Living with missing teeth isn’t an ideal situation for anyone. Not only will the gaps in your teeth impact how you feel about your smile, but it can also affect your overall confidence and self-esteem. You may also find that the way in which you use your teeth changes to compensate for your missing teeth, such as eating differently or even altering the way that you pronounce your words. Fortunately, there are now more options than ever when it comes to helping patients rediscover their smile. For missing teeth, two of the choices that you are most likely to come across will be dentures and dental implants. Despite sounding similar, they are very different solutions.
Dentures are removable, partial or full arches of missing teeth which sit over the top of the gums where your gaps are. In the past, dentures were primarily associated with the older generation, and whilst it’s true that multiple tooth loss is more common amongst senior-age people, more patients than ever before are now benefitting from dentures to replace their teeth. Fortunately, the design of modern dentures has also improved, and they are now considered much more comfortable and esthetically like natural teeth.
All dentures are bespoke, created specifically for each individual patient. With full dentures, a flesh-colored acrylic base fits over your gums, to which your row of artificial teeth is attached. In full upper dentures, the base usually fits over the palate, which is the roof of the mouth, too. However, lower dentures have a base which is horseshoe-shaped so that it doesn’t interfere with the tongue.
Dentures are kept in place using a special adhesive that secures the base to your gum. However, many patients find that the level of stability offered by the adhesive is far from ideal, and small movements of the denture, including embarrassing slips, are fairly common.
Dentures may be the most suitable tooth replacement solution for you if:
- You are on a fairly restricted budget
- You are looking for replacement teeth that can be removed when you want or need to
- You don’t like the thought of going through very invasive dental treatment
- You have weakened bones in your jaw that make dental implants unsuitable
Dental implants are a very popular alternative to dentures. Unlike dentures, however, they offer a way of permanently replacing the missing teeth. This is because they have a very unique design, which comprises of:
- An artificial tooth that is usually made from porcelain or, in some cases, zirconia
- A titanium post
- A special connector that keeps the prosthetic tooth attached to the post
Dental implants can successfully be used to replace individual missing teeth, or as part of a bridge or denture solution.
Dental implants are unique in the technique that they use to hold them in place. These replacement teeth are secured using the titanium post element. These posts are placed into the jawbone at specific locations so that they can act as anchors for the visible prosthetics. Once inserted into the jaw, the bone naturally heals around the post to permanently anchor it in place. This process takes several months. During this time, patients are fitted with temporary teeth whilst their bespoke versions are being made.
Single dental implants require an individual post for each prosthetic tooth. However, implant-supported bridges and dentures, which are comprised of a conventionally designed bridge or denture but with attachment that allow them to be connected to implant posts, can need anywhere from four to eight to hold them securely in place.
Dental implants are the most popular tooth replacement solution for a variety of reasons, including:
- They are more stable than bridges or dentures.
- They offer patients the chance to have a permanent restoration.
- The implant posts stimulate healthy bone growth in the jaw, helping to prevent the deterioration that often occurs in patients with tooth loss.
- Implants most closely resemble natural teeth.
- You can brush and floss your teeth just like normal, with no special cleaning required.
- Virtually no maintenance is required.
- Dental implant-based solutions have been shown to last for decades, making them a superb investment in your long-term smile.
If you are confused about whether dentures or dental implants would be the best solution for your missing teeth, our experienced and knowledgeable dental team would be happy to offer their advice. Contact our offices today to schedule an appointment.