If you have missing teeth, you might have heard about two very common but very different options for replacing them: dental implants and dentures.
This post will help you determine which option is right for you. We’ll cover topics like:
- Why it’s important to replace missing teeth
- The difference between implants and dentures
- The pros and cons of each
- Options for people missing most or all of their teeth
- A little bit about our approach to dental restorations
Let’s get started!
The importance of replacing missing teeth
Missing teeth can cause a number of unwanted consequences, both aesthetic and health-related. Losing teeth and not having them restored can lead to:
- Tooth decay and gum disease (especially if decay is the reason you lost the teeth to begin with)
- Trouble speaking and pronouncing certain sounds
- Difficulty eating hard or chewy foods
- Decreased confidence and self-esteem
- Shifting of nearby teeth, which can create more gaps and mess with your bite (in some cases, leading to TMJ pain and headaches)
- Deterioration of your jaw bone over time (because the roots of your teeth aren’t there to stimulate bone growth)
- Missing multiple teeth will make you appear older as facial muscles collapse into the unsupported areas
Implants and dentures: What’s the difference?
Dentures are an effective option for replacing missing teeth. Well-made, high-tech dentures are customized to your mouth so that they look completely natural. They can be removable or placed permanently.
Dental implants are the gold standard in tooth replacement. They’re different from dentures because they are inserted directly into your jaw bone, so they actually replace the roots of your missing teeth. This does wonders for preserving the strength, health, and appearance of your jaw and facial structure.
At Ellicott City Smile Care, both dentures and implants…
- Are made from high-quality, non-toxic materials
- Are custom-crafted to ensure a great fit
- Look just like your natural teeth
- Restore your ability to chew and speak
In addition, implants have a few extra advantages. Implants…
- Strengthen your jawbone
- Promote healthy gums
- Are incredibly durable and permanent
Pros and cons of implants and dentures
Now that you know how dentures and implants work, let’s look at the benefits and drawbacks of each option compared to the other.
- A less expensive tooth restoration option
- No surgery and no recovery time
- Less permanent and less secure than implants (which also makes cleaning them more difficult)
- Can make it difficult to eat certain foods
- Don’t prevent the natural deterioration of your face and jaw that results from missing teeth
- Restore the strength and health of your jaw while promoting healthy gums
- Function just like real teeth, so you can eat normally
- When well cared for, implants are a completely permanent solution (and can be brushed and flossed just like regular teeth)
- More expensive than dentures
- Require a dental procedure with a few days of recovery time
Why do so many people prefer implants over dentures?
If dental implants are more expensive and require a dental procedure, why are so many people choosing them over dentures? While dentures can be a great option for many people, the biggest benefit of implants is that they help preserve the bone in your jaw. Here’s how:
When you lose teeth, the surrounding jaw bone starts to deteriorate and shrink. If this continues for a long time, it can eventually make your face visibly shrunken, especially if you have several missing teeth. Because implants replace the root of your tooth, they provide the stimulus your jaw bone needs to stay strong and healthy. With implants, the jaw bone doesn’t shrink, or only shrinks very slightly. Dentures unfortunately don’t prevent the jaw bone from shrinking and in some cases dentures can accelerate loss of vital structures.
What if you are missing most or all of your teeth?
Many people think that if all their teeth are missing, dentures are the only option. But actually, both dentures and implants can be used to replace a full set of missing teeth.
If you choose dentures, we’ll make you a set of complete dentures to replace all your teeth. If you still have some healthy natural teeth, partial dentures are a great option.
If all your teeth are missing but you still want to get the benefits of implants, we typically do a high-tech, minimally invasive procedure called “All-on-4” implants. It requires as few as four dental implants to support a full fixed dental bridge, so you don’t need a separate implant for each tooth.
How to choose
Implants and dentures are both great ways to replace missing teeth. However, the right option for you depends on many factors that are specific to you, including your personal preferences, dental history, dental hygiene habits, and more.
From a dentist’s perspective, the best way to determine the right approach for each person is with a comprehensive dental exam and consultation. If you’re in or near Ellicott City, Maryland, we would love to meet you and help you decide whether dentures, implants, or another restoration option is right for you!
What to expect at your consultation
The dentist you choose is just as important as the restoration option you choose. Whether you get dentures or implants, your results will be better, longer lasting, and more natural looking if you choose a dentist who specializes in high-tech, high-quality treatments.
We’ve worked with many people who have been living with missing teeth for quite some time. Many of them haven’t been to the dentist in years and are nervous about making an appointment, having an exam, or feeling judged for the state of their teeth. That’s why it’s so important to find a compassionate, understanding dentist who genuinely cares about your health and comfort.
At Ellicott City Smile Care, we never judge or lecture our patients. We only want to help you get a healthy and beautiful smile you can feel proud of.
We also take a minimally invasive approach to dentistry. By employing the latest, high-tech tools and techniques, we are able to give our patients better restorations faster and with minimal discomfort.
We do everything we can to make your dental visit as quick, gentle, and stress-free as possible!
If you’d like to come talk to us about your options to address your missing teeth and get your smile back, give us a call at (410) 964-9816 to request an appointment. Or fill out this quick form online.