Every day, dentists near you receive phone calls from people tired of their dentures. They get the impression from the way people talk about them that people are aware of the benefits of dental implants and would gladly replace their old dentures. However, there is more to it than that. Whether to get dentures or dental implants is personal and should be made with the help of a dentist who can offer you both options.
On the one hand, dentures have been around for centuries. They are tried and true and have helped millions of people recover their smiles. Dentures are also much less expensive than dental implants.
On the other hand, dental implants are a newer technology that has only been around for a few decades. They offer a much more natural look and feel than dentures and can last a lifetime with proper care. Unfortunately, dental implants are also much more expensive than dentures.
Comparing dentures and implants is like comparing apples to automobiles. They are opposed! Dental implants are more comfortable than traditional dentures because they do not press down on your gums. Dentures can also be very uncomfortable for many people because they move around in the mouth and irritate the gums. Dentures are removable, whereas implants are permanently fixed and thus more stable and secure. Dentures are said to have only 15% of our natural chewing ability. While you should be cautious when eating tough foods with implants, they feel similar to your natural teeth.
Do you have trouble swallowing pills? A strong gag reflex affects about 10% of the population. It's perfectly normal. People with a strong gag reflex often cannot tolerate dentures that extend far back into their mouth, which is thought to be an evolutionary advantage. Implants, on the other hand, are a different story. Because full mouth implants do not require roof-of-mouth coverage, they will not activate your gag reflex.
Yes! This seems counterintuitive because we associate taste buds with our tongues. Many nerve endings in the roof of our mouth are responsible for detecting taste. We have up to 10,000 taste buds, some of which are on our soft and demanding palates. So, what happens if you cover these with a denture? You will not be able to taste your food properly. However, implants expose the palate, allowing you to enjoy every flavor in your food.
You should remove your dentures at night to avoid fungus from growing beneath them and infecting your gums. I'm not joking. Candida albicans is a fungal strain that can grow in your mouth if your gums are not allowed to rest. I know you'll look toothless at night, but you have to weigh the possibility of fungus growing in your mouth against looking toothless at night.
You are safe with full mouth implants. Because your palate is exposed, the risk of fungus is eliminated, making it perfectly safe to sleep with your full implant-supported denture.
Suppose your dentist has diagnosed you with nocturnal bruxism (nighttime grinding/clenching). In that case, they may advise you to wear a grinding plate or to opt for a clip-on implant-supported denture. This is essentially a denture that clips so tightly to implants that it feels fixed rather than removable when in the mouth, but it can be removed on demand. Removing it while you're sleeping will give you nothing to grind on, allowing you to protect your implants.
At Monahan Family and Cosmetic Dentistry, your smile is our top priority. We understand that choosing between dentures and implants can be a difficult decision. Our goal is to educate our patients to make the best decision for their smiles. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to give us a call today!