Tooth loss is more common than you might think. Figures suggest that around 120 million people in the U.S are missing at least one tooth, whilst more than 36 million do not have any teeth at all! Missing teeth affect more than just the appearance of your smile. They also have a considerable impact on the function of your teeth. If you have many lost teeth, you may find it impossible to bite and chew your food, or even speak properly – problems that can further affect your confidence and self-esteem and have an impact on your ability to life live to the fullest extent.
Fortunately, there is absolutely no need to tolerate the inconvenience of missing teeth. Patients now have the benefit of having several different options when it comes to the restoration of the function and appearance of their smile. Two of the most effective are dentures and dental implants. Which is right for you? Let’s have a look at both to help you make your decision.
Many people are familiar with the general concept of dentures - fake teeth that are attached to a mold that sits over the top of your gums, secured in place using an adhesive that works for the duration of the day. Dentures are then removed overnight so that they can be cleaned. The original design of dentures is still the same, but the materials and techniques used to produce them have evolved significantly, making modern dentures much improved.
If you are missing all of the teeth in your upper jaw, your denture will consist of the mold that fits over your gums as well as a plate that covers the roof of your mouth. This helps to give the device greater security and stability. However, dentures that are designed for the lower jaw contain only a horseshoe-shaped mold so that there is no interference with the tongue. Every denture is created specifically for the patient, with prosthetic teeth designed to look natural and attractive.
Your artificial teeth are completely removable
No invasive surgery is needed to create your denture
Modern dentures look very realistic
They are more affordable than dental implants
Dentures are suitable for virtually all patients including those with weakened/deteriorated bone in their jaw (which is common in patients with tooth loss)
If you are missing teeth and your gums and jaw are healthy, you may wish to consider dental implants. These are artificial teeth that are surgically implanted into the bone of your jaw. Patients can opt for a single dental implant that replaces just one missing tooth, or a bridge or denture that is supported on the dental implant posts. These posts are made from titanium, which is biocompatible and won’t be rejected by the body and are inserted at pre-determined locations that offer the greatest support for your smile restoration. Individual implants require one post each, which acts as the root of the artificial tooth. However, implant-supported bridges can usually be supported on two implant posts and an entire denture on anywhere between four and eight implant posts. Your implant provider will be able to tell you how many implanted posts you are likely to need.
The use of surgically-implanted posts into the jaw gives dental implants the unrivaled stability for which they are well known. This is because when the bone is damaged to place the post into it, the body automatically kick-starts the healing process, prompting the regeneration of bone around it which then anchors it permanently into the jaw. The visible part of the restoration can then be attached to the section of the post that protrudes through the gums via a special connector. In addition to this, the implant post continues to stimulate the bone in the jaw to keep it strong and healthy and the facial structure intact.
The visible element – the porcelain crown/bridge/denture – is custom-designed based on your individual needs. Depending on the type of dental implant procedure you have, you may not be able to have your custom restoration loaded onto the posts straight away. This is because it can take several months for the bone to heal properly around the implant post. In this scenario, patients are given generic temporary restorations instead.
Unrivaled stability and security of your restoration
The most natural in appearance compared to alternatives
Implants reinforce the bone in your jaw to keep it healthy
No embarrassing slips and movements
No need to worry about what you eat since the implants cannot be pulled out
A long-lasting solution that could be maintained for upwards of 20 years
Greater patient comfort than dentures
Higher overall satisfaction for the majority of patients
If you would like to discover more about the differences between dentures and dental implants to help you decide which is the most appropriate for you, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our expert dental team at Clarity Dental Center in Federal Way, WA.