Nearly two thirds of Americans age 35 and older are missing at least one tooth due to injury, decay, cancer, gum disease, or wear over time. If you are one of the 178 million people in the U.S. missing one – or more – teeth, you have probably considered either dental implants or dentures as a treatment option. Both solutions can save your smile, but which course of action is right for you? We can help you take a look at some of the benefits and limitations of each of these two options.
What are Dental Implants?
Patients who receive dental implants undergo a surgical procedure during which a replacement tooth root is embedded into the jawbone. Crowns, or replacement teeth, are then added to this root. Dental implants achieve the look of natural teeth and can last for over 20 years before needing to be replaced. At Bozart Family Dentistry, we can create dental crowns right here in our office on the same day as your visit, saving you the time it would’ve traditionally taken in needing to book a series of appointments for the crown creation process. Because your crown will be custom-made for you, you can have confidence that your new tooth will look great and fit perfectly.
Who is a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?
Dental implants are ideal for patients with strong, healthy gums. During your consultation, we can determine whether your teeth and jaw will effectively support dental implants, which are just as secure as natural teeth. Though dental implants are popular with people seeking to replace just one or two missing teeth, patients missing several teeth can often be treated with dental implants as well.
One reason that patients opt for dental implants instead of dentures is that implants do not need to be soaked and removed like a set of dentures does. However, patients with implants must commit to caring for them with regular brushing and flossing just as they would treat their natural teeth.
What Should I know about Dentures?
Dentures are a good alternative to dental implants for people who have weaker jaws or less healthy gums, but still want the benefits associated with replacing missing teeth. Wearing dentures allows patients missing teeth to chew properly. If a patient’s speech has been impaired by tooth loss, dentures can help him or her to speak naturally again as well. Dentures also help to fill out the face; they correct sagging, and give a more youthful appearance.
Complete dentures are an option for patients who need a full set of teeth, while partial dentures can be worn by patients who still have some of their natural teeth remaining. Both partial and complete dentures have replacement teeth which are fixed to a base that matches the gums. When partial dentures are used, the patient’s natural teeth are used to help hold the replacement teeth in place. Conventional dentures are used by patients who have been missing teeth for some time and whose oral tissues are healed from any prior tooth extractions. Immediate dentures, however, can be used by a patient right away after the removal of any remaining teeth. The use of immediate dentures is a great choice for patients who want to avoid being without replacement teeth during the healing process of tooth extractions.
As with natural teeth, dentures should be brushed regularly in order to maintain their appearance and to maintain a healthy mouth. Dentures should also be removed by the wearer while he or she sleeps at night. Patients with dentures should use a soft-bristled brush to clean their gums and palate in order to prevent plaque buildup and to encourage circulation in the tissues.
Should I Keep Scheduling Dental Exams?
At Bozart Family Dentistry, we’ll help you navigate the various options for dental implants and dentures, so you can get your smile back with the restorative treatment that is best for your individual needs. Whether wearing your new dental implants or your new dentures with a smile, it is important to continue to visit us regularly. We will ensure that your replacement teeth are fitted properly and can make adjustments as needed during the healing process. It’s also important to keep up your regular dental exams after receiving replacement teeth so that we can continue to monitor for signs of gum disease, oral cancer, and other oral health related issues.