Implants or Dentures? Which is Right for You?

Implants or Dentures? Which is Right for You?

The quest to restore missing teeth is almost as old as history itself. Archeological excavations have unearthed dentures dating back to 700 BCE, when the Etruscans created crude initial forms of dentures using ivory as a base, into which animal and human teeth were fastened. In fact, despite the persistent myth that George Washington had wooden false teeth (although they existed during his lifetime), they also were fashioned of human teeth in an ivory base.

Fortunately, modern materials and technologies provide a wide range of choices in dental restorations that look and feel natural, restoring both function and self-confidence. Options are now so numerous that deciding which to choose can be somewhat overwhelming. As you’ll soon learn, dentures have come a long way from what you may remember your parents or grandparents dealing with, which makes our question all the more relevant: Are implants or dentures the right choice for restoring your missing teeth?

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Implants?

Dental implants are popular for replacing a single lost tooth, or multiple teeth. But first, what exactly is an implant? An implant is a permanent tooth replacement solution consisting of a screw-like titanium post implanted into the upper or lower jawbone. After bone starts to grow around the post to secure it in place (a process called osseointegration), the top of the post is fitted with an abutment, followed by a permanent crown after the gum tissue around the abutment has healed.

At this point, the implant is — for all practical purposes — the same as an original, natural tooth. Except, of course, it can’t decay! However, the crown is susceptible to being chipped, cracked or damaged just as a crown that’s fit over a natural tooth — or a natural tooth — so use due caution and common sense, and the crown should hold up for 20 years or more.

As advanced as implants are, many factors need to be considered when determining whether they’re the right choice for you and your individual situation. The following pros and cons are courtesy of Forest Park Dental, Healthline and Solstice.

The advantages of implants:

  • The success rate is 95% when performed by a dentist experienced in this procedure.
  • Dental implants are as easy to care for as natural teeth.
  • Implants preserve the integrity of your facial structure and jawbones.
  • Acting just like natural teeth, implants allow the bone to continue to grow.
  • You can eat any type of food — as long as you avoid biting down on hard candies, shelled nuts, ice, etc. — which you shouldn’t do with natural teeth, anyway.
  • Dental implants don’t impair speech.

The disadvantages of implants:

  • They are significantly more expensive than dentures.
  • Implants require a certain amount of jawbone material in order to support the posts. If you have lost bone density — through injury, age, gum disease or tooth loss — you may not be a good candidate for implants. Dental bone grafting can be performed to bolster jawbone density, but it’s a more expensive and involved process. Our blog post — “What You Need to Know About Dental Bone Grafts” — explains this procedure in detail.
  • Some people may not want to go through the lengthy process that traditional implants involve — especially when multiple teeth are involved. NK Family Dental offers the breakthrough Teeth-In-A-Day procedure. If you are interested in this option, please schedule an appointment with Dr. Amir Danesh, our periodontology and dental implant specialist, to learn if you are a good candidate.

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Dentures?

Dentures are comprised of natural-looking prosthetic teeth that are attached to a gum-colored acrylic base. Some dentures will include a lightweight metal framework that provides extra strength and support. When worn, they offer the appearance and function of strong, healthy teeth. By replacing an entire top or bottom row of missing teeth, dentures can dramatically improve your smile, while also making many everyday activities that involve teeth substantially easier.

With dentures, you have two options: removable complete dentures and partial dentures. Complete — or full — dentures replace all the teeth in the upper or lower jaw or in both jaws, and rest directly on the gums. Partial dentures are used to fill in gaps. Because of this, partial dentures are more often used when some of the natural teeth remain. Partial dentures are supported by clasps around existing teeth. They may also be attached with precision attachments that are fitted onto crowns.

Keep in mind that with dentures, you get what you pay for. Budget dentures tend to cause the most problems with fit and function, and don’t look as natural as their high-end counterparts. A well-designed, custom set of dentures can restore your face to its proper proportions — even providing you with a more youthful appearance.

The following pros and cons are courtesy of Forest Park Dental, Healthline and Solstice.

The advantages of dentures:

  • More economical than implants for traditional removable full or partial dentures.
  • A good solution for those who can’t have dental implants because of bone loss or other medical conditions.
  • Being fitted for dentures is non-invasive.
  • The entire process is relatively quick, requiring only a few visits to the dentist.

