Get ready. It’s time for the dental showdown of the century. We’re talking dentures versus implants. Learn the difference between these two well-known dental options, and find out which one is best for your needs.
What are Dentures?
Dentures are custom-made, removable false teeth generally crafted from acrylic, nylon, or metal. Depending on how many replacement teeth you need, dentures can be complete or partial.
Dental Implants in Detail
Dental implants are titanium rods or screws that are fused to your jawbone. In essence, they act as artificial roots, and serve as a base for a permanent tooth replacement, called a crown, that mimics the look and feel of natural teeth. After the titanium rod is secure, your dentist will simply attach the crown to it. The result: a replacement that looks like your natural tooth.
Dentures vs. Dental Implants: Bite by Bite
When considering replacements for missing teeth, the real question is how do each of these options stack up? Here's the breakdown:
Dental implants win hands down. If you take good care of your implants, they can last as long as natural teeth. Dentures, on the other hand, typically need to be replaced every five to eight years.
Although dental implants aren’t a like-for-like replacement for a natural tooth — they are made from titanium and are comparable in strength and performance to natural teeth. The same can’t be said for dentures, which can slip and slide around in your mouth, sometimes making it difficult to speak or eat. While modern dentures have come a long way, they’re still no match for the permanence of dental implants.
When it comes to looks, in general, dental implants are more natural looking than dentures. However, if you get your dentures custom made by a professional, most people won’t be able to tell the difference. It just depends on how much you're willing to pay.
Since dental implants are literally fused to your jawbone, they will feel natural and well-fitting in your mouth and typically don't cause discomfort, especially once you’ve had them for a couple of weeks. Dentures can be a bit more uncomfortable. Bulkiness, excessive saliva, soreness, and irritation are common complaints. Although you will get used to your dentures after a couple of months, the fact that dental implants are a permanent part of your mouth typically makes them a more comfortable option.
The price of dental implants varies, depending on how many additional procedures you need to undergo. It’s also important to note that your insurance can pay up to 50% of the cost of your dentures, whereas dental implants are much less likely to be covered under your dental insurance plan. However, given that dentures tend not to last as long, you should factor in the expense associated with replacing them. That could make dentures more expensive than dental implants in the long run.
What’s the verdict on dentures vs. dental implants?
Although dentures are a serviceable missing-tooth replacement option, the permanence and natural look of dental implants make them a great choice. Of course, it’s important that you consult with a dentist before you make a decision on dentures vs. implants.
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