No one wants to lose any of their natural teeth. Unfortunately, almost everyone will lose at least one tooth during their lifetime. Many will end up losing all of their teeth as they get older. The good news is that a person does not have to gum their food when they lose some of their teeth. There are options for replacing the teeth that have been lost to damage, disease or for some other reason. The two most common methods being used are dentures and dental implants. In order to decide which to get, it is best to look at what they offer and the downsides of each option.
What are they?
Dentures are false teeth that are not a permanent fixture in the mouth. They are attached in some mechanical way to the gums or to other teeth and they have to be removed to clean. Dentures can replace all of the teeth in the mouth, they can be used to replace just the bottom teeth or just the top teeth, or they replace some of the teeth in the mouth. Full dentures are used to replace the full sets and partial dentures or bridges are used to replace single teeth that are missing.
Dental implants are a permanent replacement for the tooth. The tooth that is used in the implant is a false tooth. It is connected to the gums by a metal implant that has been surgically placed into the gum. These teeth do not have to be removed and can be cared for in the same way as natural teeth.
Pros and Cons
There are good things and bad things about both dental implants and dentures. Comparing these may be the best way to make a decision about what to get.
Permanent vs Removable – Dentures are typically secured in place with some type of adhesive. They can become loose and can move around while they are being used. This can make eating more difficult or can cause embarrassing situations. Partial dentures can also cause infection and decay in the surrounding teeth if they are not fitted and held in place properly. Dental implants are permanent teeth that look and function like natural teeth.
Surgical vs Non-surgical – Getting dental implants is a surgical procedure. The implants are put into place in the gum by drilling into the bone structure. There is a healing period that can last 6 weeks or more. All surgical procedures have complications that can occur, including infection. Dentures are a non-surgical procedure that carries less risk.
Lifespan – Dentures will typically have to be replaced every 10 years if they are properly maintained. The dental implant can last a lifetime although the false tooth that is attached will last between 10 to 15 years.
Cost – The biggest deciding factor for most is the cost. A full set of dentures will cost between $500 to $3,000 dollars. Dental implants can cost $1,000 to $3,000 per tooth and a full replacement can cost $30,000 or more.