Teeth tend to become weaker over time, even if they are well taken care of, unfortunately. Certain factors, like family history and poor eating or brushing habits, can also weaken teeth. In some cases, teeth may even crack or fall out. When this happens, people often want to replace the fallen teeth for a variety of reasons. For one, it helps them regain their smile and confidence. It can also help people eat and even speak easier. All of these reasons make looking into viable tooth replacement options a good idea. Dentures and dental implants are two of the most popular dental procedures that help people who have lost their teeth.
Dental implants are directly implanted into the gums and jaw, used for supporting crowns, bridges, and even dentures, and can be either permanent or removable. Depending on the type of implant and the healthcare routine of the recipient, implants can last 10-15 years.
Pros – People claim that they feel more natural compared to dentures. Permanent implants also won’t move around as some ill-fitted dentures might, meaning they won’t potentially pop out and cause embarrassment, nor will they create sores from extra movement. In addition to bringing these comforts, implants can enhance people’s ability to chew and taste. In the past few years, implants have been an increasingly popular solution for tooth replacement. In fact, some experts believe that they might entirely replace dentures.
Cons – Unfortunately, dental implants can be costly. Prices vary depending on the type and amount of implants. According to the FDA, single crown can range between $1,000 – $3,000, although some can be significantly more expensive, especially if multiple teeth need to be replaced.
Dentures are removable dental prostheses. Depending on the type of dentures and how well cared for it is, they can last 5-10 years on average. Dentures can be for either the top of the mouth or the jaw; full sets are two plates, one for the top and one for the bottom.
Pros – Like implants, dentures can help improve the confidence, speech, and chewing ability of the user. They are also typically cheaper than implants, with a complete plate costing anywhere from $300 to $5,000; this price is doubled for a complete set (top and bottom).
Cons – Unfortunately, dentures generally don’t feel natural. Some people may experience uncomfortable side effects like an initial surge of excess salivation or a choking or gagging sensation. They may also create sore spots from them moving around if not properly fitted. Ill-fitted dentures might even pop out, causing embarrassment for the user. Furthermore, if not properly cared for, they can cause health problems for the person wearing them, like bad breath or possibly even tooth decay. A stringent cleaning and maintenance routine is needed to ensure dentures last a while and don’t cause further dental problems.
Many insurance companies will not cover either dental implants or dentures, or possibly both. This is because most dental insurance plans primarily cover preventative measures and procedures, like regular check-ups to help prevent tooth decay or other issues from occurring. Dental implants are largely considered cosmetic procedures, meaning that many insurance companies won’t cover the cost. Dentures, too, are not always covered by insurance because they are often categorized as a restorative or cosmetic procedure.
Medicaid is more likely to provide more comprehensive coverage for children recipients, but not always for adult Medicaid recipients. Different states will provide different types of coverage, so be sure to check out local state offices for more information.
Medicare, too, largely does not cover dental care. Certain Medicare Advantage plans can cover routine services, but not dentures.
Checking into individual insurance companies and asking specifically about available dental plans and coverage is a good way to find a company that can provide adequate coverage for individuals needing dental work.