When patients come in to our office for tooth replacement consultations, they always ask about dental implants vs dentures. And they should. Replacing teeth, whether just a few or all of them, is a large undertaking, and it changes a person's life forever. Making the right choice is essential. As one of the top dentists on Staten Island for dental implants, we're always happy to help educate our clients on which decision to make for themselves.
Dental implants have been shown to be the superior choice when it comes to replacing teeth, however, just saying "implants are better" doesn't really educate anyone, does it? It's important to understand the difference between implants and dentures so you can make the best decision for yourself.
Dentures are removable, prosthetic teeth that can be fitted for the mouth regardless of how much bone is or isn't present. They can be made to replace a few teeth or to replace all teeth.
An impression is made of both the upper and lower gums if a full replacement is necessary or of the gums in the area where the teeth will be replaced. The dentist will then study the patient's bite and alignment, work with the impression, and send the information out to a lab to create the initial dentures. After they've arrived, they'll be placed in the patient's mouth and any alignments or adjustments will be performed to ensure the proper fit. Finally, a final set of dentures will be made for the patient's use.
Implants use screw-like posts to hold the new teeth in place. These posts are anchored deep into the jaw bone and require that there is enough bone to adequately support the new implant posts. Implants can be used to replace a few teeth or all teeth - just like dentures. However, unlike dentures, implants are 100% permanent.
The first step in the dental implant surgery, the damaged teeth are removed. Next, a bone graft is performed. Then, a pilot hole is drilled into the jaw for each post. The posts are then screwed into the pilot hole. After the bone has grown around the post, an abutment will be placed. This holds the crown - the tooth - in place. Finally, the final crowns will be placed on top of the abutment.
One of the main reasons that people opt for dentures over implants is the perceived extra cost of implants. However, when you break down the initial cost of both implants and dentures and then factor in the cost of denture replacement, they are quite close in price.
Depending on the quality of materials and the dentist, a set of full dentures can range in cost from $1,500.00 to $15,000.00 per arch. That's between $3,000.00 and $30,000.00 for an entire set. The higher side of this cost is already at or almost at the cost of implants. You also have to factor in the extra cost of repairs should something happen to your dentures as well as replacement. Even the most well-made dentures will have to be replaced every 7 to 10 years. With just one replacement and no repairs, the cost for dentures over the course of a patient's life can range from $6,000.00 to $60,000.00.
Dental implants range in cost from around $3,000.00 for a single tooth replacement to $30,000.00 for a full-mouth replacement. As you can see, when you compare the cost of dentures with the cost of implants, the cost is most variable when replacing one or a few teeth.
The major difference in cost between the two is what you get for your money. Dental implants are permanent, and with regular oral care, they'll last for a lifetime. No adhesives, readjustments, or replacements are required, and they preserve the density of your jaw bones.
Dental implants are treated just like "real" teeth. All that patients need to do to keep their gums healthy and their implants looking their best is to brush and floss twice daily, rinse with mouthwash, and keep their six-month dental checkups in place.
On the other hand, dentures require far more maintenance to keep them viable over the long term. Dentures have to be soaked overnight in a special cleaning solution while the owner sleeps. in addition, the dentures should be removed and brushed after every meal. Any bits of adhesive should be brushed away, as well.
One final bit of maintenance that has to be done with dentures is realignment and refitting. The bite changes over time, especially in the absence of teeth. Implants don't need to be readjusted because they mimic natural teeth on both the surface and within the bone.
While we consider implants to be superior on every level to that of dentures, there are times when they may not be right, or even doable, for some patients. We can guide you through all the possibilities and help you decide which is right for you.
Dental implants are a permanent solution so people who are in their 60s or younger benefit from them. Because dentures require replacement every 7 to 10 years, permanent implants prevent future costs. However, for geriatric patients who don't want to take the extra time or initial expense of implants, dentures may be the way to go.
While implants provide superior comfort, durability, and longevity, they do require a healthy base of bone into which they can be implanted. Those who have lost too much bone through an injury, age, gum disease, or tooth loss will require a bone graft and in certain cases may not be candidates for dental implants at all.
As one of the best dental implant offices in Staten Island, we're always more than happy to help our new or existing patients decide between dental implants vs dentures. Book a FREE consultation appointment today, and we'll walk you through every aspect of implants and dentures so you can make the best decision for you.