The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS) reports that 69% of adults from age 35-44 have lost at least one tooth due to decay, bad root canal, gum disease or accident. This accounts for the annual 100k-300k dental implant procedures performed every year.
With so many Americans missing at least one permanent tooth in their mouth, it’s no wonder that many people are interested in getting an implant. The problem with implants is that not everyone can afford them, so they sometimes turn to the next best thing: dentures.
Dentures are removeable teeth that are placed inside your mouth. They are made by dental laboratories from impressions of your mouth taken by your dentist. They fit over your gums and the base of the upper denture covers the roof of your mouth. The lower one is shaped like a horseshoe so that your tongue can rest comfortably.
The look, feel, and installation of dentures have come a long way since George Washington wooden dentures days. However, it still doesn’t mean they have been perfected. Teeth were not meant to be removed from the mouth, and as such dentures go against what our bodies want most: to keep our teeth permanently in our mouths.
Overall healing time can take upwards of several months – due in whole to the dentist having to remove all your teeth. After the tissue in your mouth has healed, then you can receive your dentures. As time goes by, the shape of your gums could change, and this will result in the need to have new dentures created.
Many people who get dentures don’t realize that there can be complications after the fact. For example, dentures can move inside your mouth, especially when you eat or talk. Food can get caught underneath and special care needs to be taken with brushing, flossing, and hygiene. The jawbone itself can atrophy due to it not being used (as a function of how dentures work).
They also carry a social stigma – In this day and age it can sometimes be embarrassing for an adult to admit they have dentures, or for someone to suspect that they do. However, due to cost of implants and the number of teeth that need to be replaced, sometimes it’s the only option available – outside of doing nothing at all.
The main reason people tend to opt for dentures over implants is due to cost. A single dental implant can cost thousands of dollars and take multiple visits to the dentist office to complete. Dentures can cost just a fraction of what implants cost.
Dentures are not made to be permanent. After a few years they must be replaced or remade due to wear and tear. This can increase the cost of the denture over time and actually make it more expensive than if you were to have gotten a dental implant from the get-go.
Dental implants are meant to be permanent replacements for missing teeth. They look, feel, and operate just like a normal tooth would. Assuming the dentist gets the shading correct, it can be extremely hard, if not impossible, to determine that someone has had a dental implant.
Implants are made from titanium and will last a literal life time if properly taken care of. If they are not taken care of properly, then they will need to be removed at some point in time – or worse yet they will just fall out on their own. This is why it is critical that teeth are brushed/flossed on a regular basis and dental checkups/cleanings are made on a regular basis.
The overall process for getting an implant can take many months to complete. Especially when a bone graft is needed. Sometimes the area where a tooth is missing is not strong enough to be the foundation of an implant. In this case, the dentist will perform a surgical bone graft procedure where bone is encouraged to grow so that the area can support the implant.
Despite their scary-sounding name, bone grafts are routine. They do take time to heal up and this adds to the overall time-frame for an implant procedure to be fully completed. It can also significantly add to the cost of the implant.
Recovery from implants can take multiple months. During this time your dentist will ask you to religiously brush and floss while the surgical area heals up. When it finally comes time to getting your implant installed, you’ll be amazed at how well your new teeth look and feel.
As with any surgical procedure, there can be complications. The good news is that implants do not carry a huge risk of complications. The biggest complication that patients face is the requirement of a bone graft in order for the implant procedure to be successful. Provided that good oral hygiene is followed, there shouldn’t be any major complications.
Implants tend to cost a lot more than dentures in the short run. A single tooth can run upwards of a thousand or more dollars. While this may seem like a lot of money up-front, the reality is that implants are meant to last your entire lifetime. So aside from regularly scheduled routine dental checkups and cleanings, there is no added cost. With dentures you will need to replace or repair them every 7-10 years, which over time can cost you more than had you gone with an implant.
Dental Implants and Dentures in the Chicago area
Millions of Americans are living with missing teeth. This can cause eventual health issues as well as lowered self-confidence. Dental technology has advanced to a point where it is now possible to get that missing tooth or teeth replaced so that you can live a fuller life.
If you have been debating on getting an implant vs. dentures, give us a call at (312) 787-2131 or contact us. At Water Tower Dental Care, we specialize in helping people fix their missing teeth which translates to a higher quality of life and more self-confidence.