People who need to replace missing teeth have several options today, like dentures and dental implants. In this article we will compare dental implants and dentures: situations where one is preferable over the other and why dentures or dental implants abroad could be a good idea.
Comparison of Dental Implants and Dentures
Dentures are made of acrylic, cast metal, flexible plastic for base and plastic or porcelain for the teeth part.
Dental implants are made of titanium, a metal compatible with the human body.
Dentures take several appointments over three to six weeks. In the first appointment, impressions of the jaw and tooth structure are taken. Wax or plastic moulds are created and tried on. Final cast is made and fitted and adjustments made.
The tooth implant is placed in the bone socket. (Local anesthesia needed). It takes five to eight months to fix the prosthetic tooth onto the implant.
The denture can move and make clicking sounds when you eat or speak, so it may make you uncomfortable. Dentures in the upper jaw have better grip than lower dentures due to suction from roof of the mouth. Ability to chew is greatly reduced, compared to natural teeth.
Dental implants or implant-retained dental prostheses are very stable, as they have a root-like portion that fits into the bone socket, like natural teeth. People who have implant-supported artificial teeth can chew efficiently.
Where they are used:
Dentures can be used when you have lost many or all your teeth because of periodontal disease, tooth decay, damage, or aging. Dental implants can be used here too, but only if you have healthy jaw bone to support them.
Dental implants can be used to replace missing teeth, either one or more. But may not be advisable for diabetics and smokers as osseo-integration might take longer.
What to expect once you have them:
Dentures will need to be re-aligned, re-based or re-made as your gums and jaw structure change with aging. Dentures are also subject to normal wear and proper oral hygiene is necessary.
With proper care, dental implants last a lifetime.
Why Dental Implants are considered Better than Dentures
- Dental implants enable firm placing of the prosthetic teeth. The tiny titanium screws act like the root of a natural tooth, so you don’t have to worry about the crown falling off.
- You can chew better with implant-supported artificial teeth.
- Dental implants are made of titanium, which the body accepts. This has two advantages: one, it promotes healthy bone growth and second, this natural bone holds the implant firmly in place. The opposite happens with dentures, as pressure from the dentures causes disintegration of bone material.
- Some people may be allergic to some of the material like acrylic used in dentures whereas titanium used in dental implants is bio-compatible.
- Dental implants offer more options. It is possible to get your dentures fixed with mini dental implants.
Disadvantages of Dental Implants
- Dental implants are more expensive than dentures.
- Dental implants are more time-consuming. After the implants are placed, it may take anywhere from 3-6 months for osseo-integration to happen.
- People with a tendency to grind teeth may not be suitable for dental implants.
- If the bones have shrunk and are not in a condition to support the implant, the dental surgeon may advise bone graft for dental implants. This involves further cost, time, and surgery.
- Dental implants are an invasive procedure, and involves incisions and stitches. Though done under anesthesia, people with dental surgery phobia may not want to go for it.
Cost of Dentures and Dental Implants
There are different types of dentures including complete dentures, removable partial dentures and implant-retained dentures. The cost varies according to which of these you need, the different material used and the dentist’s fee. The cost could be anything between $300 and $2,500 in the US. Traditional dental implants cost in the range of $2,000 and $4,500 in the US. Low cost dental implants in Costa Rica, Mexico, El Salvador, or India can save you about 60% or more of the US cost, with no compromise in quality. Plus, it offers you the chance to combine a tropical vacation with your dental treatment package.