The main goal of either dentures or dental implants is to preserve your dental health beyond aesthetics. Without either, you can lose bone mass and structure, and jaw muscles can begin to function incorrectly. To prevent complications from lost teeth and to facilitate eating and talking, dentists recommend either dentures or dental implants.
What are Dentures?
A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth and surrounding tissues. It is available in two types: complete and partial. Complete dentures are used when all your teeth are missing; partial dentures are used to fill in gaps between natural teeth.
Complete dentures are available in two types: immediate or conventional. Immediate dentures are created in advance and positioned in place just after teeth are removed. This helps to avoid not having teeth during the healing period. Because your gums and bones will change as they heal, complete dentures require adjustments, and cannot be considered a permanent solution. To receive conventional dentures, you must wait up to 12 weeks for complete healing prior to becoming fitted.
A partial denture is a removable device consisting of a gum-colored plastic base and metal framework, with replacement teeth attached. A fixed bridge, another type of partial denture, is created by placing a crown on the teeth on either side of the gap and attaching artificial teeth by cementing the bridge into the place where teeth are missing.
What are Dental Implants?
A dental implant surgery replaces the tooth’s root in the jawbone with a titanium metal, screwlike post onto which an artificial tooth is attached. Because the titanium fuses with the jawbone, implants are permanent and feel and act like natural teeth.
See our related post: Are You a Good Candidate for a Dental Implant?
Dental insurance may cover some or all of the cost of dentures or implants. Please check with us to see what is covered.
Which is Better for You? Dentures or Implants?
There are several considerations to take into account when deciding between dentures or implants:
- Your dental health. Your current and past dental history may determine your options for dentures or dental implants. After performing a thorough dental exam and x-rays, your dental professional can advise you.
- Bone density. Implants require a certain amount of jawbone material to support the posts.
- Those under age 60 may enjoy the permanence and longevity of an implant. Those over age 60 may prefer dentures.
- Dental implants are permanent tooth replacements and are cared for under your normal brushing and flossing routine. Dentures may rely on an adhesive film to keep them anchored in place, and when removed, both the gums and the appliance must be thoroughly cleaned. Partial dentures should be removed and cleaned after eating.
- Since your mouth can change, and dentures may wear down, a set of dentures may last between 5-10 years. Dental implants are built to last a lifetime.
- Cost: Implants are more expensive. For example, a complete set of upper or lower dentures may cost $1,600 or more, while an implant may cost $1,600 or more per tooth. (Average costs provided by the American Dental Association.)
- Complications: Dentures can slip, feel uncomfortable, or create sores on the gums. Implants can fail or, in rare cases, cause infection.
Whether dentures or dental implants are better for you is a decision best made after a full oral examination and a discussion with your dental professional.
Make Advanced Family Dentistry in Reston, VA Your Family Dentist
Advanced Family Dentistry is a full-service dental professional offering regular dental services for all ages, dental implants, oral surgery, and cosmetic and restoration services.
If you’re deciding between dentures or dental implants, we’d like to help. Our offices are conveniently located in Reston, Virginia to serve families throughout the DMV region. Contact us today at 703-390-9191 to schedule your appointment.
Dr. Sonny Kim is a Diplomat of the International Congress of Oral Implantologists (ICOI), the highest education level for general dentists in this field.
Advanced Family Dentistry
Dr. Sonny Kim, DMD
11876 Sunrise Valley Dr., Suite 101
Reston, VA 20191