Pros and Cons of Dental Implants vs. Dentures near Arlington, VA

Are you missing a few teeth? Have you been considering dentures? If so, there’s another option that may be worth considering: Implants. They’re an attractive alternative for a lot of people, although they’re not for everyone. We’ll take a closer look at the two options, dental implants vs. dentures near Arlington, VA, in this piece to give you an overview, and when you’re ready to proceed, we’ll work with you to finalize your selection and put a treatment plan together to ensure that you’re getting exactly what you want.

Dental Implants vs. Dentures Near Arlington, VA

Perhaps the first best way to compare the two options is to look at the pros and cons of each. While there are a number of important differences, the first thing most people want to know about is cost, and here, dentures win the day, handily. Not only are they significantly cheaper than implants, but most dental insurance covers dentures, while implants are viewed as a cosmetic procedure, and in most cases, aren’t covered. That means more out of pocket expense for you, which may put implants out of reach for many people.

The other big advantage dentures offer are as follows:

  • Non-invasive – Dental implants require surgery, while dentures do not. If you’re looking to avoid a surgical procedure, dentures are the way to go.
  • Testing the waters – Dentures are a great option if you’re not sure, and want to test the waters before committing to something more permanent. It gives you an opportunity to see how they’ll look and feel.
  • Easy to adjust – This is something that often gets overlooked in a comparison of dental implants vs. dentures near Arlington, VA. Implants, being permanent, can’t really be adjusted. Once they’re in, they’re in. That’s not the case with dentures, which allow for quick and easy modification as needed.
  • Inexpensive way to support face structure – If you’ve lost a number of teeth, your cheeks, lips, and jaws can take on a collapsed or sunken look. Dentures are an easy way to reverse this.

That being said, dentures come with a number of drawbacks that must be mentioned in any fair comparison of dental implants vs. dentures near Arlington, VA. These include:

  • They’re not as natural looking – it’s easy to tell at a glance that you’re wearing dentures.
  • High maintenance – Dentures must be removed and cleaned daily, and cannot be worn overnight. Nighttime is, in fact, a good time to clean them, and removing them overnight gives your gums a chance to recover.
  • Slippage – If you’ve spent any time at all around someone who wears dentures, you’ve probably seen this firsthand. Dentures can slip or move, especially when the person wearing them is eating or talking.
  • Harder to talk with – some people experience difficulty speaking normally when wearing dentures, lacking the proper muscle control to hold them in place.
  • They will restrict your diet – Wearing dentures means that you won’t be able to enjoy certain foods, for fear of damaging the dentures themselves, or your gums, or having them fall out mid-meal.
  • They’re food traps – This is a big consideration when comparing dental implants vs. dentures near Arlington, VA. Because the dentures rest on top of your gums, it’s easy for food particles to work their way beneath them, which can increase the risk of gum disease, and potentially damage your remaining teeth.
  • They’re quite fragile – If you drop them, or they fall out of your mouth, dentures are easily damaged and broken.
  • Not designed for longevity – Longevity is another big factor when comparing dental implants vs. dentures near Arlington, VA. Dentures only last 3-6 years, which means that over the span of your life, you’ll likely have to replace them several times. Contrast that with implants, which are designed to last fifteen to twenty years, or longer.
  • They’re removable – While some people see this as an advantage, many people have a psychological aversion to wearing removable teeth. If that describes you, then it’s probably a deal breaker where dentures are concerned.
  • Can damage surrounding teeth – This is yet another big consideration when comparing dental implants vs. dentures near Arlington, VA. If you’ve still got some (or several) of your own teeth, then the presence of the dentures can weaken or damage your remaining, natural teeth. In fact, it may become necessary to reshape your natural teeth to accommodate the presence of the denture clasps.

Before we take a closer look at implants, it’s important to note too, that the word “dentures” is actually a catch-all that encompasses a variety of dental appliances. While people tend to refer to all of them as simply “dentures,” there are some subtle differences. These include:

  • Dental Bridges – These are fixed (non-removable) appliances used to replace missing teeth and help maintain the overall shape of your face.
  • Partials – Rather than being a complete set of teeth, partials are designed to be fitted in and around your remaining teeth to fill in the gaps that missing teeth have left behind. Partials use clasps that affix to your existing, natural teeth to help hold them in place. These are removable, and all the pros and cons we talked about above apply.
  • Full Mouth Dentures – If you’ve lost numerous teeth, a full set of dentures may be the optimal approach. This will require the extraction of any remaining teeth you have, along with a process of making impressions of your mouth and gum structure so that your dentures will fit snugly and fit appropriately. As with partials, these are removable dental appliances, and all the pros and cons we talked about above apply.

So that gives you a broad overview of one half of the equation. Now let’s take a closer look at implants to see where and how they differ.

The biggest advantages implants offer are as follows:

  • Durability – Implants can last twenty years or longer, with proper care.
  • Ease of cleaning – This is a big consideration in any comparison of dental implants vs. dentures near Arlington, VA. Many people balk at having to take their teeth out at night for cleaning, and with implants, you don’t have to. You can brush and floss normally.
  • Better long-term oral health – Part of the reason you have to take your dentures out each night (in addition to cleaning them) is to give your gums a chance to recover. Implants become part of the normal architecture of your mouth, and as such, they help preserve bone mass and are not likely to contribute to gum disease.
  • They look more natural – This is another big factor in comparing dental implants vs. dentures near Arlington, VA. It’s obvious, even to a casual observer, that you’re wearing dentures, but unless you tell someone you have implants, they’re unlikely to be aware of it because they look so much like your natural teeth.

Aside from the issue of cost, which, as mentioned, is significantly higher for implants, perhaps the biggest factor when comparing dental implants vs. dentures near Arlington, VA is that the implant procedure is both invasive and time intensive.

For each missing tooth to be replaced, an implant is surgically placed which takes the place of the root of the missing tooth. In 3-6 months’ time, your bones grow around and adapt to the implant as though it were a natural root.

Once the implant is firmly in place and the surrounding gum tissue has recovered, it’s ready to support a crown, which is the “tooth” part of the implant.

As you can see then, getting to that point is a time intensive process, especially as compared to dentures, and that doesn’t take into account the possibility of complications which could prolong the process.

For example, if the implant site does not have enough bone volume to support the implant, then you’ll need a bone graft. Over time, you can lose bone mass due to periodontal disease, infections, and the like, so it’s not as uncommon as you might think. It’s a safe, effective procedure, but it will mean that it’ll take even longer to complete the process.

Choosing between dentures and implants is a big decision with lots of factors to consider. When you’re ready to talk about which one is right for you, give us a call and schedule an appointment. We’ll be more than happy to help!