Missing a tooth or a few teeth not only affects your oral health and ability to chew and speak it can also cause your confidence and self-esteem to plummet. Fortunately, this common problem can be easily rectified.
When you need to replace damaged, lost, or missing teeth, you have several options, including dental implants and dentures. Both ultimately serve the same purpose: to support facial muscles, improve speech, help you chew foods, and increase self-esteem by giving you a good smile. However, there are differences between the two. Let’s have a look at them in a little more detail.
Dentures are removable prosthetic appliances for your mouth that replace missing teeth and some of the gum. Two types are available:
To make a set of dentures, a dentist will take an impression of your upper and lower gums or both. They will also consider your bite and the alignment of your upper and lower jaws. This is to ensure the dentures will allow for optimal chewing and speech.
Dentures look like natural teeth and are held in place by a particular type of adhesive that fixes them to the gums. You have to remove your dentures, clean them every night, and put them back in place in the morning.
A dental implant is a titanium post surgically placed in your jawbone, replicating the root of a natural tooth. The implant bonds firmly with the bone (it osseointegrates) so it won’t slip, cause bone damage or make a noise, as dentures can. Once osseointegration has occurred and the implant has stabilized, a small connecter known as an abutment is placed on top of it. This will connect it to the tooth replacement, which may be a dental crown, an implant-supported bridge, or dentures containing multiple teeth.
If you have any missing teeth, the most important thing to do is talk to your dentist, who will explain the options in more detail to help you make an informed choice.
Depending on your situation, one solution may be recommended over the other. If your dentist indicates that both dental implants and dentures are an option, you will have to decide.
Choosing the right solution for you depends on numerous factors such as cost, preference, and health of your jawbone and remaining teeth. Other considerations include
Oral hygiene: You will have to remove dentures and clean them meticulously every day, sometimes with a denture cleaning solution. On the other hand, dental implants are maintained by brushing and flossing as you would natural teeth. Also, because implants are easier to maintain than dentures, there’ll be fewer ongoing visits to the dentist.
Improved appearance: Dental implants look and function naturally and are very similar to your regular teeth. And being fixed to your jawbone will never accidentally and embarrassingly fall out in the middle of a conversation or while eating or laughing. Denture technology has made great strides over the years and today’s dentures look more natural than ever. However, they can still slip and may also feel bulky.
Durability: If looked after, dental implants can last a lifetime, which means that although initial costs are higher than dentures, they can be lower in the long term. Dentures have to be replaced relatively frequently.
Long-term oral health: Implants function the same as natural teeth, stimulating the jaw and gum through the forces produced by chewing to preserve them. This prevents bone loss and gum shrinkage. Dentures do not have this effect. And if they’re ill-fitting, they may even accelerate bone loss.
Bone density: Implants need a certain amount of jawbone to be able to support the titanium posts. So, if significant bone material is missing through age, injury or disease, you may not be a good candidate for a dental implant. However, you may be eligible for a bone grafting procedure to increase bone density.
Eating: Once you have adjusted to your dentures, you should be able to eat just about anything. However, you will always have to be extra careful when eating hard and sticky foods. Your dentist may even suggest you avoid these altogether. Dental implants, however, restore full chewing and eating ability.
Do you have any questions about dental implants? Do you want a permanent solution to your missing teeth that restores bite functionality and your healthy smile? If so, why not schedule a FREE dental implant consultation to see how they might be able to help you. Call us on (314) 469-6429 or use our online booking form.