The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research indicates that adults between 20 and 65 have an average of 25.5 remaining teeth. If that isn’t alarming (since you should have at least 28 teeth, provided your wisdom teeth have been removed), 2.2% of adults 20 to 64 years old have no remaining teeth. But adults lose their teeth for various reasons, most commonly attributed to gum disease, tooth decay, and poor oral hygiene. Failing to replace those teeth can negatively affect you later in life. If you are missing teeth, exploring tooth replacement options is necessary.

Exploring Tooth Replacement Options—Implants vs. Dentures

If you are one of the many American adults missing a tooth, you know the negative impacts it can have. Missing teeth can impair your ability to bite, chew, and speak, and the chances are if you are missing a visible tooth, you don’t feel like smiling as often as you used to. To top it off, missing teeth can cause our other teeth to shift in our mouths, making our faces look sunken and shallow.

So what are your options to replace a missing tooth? For most patients, there are three primary options.

  • Dentures—Most of us are familiar with the concept of dentures. They are temporary and removable dental prostheses made of acrylic resin and metal. Your dentist custom makes dentures to fit your mouth; when in, they look and function like natural teeth.
  • Bridges—Dental bridges replace one or more missing teeth. In this case, a bridge consists of two or more crowns on either side of the gap left behind by your missing tooth/teeth. The crowns are placed on the remaining teeth or dental implants on either side of the opening, which serve as anchors to hold the bridge in place. A false tooth is used to fill the space. Similar to dentures, bridges can restore the function and appearance of missing teeth and last many years with proper care and maintenance.
  • Dental implants—These are an increasingly popular solution for those with missing teeth. Implants, implant-supported dentures, and all-on-four implants look, feel, and function the most like your natural teeth, versus dentures and bridges. Dental implants are a permanent solution that involves surgically placing a small titanium post into your jawbone. The titanium post functions as an artificial tooth root, providing a stable base for a replacement tooth or dental crown. Once the post is securely anchored in the jawbone, a dental crown, bridge, or denture can be attached to complete the restoration. When you practice good oral hygiene, your implants can last a lifetime.

While dentures have been around for centuries, dental implants are a newer technology that has recently gained popularity. Dental implants and dentures, however, are the two most common options for replacing missing teeth. But which option is better?

The Advantages of Dental Implants vs. Dentures

Though dentures are a highly effective tooth replacement option, some patients complain because they are uncomfortable and don’t feel natural. Further, dentures can slip in your mouth, causing embarrassing situations when you eat or speak. To that end, the American Dental Association recommends you replace your dentures every five to seven years for proper fit and appearance. So, though dentures are less expensive upfront than implants, they can get costly over time. For this reason, many patients wish to understand dental implant advantages better.

1. Comfort and Fit

One of the most significant advantages of dental implants vs. dentures is comfort and fit. Implants are surgically placed in the jawbone and become a permanent part of your mouth. They are designed to look and feel like natural teeth, so you won’t even notice they’re there. Conversely, dentures can be uncomfortable and slip or move around in your mouth.

2. Eat what you want.

Though there is a recovery period after your dental implant surgery, once you are healed, you can eat what you want, when you want. With dentures, you are limited in some foods you can enjoy. Specifically, denture wearers need to avoid the following:

  • Sticky and gummy foods
  • Sesame seeds, popcorn, and nuts
  • Bagels
  • Solid and fibrous fruits and vegetables like carrots, apples, and corn on the cob
  • Tough meats

You will have no limitations with dental implants, though a tooth-friendly diet is always recommended.

3. Aesthetics

Implants look and feel like natural teeth, making them more aesthetically pleasing than dentures. They are also more stable and don’t shift or move around in your mouth, meaning fewer of those embarrassing situations we mentioned above.

4. Durability

Dental implants are designed to last many years, if not a lifetime, with proper care and maintenance. Conversely, dentures may need to be replaced every five to seven years for proper fit and appearance.

5. Jawbone Stimulation and Preservation

Unlike dentures, dental implants stimulate the jawbone, which is suitable for jawbone density because it preserves the natural shape and aesthetics of your jawline and facial structure. Without this stimulation, your body starts to reabsorb bone in the jaw, which can lead to your face having a sunken look.

6. You can’t lose them.

We commonly get a call from patients indicating that they have lost their dentures. But with dental implants, you can’t lose them—they are permanently implanted and fused to your jawbone.

7. Oral Hygiene

Dental implants are easier to care for than dentures. You can brush and floss them like natural teeth, whereas dentures require special cleaning solutions and techniques. In fact, according to the Mayo Clinic, your dentures need to be cleaned daily to remove food, plaque, and other deposits.

8. No pressure and pain when you chew.

Dental implants allow you to bite and chew with the same force as natural teeth, whereas dentures may not provide the same level of bite force.

9. Cost

Dental implants are generally more expensive upfront than dentures but also last longer and provide better long-term value. When properly cared for, your dental implants will last a lifetime. Replacing your dentures every five to seven years requires a lot of extra trips to the dentist too.

10. Comfort During the Adjustment Period

While dental implants require surgery and a healing period, patients often experience less discomfort and adjustment time than with dentures. Most patients are fully recovered from their dental implant surgery after two weeks. While the implant site may feel slightly tender to the touch, they should feel completely healed and normal, and additional healing and bonding will occur for another three to six months. Once healed, most patients won’t know the difference between how their new implants feel compared to their previous natural teeth.

Contact Millennium Dental to See What is Best For You: Implants vs. Dentures

If you are ready to take control of your tooth loss with a tooth replacement option such as dentures, bridges, or dental implants, now is the time to request a consultation with Millennium Dental. We can help you assess your situation to determine the best treatment plan. And if dental implants are the right solution for you, we’ll refer you to an oral surgeon for your implant surgery. Once you’ve recovered, we’ll be happy to have you back to partner with you to help those new implants last a lifetime.