Dealing with lost or damaged teeth can be stressful. You not only need to consider the discomfort of your situation but also the replacement cost, convenience, and the long-term effects of your choice on your health and self-confidence.
When you have a lost a tooth or, worse, have more than one lost or damaged, it's essential that you replace them as soon as possible. In most cases, your restoration options will include either dentures or implants. Here is some information to help you make this important choice.
What are Dentures?
Dentures are removable appliances that will replace your missing teeth as well as some of the gum tissue. Full or complete dentures replace all of your teeth in the upper and lower jaw while partial dentures will fill in gaps where some natural teeth remain.
Complete dentures rest on your gums, and a partial denture is supported around existing teeth by clasps or with attachments that are fitted into crowns. Dentures have an acrylic base that is colored to match your gums, and some will also have additional framework for support.
Pros and Cons of Dentures
For many years, dentures were the only option to deal with tooth loss. The most significant benefit of dentures is that they are the lowest cost solution to dealing with this widespread issue. Unfortunately, there are simply too many disadvantages to choosing dentures to ignore. These include:
- Dentures feel unnatural and bulky in your mouth.
- Dentures might feel unstable and require gooey adhesive to hold them in place.
- Dentures must be removed for cleaning and to sleep.
- Dentures only provide up to 40% of normal chewing function.
- Dentures can become dislodged while eating or while speaking.
- Dentures can impact the way that food tastes.
- Dentures may need to be relined or replaced in the future.
- Dentures can lead to changes in facial structure due to bone loss.
What are Dental Implants?
Most people don't like the idea of having to wear dentures for the rest of their life. Fortunately, there are other options. More people today are choosing dental implants over dentures because of their advantages. These include better dental health, improved comfort, and more natural function.
So, what are dental implants? Dental implants are titanium posts that are implanted into the jaw bone, which replicates the root of a natural tooth. The post bonds to the jawbone and acts as an anchor for the replacement tooth.
Implants are permanent, so they don't move around in your mouth and won't have to come out for cleaning. Implants function and feel like natural teeth, giving you as much as 100% of your normal chewing function.
While dentures are more affordable than implants considering upfront costs, it helps to look at the big picture. Once you add in buying the lifetime supply cleaning solutions, fixatives, and denture replacements, those costs go up significantly. When you choose dental implants, you don't have to purchase the fixatives or cleaning solutions that you would need with dentures. Also, removable dentures need replacing on average every 15 years, and dental implants can last a lifetime.
Preventing Bone Loss in the Jaw
Before making a choice between dentures and implants, it's critical that patients understand the biggest implication of choosing one over the other. Dentures have a tendency to shrink the jawbone over time, which can impact the integrity of the facial structure. This means that your face will begin to look sunken in, which can make you look older than your true age. Also, these changes to the jawbone will necessitate replacement dentures at some point.
Superior Function, Fit, and Freedom
Your smile and the other functions of your mouth are essential to living a full life. Not only can removable dentures shift and impact your speech, but their look and discomfort can also cause issues with self-esteem. If your dentures don't fit properly, you may get irritated gums or develop other health issues. Keeping up with cleaning and maintenance schedules for dentures can also be both expensive and time-consuming.
On the other hand, dental implants feel and function just like your natural teeth. You can speak naturally, eat the foods you enjoy, and feel confident in your smile. You will care for and clean your implants just as you would real teeth, which gives you more time and freedom to appreciate all that life has to offer.
Visit Dr. Funtik in Colorado Springs to schedule an appointment today!