The disadvantages of dentures:

  • Dentures may feel uncomfortable at first, especially during the first day or two of wearing them. You might experience increased salivation, difficulty chewing and difficulty speaking.
  • Adjustments or replacements will eventually be necessary, as the structure of your face and gums change with age.
  • Partial dentures are known to weaken the adjacent natural teeth that provide support for the dentures.
  • Dentures limit the types of food you can enjoy.
  • Dentures may not stay in place, causing discomfort, difficulty in chewing food, embarrassment and loss of self-confidence.
  • Dentures are more time-intensive and inconvenient to care for than implants. For example, they can’t be worn overnight. Dentures should soak in water or a special cleaning solution during that time.
  • Infection around the mouth and gums can occur if dentures aren’t properly cleaned and cared for.
  • Ulcerations (sores) may occur on the gums.

All-on-Four Dental Implants — An Innovative Alternative

NK Family Dental is proud to offer our patients All-on-Four dental implants. This innovative solution combines the advantages of implants and dentures for comfort, convenience, function and durability. All-on-Four replaces all of the teeth in one arch with a denture-like prosthesis held in the jawbone by four implant posts. This prosthesis stays in place and is not removable by the patient (only by the dentist, if necessary).

For the right candidate, All-on-Four can provide the functionality and pleasing aesthetic effect of natural teeth. Our blog post — “All-on-Four Dental Implants: Everything You Need to Know” — describes this procedure in detail.

Highlights of All-on-Four:

  • Instead of individual implants to replace each missing tooth, All-on-Four requires only four implants to anchor the arch of replacement teeth. This means your smile or your lower teeth can be replaced in less time, and typically with less expense.
  • All-on-Four may prevent the need for bone grafting, as the four titanium implant posts are strategically placed into the thickest part of the jaw. If you have been told you weren’t a good candidate for traditional dental implants because of bone loss, All-on-Four may be a solution.
  • With proper care, the replacement teeth can last for 20 years or longer. Because of everyday wear and tear, the teeth may need adjustments over the years, but the implant posts should never have to be replaced.
  • A typical arch replacement can take from two to three hours, depending upon your individual situation.
  • Recovery from this procedure is usually rapid, as the implants immediately begin fusing with your jawbone. Most people are able to return to work or resume their regular activities within a day or two. 

Another good alternative to individual dental implants are removable dentures with denture stabilization implants. Denture stabilization implants consist of a permanently implanted titanium metal framework that is designed to support removable dentures and keep them steady and secure at all times. Because they are surgically inserted into the jawbone, denture stabilization implants will provide outstanding support for removable dentures.

A great benefit of removable dentures is that they can be taken out of the mouth for easy cleaning. And when it’s time for general use and regular wear, they can be quickly reinserted. Although the dentures can be removed easily when desired, they are highly unlikely to ever fall out or become loose at an inopportune moment. This makes them an excellent solution for many patients. With proper care, a set of removable dentures should last up to eight years.

Although there are many options to choose from, your choice should be guided by your dentist, who can recommend the best solution based upon your individual situation. At NK Family Dental, it is our mission to provide the highest quality and most compassionate oral care to our Chicago patients, including both dental and periodontal services. Our practice is trusted for advanced oral surgery procedures and comfortable root canal treatment.

Our team of experienced, dedicated dental professionals will help address your oral health concerns, and determine the best solution for you based on your individual situation. We strive to identify treatment options that fit your needs. Our dental specialists include our general dentist, Dr. Nilofer Khan, our endodontist, Dr. Sabek, and our periodontist, Dr. Amir Danesh. Dr. Danesh is a board-certified periodontist and Diplomat of the American Board of Periodontology. He has contributed to the publication of two books, as well as published over 20 papers in prestigious dental research journals.

We serve the neighborhoods of Logan Square, Bucktown, Humboldt Park, and Wicker Park with the dedication that’s earned us the reputation as the Best Dentist in Chicago!

We understand that the main concern you may have is cost, which is why we accept all major PPO plans for dental insurance and also offer our in-house dental plan. Please see our financing page for more information.

Schedule your visit through ZocDoc, or contact us directly. We look forward to treating you soon!


Leave a Reply