Tooth loss is a problem with a solution.
With over 36 million Americans missing all their teeth, you’re not alone. Tooth loss impacts your self esteem. You may find yourself embarrassed or afraid of smiling. You might not like your smile as much, and you find yourself avoiding smiling so that others don’t realize you’re missing teeth. But you don’t have to live that way.
Beyond aesthetics, tooth loss poses other problems. The surrounding teeth start to shift and bacteria can hide under the gumline more easily, ramping up the chances for decay and gum disease. The jaw begins to lose density, altering the structure of your face. Tooth loss is even linked to systemic health problems, such as diabetes. The good news is that we have solutions for you.
What are dentures?
Dentures are removable artificial teeth and can either be made to replace a whole arch of teeth or just a few teeth. The artificial gums are made from acrylic resin and the teeth from resin or another material such as porcelain. They’re held in place by forming a seal with the gums. These days, advanced technology allows dentures to look a lot like natural teeth. The procedure for placing dentures is quick and simple, and you’ll have your smile and confidence back in no time.
What are implants?
Single implants are made to replace one missing tooth. During the procedure, a titanium screw is inserted into the jawbone and it functions like the roots of natural teeth do. An abutment tooth connects the titanium root to a crown. The crown can be made from a variety of materials, and it’s made to look very lifelike and match the color of the surrounding teeth.
What are implant supported dentures?
Implant supported dentures are a type of overdenture meant to replace several teeth or an entire arch of teeth. For an entire arch, usually two to six implants are inserted into the jawbone and the dentures are fixed upon them.
There are a couple different kinds of implant supported dentures. They can either be made to snap on and off the titanium roots, or be permanently fixed. Implant supported dentures are very strong and ideal if you’re looking for something that functions like your natural teeth.
Which option is best for me?
In an ideal world, everyone would go for implants or implant supported dentures because of the added health benefits they propose. However, implants aren’t for everyone. In order to be a candidate for implants or implant supported dentures, you need to have a certain amount of jawbone density. You also have to be healthy enough to undergo oral surgery. There are many different things to take into account when making this decision.
Procedure Cost and Time
You’ll find the prices vary, but overall, dental dentures are considerably cheaper than implant supported dentures, but you do need to factor in the cost of more frequent replacement of your dentures over time. A good question to ask yourself is, “What portion will my insurance cover?” Implants and dentures are considered a cosmetic procedure and you’ll likely have to pay a portion out of pocket for either option—but check with your insurance provider for the exact costs.
The procedure of placing implants is longer and more extensive than that of dentures. The recovery time is longer if you’re having implants placed as you’ll need to recover from the initial surgery and allow your body time to heal and for the titanium post to integrate with your jaw bone.
Long vs. Short Term
Implants are a long-term, permanent solution. They’re the closest solution to your natural teeth and they are designed to last a lifetime. Dentures on the other hand, while they are more economical, are also more of a short-term solution. Dentures need regular adjustment to fit your jaw as the bone shrinks, and will need to be replaced every seven to 10 years.
Preservation of Bone Quality
Implants stimulate the bone in the same way that natural teeth roots do. Removable dentures don’t provide that stimulation, allowing for the bone to continue losing density. Dentures are a good option if there’s not enough jawbone to do an implant. In addition to preserving bone quality, implants support your facial structure better than dentures do.
If you have lost jaw bone density, but are wanting to get an implant or implant-supported denture placed, speak to your dentist about whether you are a candidate for a bone graft to strengthen your jaw bone.
Feel and Function of Dentures vs. Implants
Implants and implant supported dentures feel very similar to the way your natural teeth do. They’re both also very stable. Dentures allow you to eat a lot more than you would without teeth, however, there are some foods on the restriction list. That list includes hard and sticky foods and foods with little pieces that can get stuck—such as steak, popcorn, apples, and sticky candy—whereas with dental implants, once your site heals after the implant surgery, you will not have these restrictions.
A well-fitting denture doesn’t need creams and adhesives, but they may be used for extra stability. Implants don’t require any adhesives to stay into place. Dentures will need to be checked every year for repairs and to be realigned every two years, while implants only need to be replaced if they’re broken or damaged, and on average they last over 10 years.
When it comes to upkeep with dentures, you’ll need to remove and rinse them after eating, brush them everyday, and soak them every night. Removable implant supported dentures also require soaking, while implants and permanent implant supported dentures don’t. They do require special maintenance—such as carefully cleaning between teeth with a waterpik.
We will help you determine which treatment is best for you.
If you’re in Middletown, OH, and you’re curious about dental implants or dentures, and want to explore your tooth replacement options, book an appointment with us. We will help you get your smile back in no time.