Dental Implants vs. Dentures
Tooth loss not only affects your appearance, but also your oral health. Individuals with significant tooth loss have a few different treatment options available to them, including traditional dentures and dental implant-supported restorations. At Smiles for Life Dental Care, serving the greater Harrisonburg, VA, area with offices in Bridgewater, VA, and Staunton, VA, our dentists offer both solutions for personalized treatment.
Our team takes care to educate patients on dental implants and dentures and discusses the pros and cons of both options. Drs. Joe McIntyre and Dan Whiting are both members of the International Congress of Oral Implantologists and have the skill and experience necessary to deliver top-tier results.
Probably what you envision when you think of dentures, these traditional appliances have been used to replace teeth for centuries. Modern dentures are seated on the gums and are stabilized by adhesives and the underlying bone ridge. Partial dentures replace several missing teeth in one or both jaws. A full denture replaces an entire dental arch.
Pros and Cons of Traditional Dentures
Dentures are one of the most affordable teeth replacement options available. They can also be placed quickly, often in two or three office visits. Many patients opt for dentures because they provide a reliable, nonsurgical option for smile restoration.
A common complaint among denture wearers is that their prostheses often shift, slip, or wobble when eating or speaking. This is because the jawbone changes shape gradually over time. Once tooth loss occurs, the supporting bone continues to lose density. This directly affects the fit of a denture.
Even though dentures are more affordable than other options, they must be replaced every seven to 10 years. Over time, this can become quite costly.
A dental implant is a small threaded post made from surgical-grade titanium. It is placed directly into the jaw during an oral surgery procedure. Once it is healed, an implant can support a variety of custom restorations, including crowns, bridges, and dentures.
Pros and Cons of Dental Implants
A dental implant is designed to replace a missing tooth root. In fact, implants are the only restorative option designed to mimic tooth roots by stimulating the tissue in the jaw. Due to this stimulation, the jaw sends restorative signals to the brain, and the risk of future bone loss is reduced.
Dental implant placement requires surgery. For this reason, some patients may wish to pursue other options. Those with certain medical conditions may not be eligible for implant placement.
Though most patients are comfortable within a few days of dental implant surgery, it takes four to six months for the surrounding bone tissue to fuse to the implant post. This process is known as osseointegration and it is vital to the long-term success of your implants. Most individuals agree that the wait is well worth it, as implants can last a lifetime with proper care.
Implant-Supported Full-Arch Restorations
Many long-time denture wearers at our practice decide to upgrade to dental implants for improved stability and confidence. There are several implant-supported full-arch replacement options available:
- Implant-supported dentures: This type of denture, sometimes referred to as a bridge, is supported by dental implants rather than the gums and bone ridge. The most common approach is attaching a fixed prosthesis to implants. This usually requires six to eight implants per arch. Some patients might opt for a removable implant-supported restoration.
- All-on-4® dental implants: Some patients have too much bone loss to qualify for standard implants. All-on-4 supports a full-arch fixed restoration using four strategically placed implants. The positioning of the implants maximizes the existing bone for optimal results.
Learn More during a Consultation
If you have sustained tooth loss, reach out to one of our knowledgeable team members to discuss treatment options. No matter what your individual oral health needs are, we can find a solution that works for you. Schedule an appointment by contacting us online. You can also give our office a call at (540) 828-2312.