How Implants Differ From Dentures
Dental implants and dentures both help improve the general health of the mouth and restore the smile’s appearance. Both have a long life expectancy with proper care. Both will require lengthy dental procedures and both can be fairly expensive. Recovery time for both can depend on a number of factors including how well you follow the after care instructions as well as how quickly your body typically heals. But, there are some very key differences between dental implants and full or partial dentures. All options should be discussed and considered before a final decision is reached.
Are Implants Even an Option for You?
Because of the way that implants work, they are not a viable option for everybody. You must have healthy gums and jaws so that the implants have a place to anchor. Someone who is losing teeth because of severe gum disease would not be a good candidate for implants. For those people, the only option would be dentures.
How Implants are Better Than Dentures
Even under ideal conditions, dentures may eventually slip. You will need to use adhesives, pads and other methods to keep them in place. These things are messy and some can be expensive. Even with denture adhesive some people may still have problems with the slipping to the point that they cannot safely and comfortably eat or even speak while wearing their dentures.
Implants are permanently attached to metal anchors in the jaw. Once the posts are healed, the dentist will attach the crowns. With proper care, the implants will last twenty years or more. Following the dental instructions you are given is key to keeping your implants not only looking good but healthy as well.
Implants have the huge advantage of looking far more natural than dentures.
Both implants and dentures will have recovery times. The length of recovery for either will depend on a number of factors including:
- The number of teeth that need removed
- How quickly you normally heal
- Your age and health status
Once the implant rods have been placed, you will recover for several weeks to months and then the next step of the procedure will take place. For the dentures, the dentist may place “same day” dentures immediately after extraction. These dentures are worn even while your gums are recovering from the trauma of extraction. Standard dentures will not be placed until the gums have completely healed which may take as long as 6 weeks.
Poor Candidates for Implants
In addition to people with diseased gums or weak jaw bones, there are some people who should not be considered for dental implants. Anyone who is at a higher risk for infection, smokers and pregnant women should not have implants. Pregnancy can increase bleeding risk and may also affect healing times. Smoking also increase bleeding risk and will slow healing. Smokers may also forego some of the necessary oral hygiene needed to maintain the overall health of the implants.
Because the implants are screwed directly in to the jaw, any potential infection can get cause serious problems including infection that gets in the blood stream and then infects the heart.
Cost and Insurance Coverage
Insurance may cover the cost of either dentures or implants but that is not always the case. How much the insurance covers (if any) can vary by plan and whether the carrier declares the procedure to be necessary or cosmetic in nature. Implants usually cost more but are also the longer lasting and more natural solution to tooth loss. Dentures may be fully covered by insurance but your options will be restricted to a certain type. You typically will only get one or maybe two fittings which may leave you with uncomfortable, slipping and less than effective dentures.
No matter which option is best for your needs, always follow all of the doctor’s suggestions for after care. Oral hygiene will be one of the most important ways to keep your smile happy and healthy for a very long time.
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