Will my face sink in with dentures?
Out of all the questions, those considering dentures most commonly ask me this one. I am not entirely sure why many online articles seem to stress this point. As long as you have some support for your lips from dentures, implants or your natural teeth, you'll be fine.
It is true that if some teeth have been missing for a long time, some bone in the mouth resorbs, making it difficult to replace teeth with implants in the future, but generally this bone resorption is not sufficient to cause your face to collapse.
Both dentures and full mouth implants will give you enough soft tissue support to look good.
Are dentures or full mouth implants more durable?
In most cases, dentures and implant dentures are both made of acrylic. There are different qualities of acrylic around, but let’s say they are both removed "and" made of the same quality of acrylic, they will wear in a similar way. Because dentures aren't fixed, they have more give. Therefore, they technically wear at a slightly lower rate than implant bridge. In my experience, both acrylic dentures and implant dentures will need to be replaced in 5 -20 years as they wear and stain. The implants however, can often still give you many years of service despite worn prosthesis.
If you choose a stronger material such as zirconia or porcelain fused to metal for your implant bridge, then you will most likely experience significantly improved durability, but the initial investment will be higher. When it comes to durability, you get what you pay for.
Wearing a night guard to protect your implant denture from grinding and avoiding very hard biscuits or crusts will significantly improve its longevity.
Are implants painful? I am averse to pain, should I go for dentures?
Surprisingly, pain is a rare complaint with implants. So, what’s our secret? Medications! We are so spoilt with modern medicine. A combination of non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, short term corticosteroids and antibiotics work a treat. These medications keep people comfortable and sleeping well at night.
Dentures on the other hand don't require surgery so technically there should be no pain involved. Right? Wrong! They move and rub the gums, resulting in sore spots. I have more patients complaining about pain and discomfort associated with dentures than with implants. Ultimately, dentures can continue to cause pain and discomfort after healing, whereas implants should be pain-free.
The most common demographic of people we see who require full mouth implants are actually people who have a dental phobia. They are often terrified to even sit in the dental chair at the beginning, but by the end of the process, they jokingly tell me that they’ve been cured of their fear. Really? Surgery cures fear? Well, that’s what my patients tell me.
Is there a warranty on dentures and implants?
When it comes to warranty in medicine, there is no such a thing. The best guarantee we have is to prevent diseases through good nutrition and home care. I encourage my patients to hold on to their teeth for as long as possible, as there is simply nothing better than your natural teeth. Medical procedures carry no guarantees and dentistry is no exception. Everyone’s mouth is different, and results are not 100% predictable. How you care for your dentures at home, the presence or absence of teeth grinding, as well as the dentist's expertise, will affect the longevity of your dentures and implants. The way I think of it, if I do my job well and you do your part by cleaning them well and wearing a night guard if instructed to, I will go out of my way to assist you financially if something goes wrong. However, we both need to take responsibility when it comes to longevity.
Can implants fail?
In Australia, dental implants have a 94–97% success rate. The overwhelming majority of people have no issues with their implants. That being said, you can have the most experienced, cautious and skilled dental surgeon and still have an implant that fails. Medical conditions and autoimmune diseases, smoking, poor oral hygiene and active infections (like gum disease) all increase the likelihood of implant failure. Implant infections are easier to treat if detected as early as possible, that’s why seeing your dentist for regular follow ups is essential. Overall, the best protection is prevention.
What about the cost?
The big question. We appreciate that the cost of Dental care in Australia is not cheap, especially for dental implants.
There are many variables in calculating the cost of implants, such as what teeth are being replaced, how broad your smile is, and the angulation, length and size of implants being used, and whether a bone graft or sinus lift is required. The average price of full arch implants in Australia is $23,000 – $27,000 per arch.
Dentures are a cost-effective solution to replace missing teeth. With the average price of dentures being $800 – $3,500 (depending on the type) in Australia, you can get many sets of dentures for the price of implants. However, over a lifetime, the cost of replacements may eventually surpass the price of dental implants.