old dentures? Contact Willow Pass Dental Care today for an in-depth consultation about which of our many dental and cosmetic procedures would be best suited for your personal needs.