Dental Implants vs Dentures: What's the Difference?

Tooth loss is an extremely common problem that most people face at some point in their life. About 178 million Americans have lost at least one tooth and a staggering 40 million are missing all of their teeth. 

When you lose a tooth, it comes with consequences, such as bone loss, a change in your bite, lack of support to the facial structure that results in sagging, and even shifting teeth. That’s where tooth restorations come in to save the day to prevent these issues, make it easier to chew and speak and restore your smile. 

Two of the most common tooth restorations are dentures and dental implants. You may have heard these names thrown out a lot, but do you know how they work and what the advantages are of either prosthesis? Read on in this blog from West Allen Dental to learn more and find out which one is right for you.

How Do Dentures Work?

Dentures are a set of artificial teeth attached to a gum-colored base that is inserted into your mouth to replace missing teeth. Dentures are available as partial or full sets, so you can replace a few or all of the teeth in your mouth. 

However, full dentures require the extraction of all your remaining teeth so this denture would only be recommended for patients with severe tooth loss. A full denture is held in place through natural suction, while partial dentures clip onto metal clasps that are placed around the abutment teeth.

Benefits of Dentures

Dentures restore the ability to chew and enunciate and are much more cost-effective and less invasive than dental implants. A denture can fill in gaps in your smile and replace multiple teeth at once, even if they’re on opposite sides of the mouth. 

Because dentures are constructed from molds taken from your mouth, they will fit comfortably and the teeth will appear natural. If changes to the structure of your mouth occur, we can replace your dentures and take new impressions. The ability to remove dentures makes them easier to clean and it will restore your facial structure to minimize sagging.

How Do Dental Implants Work?

A dental implant involves inserting a biocompatible titanium post into the jaw bone. It will take 3-6 months for the jaw bone to fuse with the implant through osseointegration, which fully restores the tooth’s root. Then, we’ll reopen your gums to attach an abutment and finally, a dental crown. When you chew, the jaw bone becomes stimulated and reproduces cells to prevent bone loss.

Benefits of Dental Implants

Dental implants are superior to dentures because they prevent bone loss, which no other restoration can do. Bone loss can lead to serious consequences such as shifting teeth, changes to your facial structure and bite, and facial sagging. 

By implanting the post into the jawbone, it is held securely in place, prevents the tooth from moving around, and feels very natural. A dental implant fully restores both the crown and root which results in the full restoration of the natural tooth function. 

You will be able to eat a diet without any restrictions and can speak clearly. Implants are also low maintenance and can last a lifetime with proper care. Only the dental crown needs to be replaced every 5-15 years.

A Happy Medium: Implant-Supported Dentures

Implant-supported dentures or all-on-four is a happy medium that marries the best aspects of dentures and dental implants together into one prosthesis. A series of implants are made into the upper and lower jaw and securely hold a denture in place to replace an entire arch or both arches of teeth. 

Four implants are placed into the jawbone - two at the front and two at the back. The two implants at the back of the jaw are placed at a 45-degree angle. The specific placement of these implants is what enables them to support an entire arch of teeth without additional implants. 

You now have the option to replace all of your teeth while preventing bone loss and holding your teeth securely in place.

Schedule an Appointment Today

No matter the extent of your tooth loss, we have a restorative option for every patient here at West Allen Dental. Whether you’re looking to replace a single tooth, a few teeth, or all of your teeth, we can discuss the advantages of dentures, implants, and implant-supported dentures more thoroughly during a consultation. To find out which option is best for you, contact us today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Natchi.

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