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After an Extraction: Dentures or Implants?

top half of denture set
Creative Commons image by Kathy McGraw

While it’s best to save a tooth whenever possible, the fact is, sometimes several teeth need to be extracted. Whether the teeth were lost in an accident, decayed past the point of no return, or loosened due to bone loss, the spaces that missing teeth leave behind can be bothersome. You might feel bad about the way it looks, and you might also have trouble chewing or speaking properly with teeth missing. In addition, missing teeth can cause further bone loss, changing the shape of your face. If you are trying to decide between dentures and dental implants, here are some considerations to keep in mind.

Financial Considerations

If you are on a tight budget and your dental insurance is not going to be covering the work, there is no doubt about it: Dentures are the less-expensive option. When you have implants placed, you will need to have not only the implant itself installed in the bone, but also the crown which goes on top of the implant. All of this can add up, and most insurance companies will not cover all of the work.

Aesthetic Considerations

If you wondering which type of teeth replacement will look better, chances are good that it will be dental implants. The gum tissue around the implants is your own, and the teeth will be made individually. With dentures, the pink tissue showing when you smile is often part of the dentures themselves, and the teeth do not have natural spacing, but are instead attached. Usually implants look more natural.

Functional Considerations

If you would like to be able to treat your teeth replacements like your natural teeth, then implants will be more of what you are looking for. They don’t go in and out of your mouth, and once your tissue heals, they will feel the same as your natural teeth.

Dentures need to be removed each evening, and some people find them difficult to talk and eat with, particularly when they’re new. In some cases, they can rub and be uncomfortable; again, this usually dissipate once you get used to them.

If you have a lot of bone loss, implants might not be a feasible option. Your dentist can tell you whether you have enough bone to support dental implants.

Best of Both Worlds

Another option, which is less expensive than having many implants placed and easier to keep in place while chewing and speaking, is a combination of the two choices. You can have a couple implants placed in your mouth, then dentures can be fabricated to snap into them. They will be held in place by the snaps, so the dentures will shift around less than if they were not clicked into place.

If you need help deciding what type of teeth replacement you should have, talk to your dentist. He or she will know all of the details of your particular case and can advise you which would be better in the long run.

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