Modern dentistry offers a variety of replacement options to anyone who has lost one or more teeth. For many years false teeth, or dentures, were the only option available to those wishing to restore the ability to chew and speak or to revamp their smile. Today, patients can choose from full dentures, partial dentures, or dental implants. Consider these four key differences between implants and dentures.
Jawbone density is maintained through natural chewing. Because the roots of your teeth extend down into the jawbone, pressure is put on the entire bone structure when you chew. When a tooth is removed or lost, stimulation of the bone ceases and density begins to diminish. Dentures offer no bone stimulation and patients often experience significant bone loss. Conversely, implants replace the full tooth, root and all, extending down into the bone, which allows for the necessary pressure on the bone as you chew.
Another benefit of implants is that they allow you to eat, speak and brush your teeth normally. Because of their permanent anchor, implants are the perfect tool for eating all your favorite foods. Dentures must be removed for cleaning and reaffixed, usually in the morning. While there are techniques and products designed to keep dentures in place, food choices are limited and you will need to take care when eating hard, sticky or crunchy foods.
As the jaw and facial bones change shape after the loss of a tooth, dentures begin to lose that perfect fit. Most people find they need to replace dentures every five to ten years. Conversely, dental implants are a permanent solution to lost teeth. With traditional brushing and oral care, implants can last the lifetime of the patient.
Dental Implants cost more upfront, while dentures are traditionally a lower-priced option. Be sure to consider the lifetime cost of denture replacements for a more accurate comparison.