Deciding between dental implants and dentures requires careful thought and discussion with your dentist or oral surgeon. While dental implants have revolutionized dentistry and are now regarded as the preferred choice for replacing missing teeth, they aren’t a fit for every patient. Here are some factors to consider when making the choice between these two options.
Dental Implants Prevent Bone Loss
If you’re researching dental implants, you’ve undoubtedly seen this claim before. But what does it mean to prevent bone loss and why is this so important?
Your permanent teeth have long roots that are supported by your jawbone. When you lose a tooth and the root is no longer there, it sends a signal to the body that the jawbone support is not needed anymore. Your body then begins to break down this bone and transports its minerals to other areas of your body where they are needed. It’s a remarkable process when you think about it, but it’s bad news for your oral health.
When the bone in your jaw breaks down, you’ll experience:
- Facial collapse, a process in which the jaw begins to recede, resulting in a prematurely aged appearance
- Difficulty chewing and biting
- Other teeth shifting, feeling loose, or even falling out
Dental Implants Replace the Whole Tooth
Related to this last point, dental implants are the only solution that prevents bone loss in the jaw because they replace your whole tooth, both root and crown. Dentures, in contrast, only replace the portion of your tooth that’s visible above the gum line, which is why bone loss continues.
The fact that dental implants address tooth loss both above and below the gum line means they function more like natural teeth than dentures. While dentures need to be affixed with messy denture adhesives each day, rub against your gums, impact your ability to eat certain foods, and make you feel self-conscious about how you speak and smile, dental implants don’t have any of these issues. Many patients even forget that they have dental implants after a while!
Dental Implants Last a Lifetime
Dental implants are a permanent solution for missing teeth. Once osseointegration occurs (the process in which your jawbone and your dental implants fuse together), it’s very likely that your implants will last a lifetime. While the restoration that attaches to them may need to be replaced at some point, even these can last for decades thanks to the stable base of support provided by dental implants.
Dentures need to be relined and replaced regularly. This is because with dentures, your jawbone will continue to break down, impacting the way they fit and causing irritation.
Dentures Are More Affordable
One of the most significant advantages of dentures for most patients is the cost—dentures are much more affordable than dental implants, and also more likely to be covered by dental insurance. (It should be noted, though, that there are some situations in which your medical insurance may provide coverage for dental implants.)
If you’re wondering why dental implants cost more, the answer is simple: dental implants replace the roots of your teeth, which means a surgical procedure is needed to place them, and this procedure and the materials needed for it add to the expense.
Because we believe patients should have access to the best treatment for their needs, regardless of cost, we offer financing through CareCredit to make dental implants more affordable. Qualified patients can receive no interest financing or low minimum monthly payment options.
Find Out More About Dentures vs. Dental Implants
If you have questions about which option is right for you, make an appointment today for a consultation. Contact us today at one of our five Oklahoma locations to schedule a visit.