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Should you Choose Dentures or Implants?

Should you Choose Dentures or Implants?

If you’ve lost teeth and are having trouble eating or being confident in your smile, you are no doubt thinking about tooth replacement.  It is often hard to ignore an issue that may have massive implications on your oral health and overall wellbeing.  A common question is what type of dental treatment should you consider? For patients missing more than several teeth, a denture is a common option.  While it is an economical option, it often leads to less than ideal results due to it moving while chewing, and research has shown it provides less than 40% of the chewing ability of having your natural teeth.  Another option is dental implants, or even a combination of a denture supported by an implant.  Let’s explore these options a bit more in-depth:

The Pros and Cons of Dentures

A denture is a removable appliance made of acrylic, sometimes with a metal framework, that replaces multiple teeth at once.  Compared to dentures of the past, advances in materials and techniques have made dentures look better than ever before.  Full dentures can be made to replace an entire arch of teeth, while partial dentures replace several teeth at once, even on opposite sides of your mouth.   Dentures are often chosen as an economical option that is relatively easy with a short treatment time.  Dentures take on average about three to six weeks to make.  Depending on if you have teeth that need to be removed, there may be an additional time needed for healing.  Dentures are custom made to fit the contours of your mouth, however they do take several weeks to months to adjust to.  The biggest hurdle is getting used to the feeling of having a piece of acrylic covering your gums and roof of your mouth.   You will likely be using denture adhesive to help them hold onto your mouth and allow you to eat harder foods.   Maintenance is easy.  You will need to brush them nightly and clean using a variety of denture cleansers available, as well as soaking them when not in use.  Dentures have a fairly long lifespan, and will often last for many years with the proper maintenance.  As you age, your gum tissues will also change shape, necessitating the need for relining, repairing, and replacement of your denture based on individual need.  Nonetheless, a denture is often a quick and economical option for those that are missing multiple teeth and need an easy solution.

The Pros and Cons of Dental Implants

Dental implants are titanium roots that are placed in the jawbone, on which various dental prostheses can be attached.  This can be anything from a single crown to a bridge, to other more complex dental treatments.  By integrating with your existing jawbone, dental implants are stronger than other types of prosthesis that simply sit on top of your existing gums, and even more importantly transmit chewing forces into your jaw which help to maintain the overall health of your bone.  Implants have also proven to last significantly longer than any other solution available in dentistry, and with the proper maintenance can last you the rest of your life.   While we consider a dental implant to be the gold standard of treatment for any situation where there is a missing tooth, there are some drawbacks.  Namely, dental implants are the most expensive option for tooth replacement, require about 4-6 months to complete, and require that you have strong bone with enough volume in which to place the implant.

Dental Implants and Dentures

The marvels of modern dentistry has allowed us to combine the benefits of both dental implants and dentures to give you the best of both worlds.  These treatments, often called a variety of things such as all-on-four, all-on-six, hybrid dentures, overdentures, and implant-retained dentures, combine the ease and predictability of a denture, with the retention and reliability and strength of an implant.     By placing four to six implants throughout your jaw, we then fabricate a denture that can be “snapped on” to your jaw.  This appliance can hold a full or partial denture, and can be designed to be removable or permanently attached.  This gives us the ability to give you a beautiful smile without having to worry about denture adhesive or stability.  Implant retained denture also do not cover the roof of your mouth, which allows you to taste better and have less bulky material in your mouth.   Please call Dental Designs of Maryland and set up a consultation with our board certified periodontist Dr. Joshua Metzger, to explore your implant and implant retained denture options.  Our experienced implant dentists serve the Perry Hall, MD and Hanover, MD communities.