As a dental implantologist, I get asked this question almost daily in my surgery. To answer this properly, we need to look at process involved in both treatment modalities, and the longevity achieved from both.
For some lucky patients, they have a simple denture which they are able to wear and tolerate comfortably, without affecting their ability to eat or function. However, that is the exception. For most patients, the wearing of a denture is an acceptable compromise, whereby they are reliant on fixatives to ensure the stability of the denture.Many dentists likely have seen patients suffering with the discomfort, inconvenience and embarrassment of a poorly stabilized denture. These patients must adapt their diets, social lives and daily habits to accommodate their dentures, and it often can be a very disappointing and embarrassing experience. Many patients turn to measures such as over-the-counter reline kits or excessive use of denture adhesive in an attempt to gain added stability, but these solutions rarely provide the level of security these patients are seeking.
The process of constructing a good denture will often involve 6 visits to the dental office, often spaced over 2 months. A good denture will last approximately 5 years where a replacement will be indicated
In my clinic, the most common referral for implants is a patient who has been wearing dentures for a number of years and are not willing to accept the compromise anymore.
For a complete denture wearer, this will often involve the placement of 4 titamium implants, and followed by a requisite period of healing, a denture that is fully supported by the implants. The advantage of this option is that it allows the patient to move seamlessly from a removable denture, to a fully stabilised prosthesis that is supported by implants. Moreover, the implants will preserve the existing bone structure, and if well maintained, can last for over 20 years.
Hence, if we take a 20 year reference period, an average patient can expect to pay 4 times to have a reasonably good denture that is comfortable. Alternatively, they may choose to pay once to have the implants placed to stabilise and fix the denture, and if properly maintained, will not have to replace that for at least 20 years.
If we take a holistic approach to this option, we can conclude that for most patients, the difference in cost will not be as dramatic as one would expect
(Wasim consults at Dentaliving, and you can arrange a free consultation with him. Please call 0208 5506211)