Dental Implants vs. Dentures: Making an Informed Decision

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Screenshot_2Tooth loss can be seen as a traumatic event impacting one’s appearance, self-confidence and overall quality of life.  When teeth are lost there is a profound feeling of loss.  Tooth loss can be linked to various causes, including tooth fracture, decay, gum disease and trauma.

Dental implants are a relatively new treatment now widely available for those who have lost teeth.  Implants are an artificial tooth root that is anchored to the jawbone, these titanium roots attach to the bone by a process called osteointegration.  They actually become part of your body.

Dental implants can be used to help replace one or multiple missing teeth.  In this blog, I will discuss how implants can help a person who is missing all their teeth in one or both arches.  

Dental Implants vs. Dentures: Making an Informed Decision

Dentures are used to replace teeth when all the teeth in an arch are missing.  An acrylic base is fabricated that exactly fits the remaining gums.  They are held in place by suction created by the exactness of the fit.  This usually means that an upper denture will fit and function better than the lower denture owing to the increased surface area of the top plate and the lack of tongue muscle movement that affects the stability of the lower denture.

Once the teeth in an arch are removed, the bone that used to hold the teeth in place begins to disappear.  Over time, this decreases the effectiveness, stability and comfort of the denture.

When dental implants are utilized in the edentulous arch, the bone loss stops.  

Dentures are not a substitute for teeth, they are a substitute for no teeth.  Even the best dentures have only about 20% the function of teeth.  When dental implants are added to the treatment, function improves dramatically and may reach as much as 90%.

Two Choices: Fixed or Removable

With dental implants you have a choice of either fixed or removable teeth.  Fixed teeth are attached to the dental implants and screwed in place.  These restorations are most like your own teeth.   Depending on the quality of your remaining bone, you may need as few as 4 implants to make a fixed dental restoration.  You will need to brush and floss, just like when you had your own teeth and have your teeth cleaned regularly by our dental hygienist.

Removable restorations are much like a denture, but have use  dental implants and have attachments (much like snaps) that hold the denture in place.  While much superior to a denture alone, they still utilize the gums as a platform.  You will need to routinely have the attachments replaced and will still need to see our hygienist on a regular basis to have the implants cleaned.

What Should I Do?

As your Red Deer Dentist restoring dental implants and based on over 25 years of restoring dental implants, my suggestion is always: “Use dental implants whenever possible, and fixed is preferred over removable.”

The factors which come in to play when making the decision are usually cost, and fear.  A fixed restoration is considerably more costly than a denture.  A removable implant supported denture is less than a fixed  restoration but more than a denture.  The benefits, comfort and function seem to increase as the cost increases.

We have had many patients who have discussed a fear of having something implanted in their mouth.  This is a valid concern, however, our experience has been that the implant surgery is not painful during the procedure and has relatively little discomfort following the implant placement.  The restorative phase is pain free as there are no nerves in the implants.  The long term success of dental implants has been well documented and when the treatment is well planned and executed, complications are rare.

Selecting the Best Restorative Option for a Full, Attractive and Healthy Smile

Dental implants are a great option for people with missing teeth.  They help stabilize the teeth, reduce bone loss and improve function.  On the other hand, dentures tend to be more affordable, but offer less function.

Fortunately Dr. Saby at Saby Dental Can Help

Dr. Saby has been helping people solve their dental problems for over three decades.  He is experienced in both denture construction and dental implant restorations.  If you would like to know how best to deal with your dental situation, feel free to schedule an appointment with Dr. Saby at our dental office across from the Red Deer Regional Hospital.  I will perform an assessment,  go over your options regarding dentures and implant supported teeth.  We will go over the risks and benefits as well as give you a treatment estimate.  I will help you find the most suitable restorative solution for you.