Maintaining healthy teeth and gums becomes increasingly important as you get older, but it can also become more challenging. Not only are gums more likely to weaken and recede as you age, the effects of poor oral hygiene can compound over the years. As a result, seniors are more likely to face tooth loss and other oral health challenges.
The good news is there are many viable solutions that can restore a bright and confident smile. Dental implants and dentures are two of the most common options for seniors facing tooth loss. However, deciding which is best for you isn’t always easy. Dental implants are highly regarded as one of the most effective options for tooth loss — they look and feel almost exactly like real teeth. However, there are instances when dentures might be a better fit for senior citizens.
If you’re unsure which option to choose, the best thing you can do is seek dental care right away. Your periodontist will conduct a thorough evaluation and offer more information to help you make the right choice. If you’re debating between dental implants and dentures, here are four important considerations:
1. Your Preference For Comfort And Long Term Stability
Comfort and long-term stability are important factors when deciding between dental implants and dentures. Dentures are comfortable, but ensuring they fit correctly is essential. Otherwise, they can slip which can make speaking and eating difficult.
On the other hand, dental implants feel almost exactly like real teeth. Most patients eventually forget they’re even there. Dental implants are the closest you can get to having your original teeth back. Because they connect directly to the jaw, they can also provide the regular stimulation needed to prevent atrophy. Unlike dentures, implants look almost identical to real teeth so you can truly have your smile back.
The process for obtaining dentures is easier than dental implants, but dentures don’t last as long. Dentures are much more susceptible to wear and tear, and as a result, they may need to be refitted or replaced over time. Implants, on the other hand, are made to last decades if not a lifetime. They’re permanent and highly durable. So long as you maintain good oral hygiene, you shouldn’t need to worry about them breaking or needing to be replaced.
In addition to longevity, dentures also come with some restrictions. You shouldn’t eat any hard foods, sticky foods, tough meat, seeds, or raw fruit; otherwise, you risk breaking or staining your dentures. When it comes to dental implants, you can return to eating and drinking just about anything which makes them much more convenient and comfortable.
2. The Cost
While dental implants last a lifetime, they’re much more costly than dentures. Therefore, pricing should be a primary factor for seniors when making their decision. Dental implants make sense as a long-term investment, but dentures are far less expensive upfront. However, dentures are more likely to require additional expenses down the road when maintenance or replacements are needed while implants do not.
Before signing up for dental implants, make sure to speak with your periodontist about the cost and shop around if you need to. Be sure to ask about any financing options or payment plans. If you have insurance or Medicare supplemental coverage, check to see if your policy covers a portion of dental implant costs. It’s important to fully understand the out-of-pocket expenses associated with this procedure prior to making your decision.
3. Care And Maintenance
When comparing tradeoffs between dentures and implants, you’ll also want to consider the time and effort required for maintenance. Dentures do require significantly more maintenance. They must be removed nightly, scrubbed with a denture brush, and soaked in a denture cleaner. You’ll also need to regularly clean your denture storage container.
On the other hand, dental implants require minimal care and maintenance. The only things you need to do is follow your regular brushing and flossing routine and visit your dentist for regular cleanings.
4. Whether Surgery Is An Option
When deciding between dental implants and dentures one thing to consider is whether or not surgery is an option for you. While implants are highly comfortable and effective, placing them is an invasive procedure. Implants are connected directly to the jawbone, so they must be set over a series of appointments that allows for time to heal in between. The entire process takes anywhere from 5 to 8 months. The surgery isn’t painful, and your periodontist can use anesthesia or sedation dentistry to help you remain comfortable throughout the procedure. However, there is a recovery period in which you may experience mild discomfort, bleeding, or swelling. Prior to choosing dental implants, you’ll need to make sure you’re comfortable with the idea of surgery. If you’re unsure about surgery, your periodontist can conduct an evaluation of your oral health and bone density and make a recommendation on whether you’re a candidate for oral surgery.
If your jaw isn’t strong enough to support implants, then a bone graft may also be necessary. This involves lifting bone tissue from a section of your jaw and using it to strengthen less-dense areas of your jaw in order to support implants. If it’s determined a bone graft is necessary, some periodontists can perform this procedure in-office prior to setting the implants, but it is an additional step.
The process of obtaining a set of dentures is far easier than getting dental implants. Your dentist or periodontist will simply take impressions of your mouth and will use them to create a set of custom dentures. The entire process can usually be accomplished in a few quick appointments depending on how well they fit or if any adjustments are needed. Molding your dentures and making adjustments usually takes 4 to 8 weeks.
If you’re unsure about surgery, your periodontist can conduct an evaluation of your oral health and bone density and make a recommendation on whether you’re a candidate for oral surgery.
Ormond Beach Perio Can Help With Dental Implants Or Dentures
Regardless of whether you choose dental implants or dentures, Ormond Beach Periodontics can help restore your bite and smile. We’ve been awarded the Readers’ Choice award for Best Implant Dentistry in Ormond Beach for 6 years in a row and are widely known as one of Central Florida’s leading periodontal practices. In addition to our expertise, we invest in some of the best dental technology available to help ensure the best patient outcomes. Contact us today to schedule your evaluation with Dr. Stuart Beauchamp.