Until relatively recently, partial or full dentures were the only choice for those with missing or failing teeth. Today, though, dental implants offer a fundamentally different type of treatment. While dentures rest on the gums and can be unstable, dental implants actually replace the tooth roots. This creates a stable and supportive base for high quality replacement teeth. Here is what you should know.
Existing Dental Health
Nearly anyone can get dental implants, but it may take some time to prepare your mouth. If you have existing oral health problems such as gum disease or tooth decay, these issues must be addressed first. Some dentists also prefer that you heal from extractions before your implants are placed.
If you do not have enough strong, healthy jawbone, you may need bone grafting. Depending on your unique oral anatomy, you might need a sinus lift or other restructuring procedure. If you have an underlying health condition such as diabetes or a bleeding disorder, it must be under tight control.
For these reasons, many people wear dentures for a limited amount of time, even if they plan to get dental implants. We will work hard to provide you with a set of well-fitted dentures so that you can eat and speak normally while awaiting your dental implants.
The price of dental implants continues to fall, and more and more insurance companies now cover them. When amortized over a lifetime, dental implants are actually less expensive than dentures. However, they do cost more upfront, and some people have trouble with the initial expense. We may be able to break up your dental work over time to maximize your insurance benefits, and help you find third party financing.
You could also consider implant-supported removable dentures. These are significantly less costly than fixed implant solutions, and they restore most of the functionality and aesthetics of natural teeth.
Although modern high-end dentures are quite aesthetic, they can still shift during laughing, speaking, or eating. Partial dentures connect to the natural teeth with metal clasps or precision attachments, which can show when your mouth is open. For these reasons, dental implants are considered the most aesthetic solution.
Dentures are supported solely by the gums, and they are prone to rubbing and slipping, which can create sore spots. Eating chewy, crunchy, or tough foods compounds the problem, making dentures even less comfortable. Dental implants are anchored in the jawbone, locking teeth in place and preventing sore spots.
Strength and Stability
Dentures restore only about 25 percent of natural bite strength, so many denture wearers find that they have to give up foods like steak and corn on the cob. Dental implants restore more than 90 percent of bite strength, allowing you to enjoy your favorite foods.
Future Oral Health
When teeth are lost, the jawbone begins to resorb into the body. Over time, this can cause signs of premature ageing, including wrinkles and a sunken, hollow look. Dentures can also cause chronic mouth sores, as well as inflammation known as dental stomatitis. Dental implants prevent and reverse these issues, promoting future oral health.