Tooth loss caused by an accident, injury, or disease can have a significant impact on, self-esteem, and oral health problems. Without a replacement tooth, other teeth move, and the bone can start to deteriorate. Dental restorations can replace missing teeth and allow patients to lead full, active lives. Two of the most common restoration practices for missing teeth are dental implants and dentures. There are many things to consider when trying to decide which option is best for you.
Confidence Level – Implants that are placed with precision will be firm and perform just like natural tooth with roots. They are made to look and feel like natural teeth. Dental implants also help prevent weakening of the jawbone, so the patient’s face maintains its natural shape and appearance. Dentures tend to slip, limiting the wearer’s ability to talk and eat.
Comfort Level – Dental implants are permanent, natural looking and very functional. Implants also offer the same strength for biting as natural teeth and do not affect the taste of food. Most denture wearers experience discomfort at some point, because over time the gum tissues may shrink and cause the denture to become loose. This may cause gum irritation and mouth sores. Continual modifications are expected over the life of the denture to adjust for the jaw bone and gum shrinkage. Messy dental adhesive is necessary to get the best fit. The taste of foods may be affected when wearing upper dentures because the palate is covered.
Durability – Gum and bone shrinkage is something to be concerned about. Dental implants help preserve bone and gum mass because they are permanently set in the mouth. They are also highly predictable. With dental implants, there are no embarrassing prosthetics that may slip or cause speech impediments. Dental implants do not need adjacent teeth for support and therefore do not need to be ground down to support crowns for conventional bridges. The natural teeth are not compromised. Dental implants are a lifelong, dependable answer to missing teeth. Dentures can be durable enough to also be a lifelong solution. However, dentures do not do anything to stop bone and gum mass shrinkage. This may result in refitting or replacement. Bone and gum shrinkage may also cause a change in the bite and deterioration of the denture’s chewing surface.
Cost – The initial cost of dental implants can be a major investment, but there are no further need for adjustments, replacements or follow up visits to the dental office. Since only one tooth is replaced instead of multiple teeth necessary to install a bridge, dental implants may actually cost less than traditional bridgework. Dentures can be manufactured quickly, are resilient and cost much less than implants. However, with dentures, the gums tend to shrink over time, and additional visits to our office are necessary for recurring adjustments and denture replacements.
Depending on the patient’s dental needs, each option will be evaluated, and we will discuss the best choice for each individual. Dental implants or dentures can improve quality of life by helping with day-to-day functions, such as eating and speaking, as well as restore confidence by improving appearance and smile. Whichever option is chosen, the new restorations will look and feel great.