Have you had a tooth fall out? Perhaps you’ve needed to have one extracted because it’s too badly damaged or decayed to be saved? Tooth loss is extremely common and most people in the United States will have lost at least one permanent adult tooth by the time they reach 30 years old, and some studies estimate that there are around 40 million Americans with no natural teeth left at all!
There are many causes of tooth loss. Most are caused by severe decay or gum disease, but blunt force trauma, such as a blow to the face, is also a common reason to have lost a tooth. It probably comes as no surprise that the more teeth you lose, the bigger the impact their loss will have on the way that you use your mouth and how you feel about exposing your teeth and sharing your smile.
Fortunately, there are ways to restore lots of missing teeth at once. Two of the most popular are dental implants and dentures. But how do you know which is right for you? Let’s find out more about each in turn.
Dental implants are largely considered to be the most effective way of replacing missing teeth. They have a very unique design that makes them the only solution that replaces the original tooth root with an artificial alternative. A titanium post is used to replace the natural root of the tooth, and this is surgically implanted into the jaw. Once in place, the bone heals around it, anchoring it permanently in position with no need to rely on any neighboring teeth. Attached to the titanium post is a special connector that attaches it to a bespoke porcelain crown that is designed to replicate your original tooth. Once the treatment is complete, dental implants look, feel, and behave just like a regular tooth. Many people think that they are so lifelike, it’s impossible to tell them apart from natural teeth.
There are many advantages associated with dental implants:
They look more like natural teeth than any other tooth loss solution.
They are extremely comfortable since they don’t put any unusual pressure on nearby teeth or your gums.
They are more stable than dentures since they are permanently anchored into the jaw.
The implants actually stimulate the bone of the jaw, helping it to remain strong and healthy. This is important since bone deterioration is a common problem following tooth loss.
Dental implants are permanent and can’t be removed by anyone other than a professional implant dentist (should the need ever arise!).
It’s easy to clean dental implants because you can brush and floss just like normal, without worrying about teeth coming loose!
They are exceptionally durable, and if they are cared for properly, your implants could last for decades.
Dental implants are also very versatile. This is because the dental implant technique can be used to replace single teeth, create bridges comprising of several teeth, or create a partial or even full denture. The precise number of implant posts needed will depend on the number of teeth being replaced. However, it is possible to support a full denture on as few as four to six implant posts.
Dentures have long been used as the gold standard treatment to replace several or a full arch of missing teeth. The design and the materials used to create dentures have evolved over the years, but the basic concept is still the same. Dentures are made of a series of artificial teeth, usually made from porcelain or composite, which are placed into a flesh-colored acrylic mold that is placed over your gums. This mold is designed specifically to fit your gums and is not generic. This helps to ensure that it is comfortable and stable. Each denture is attached to your gums using a special adhesive, placed into the mold before it is slotted over your gums. The adhesive should hold dentures in place for the duration of a full day, and they should be removed before bed so that they can be left in a cleaning solution while you sleep.
Although dentures are still a very popular solution for tooth loss, there are some considerations that you should make before you choose this treatment.
Dentures don’t tend to fit as well as dental implants. This is because they sit over the gum and can cause irritation and soreness when they rub against it. This also makes them less comfortable, with many patients being able to feel them when they are in.
Denture adhesive isn’t always as strong as necessary, and many patients report their dentures slipping and moving around when they eat, talk, laugh, sneeze, etc, which can be noticeable and embarrassing.
Dentures are very fragile and must be handled with care. Breakages are quite common and can be expensive to keep repairing since they need to be created bespoke each time.
Your jaw beneath the denture is likely to deteriorate over time since dentures don’t replace the natural tooth root. This can mean that your jaw will slowly change shape, and you may need to have your dentures altered so that they still fit properly. It may also alter your appearance.
Dentures may be less expensive than dental implants, but dentures don’t last nearly as well and require repair and replacement much more often. This makes dental implants a viable alternative investment in your long-term tooth function and appearance.
If you still aren’t sure which tooth replacement solution is right for you, please give our team a call. They will be happy to talk to you about your options and help you find the best smile restoration treatment to suit your needs. For more on dental implants, visit Midtown Dental Center in Atlanta, GA. Call (404) 874-0800 to schedule an appointment today.