Despite increased awareness regarding dental care, millions of people experience tooth loss due to decay, injury, or periodontal disease. But thanks to dental implants, it’s now easier to get permanent or removable replacement teeth.
Comparing false teeth or dentures vs. implants
When it comes to replacing your missing teeth, you can go for dentures or implants. Each of them has its advantages and disadvantages.
Permanent dental implants
A dental implant is a titanium post that fits in the jawbone.
In this way, dental implants can replicate the roots of a natural tooth, providing a permanent solution to your missing tooth. The implant can bond strongly with your jawbone, which acts as an anchor for the replacement tooth.
The dental implant is placed surgically in the jawbone. Once you heal, the implant will fuse with your jawbone and form a strong foundation. With the implant forming a bond with the jawbone, a small connector — called an abutment — is placed on the implant’s tooth to connect it with the replacement tooth. This type of dental implant is known as an endosteal implant.
There is another type of dental implant, which is known as subperiosteal. The implants are placed above the jawbone and just below the gums in this procedure. These implants use a metal screw for fitting. The method is less invasive than the endosteal dental implant, however much less predictable of an outcome considering the lack of bone use. To place a subperiosteal implant, the doctor only needs to make a small incision in the gums and below the gum tissues so that the metal frame can be placed over the bone.
Removable dentures (or false teeth)
When it comes to dentures, they are removable teeth placed inside the mouth.
In some cases, they also replace some of the gum tissues. You can opt for complete dentures that replace all the teeth on your lower, upper, or both jaws. However, if you only want to replace a few teeth, you can go for partial dentures.
The procedure of placing dentures is non-invasive, unlike that for dental implants. Your dentist will first take an impression of your gums. They will also identify the alignment of your jaws and your bite motions.
A preliminary set of dentures are then made in the lab. They are placed in your mouth to see if further adjustments are needed before the final set of dentures is made.
Dentures are usually less expensive when compared to dental implants. You can also remove them at any time of the day for any reason. In this way, they are ideal for unhealthy or weak jaws.
However, dentures can cause infection or tooth decay if they are not fitted correctly. They also need to be regularly cleaned and replaced once they show signs of wear. Plus, they can easily slip out when talking or eating if they are not secured using denture adhesive.
Conversely, dental implants are permanent replacements for missing teeth. Although it is an invasive process, it is easier to maintain them than dentures. They also typically require less maintenance than dentures.
Benefits of dental implants
You might be thinking, should I get dental implants when options like dentures are available in the market? However, there are obvious benefits of dental implants, which make them the right fit for many people.
Dental implants have a more natural look
Your natural teeth consist of roots that are anchored with the jawbone. Dental implants also formulate a solid attachment with the jawbones. This is because dental implants use titanium, which can fuse with a living bone.
Once your dentist has performed a minor procedure, titanium will eventually solidly fuse to your jawbone over a certain period. Eventually, the replacement tooth will just feel like a natural tooth.
You will be able to speak, eat, and smile with more confidence, as your replaced tooth will never shift or slip as dentures do.
Implants last longer than dentures
Since dental implants usually fuse with the jawbone, they are very long-lasting. Unlike removable dentures that can easily wear off and need to be replaced or remade over time, you won’t have to get dental implants again. They can last for a lifetime.
You can easily customize implants
Dental implants are very easy to customize according to the patient’s requirements. The abutments placed inside the mouth as part of the implant are completely customized according to the patient’s need, type of tooth, and situation. In this way, dental implants fit easily in the mouth without causing any discomfort.
No need for special cleaning
Dental implants don’t require any special care. You can care for them just like you care for your natural teeth. Every day brushing and flossing is required. You will never have to apply adhesives or special creams to care for your teeth.
Dentures have to be soaked in a glass overnight before you can use them the next day again. However, dental implants never need this special care. You also won’t need a root canal or filling.
Drawbacks of dental implants
Just like any medical procedure, there are some drawbacks to dental implants. However, the drawbacks are heavily outweighed by the benefits.
Long healing time between appointments
A dental implant has a longer healing time than other methods since it is an invasive procedure and requires minor surgery. It can take anywhere up to 3 months or more for your teeth to heal.
However, once the healing time is over, your replaced teeth will fuse with your natural teeth and will not cause any kind of pain.
Dental implants are expensive
Dental implants can be costly since they involve an invasive procedure. Especially compared to cheaply available dentures, dental implants might require you to set aside a special budget.
However, this expense can be considered a lifetime investment. In almost all cases, dental implants last for a lifetime compared to dentures that will have to be replaced over time.
Getting a dental implant also means that you will save yourself from other dental problems such as tooth decay or bone resorption, eventually saving money in other dental appointments.
A dental implant might have to be replaced
Although most dental implants last for a lifetime, they might have to be replaced in some extreme cases. This happens if the patient is experiencing gum disease or severe infection.
However, good oral hygiene and regular appointments with your dentists will ensure that you don’t compromise your dental health and prevent gum diseases. In this way, you can ensure that your dental implants will last for a lifetime, just like they are supposed to do.
Wondering, ‘Should I get dental implants?’
Dental implants definitely have many advantages as compared to a method like dentures. They last for longer periods, even though the procedure is more costly. They don’t have to be replaced over time and fuse very well with natural teeth.
However, the only way to know if you should get dental implants is by scheduling a consultation with an experienced dentist like Dr. Kneib.
Dr. Kneib will help you determine if dental implants are right for you and educate you on everything you should consider before and after the procedure.