By age 44, three out of four Americans will have lost at least one tooth to decay, dental fracture or gum disease. Ironic, but even the healthiest mouths are at risk for breakage or accidents. In the past, many relied on dentures to complete a damaged smile, but of late, more are opting for dental implants to fill any gaps. If you are considering dentures or dental implants but aren’t sure what is best for you, here’s what you need to know about both.
Dentures and Implants – knowing the difference
Dentures are custom-made, removable artificial teeth that can restore your ability to eat and speak while providing a natural looking smile. Full dentures are used when a person has lost all their teeth on their upper or lower jaw, while partial dentures are used when only a few teeth are missing. Dentures are composed of high-impact acrylic bases to make them long-lasting and low-staining. They are designed to be comfortable and functional and with proper care, should last for a very long time.
Dental implants, on the other hand, are the most stable and longest-lasting treatment option for tooth replacement. A dental implant is a metal (usually titanium) post which is surgically placed into the jawbone; this post serves as an anchor to attach a natural looking crown. Because the implants become part of your jawbone, they won’t slip or move like dentures sometimes can.
Dentures – Considerations
Dentures and partial dentures have been used successfully for years but there are some considerations to be aware of before getting them. First, and probably most importantly, dentures are worn only when your remaining teeth have been extracted and the gums have fully healed. This can take several months, which means a long wait without teeth. Intermediate dentures may be worn once the teeth are removed and while the gums are healing. When committing to dentures, expect a series of visits to your dentist before and after the extractions; this way your dentist can ensure you are healing well and that your dentures are fitted properly, allowing time for adjustments. Also, because the jaw can wear down – even decrease in size – over time, plan for regular check-ups for periodic re-fittings.
Dental Implants – Considerations
Like with dentures, implants do require a series of dentist visits to ensure the post that is secured to your jaw has taken hold; this takes time and you may be without a permanent tooth for quite a while. In many cases, a temporary crown is placed atop the post while it sets in place. Once the post is secured, a permanent crown will be affixed to the post. The crown will complement your remaining teeth in size, shape and color, and the look and feel of the implant will feel nothing short of natural. One thing to remember, while implants may be more expensive than dentures, there is a permanence that doesn’t require constant dentist visits or refitting; treat them as you would your natural teeth. This in the long run will save you time and money.
Which is Best?
Dentures can take some getting used to. Eating or speaking with dentures can take some practice and may be uncomfortable initially. Dentures can also occasionally slip out of place whilst eating or talking, which can be embarrassing and uncomfortable. However, for many people, dentures continue to be an affordable, reliable and satisfactory treatment option for tooth loss and may be a good option for those whose gums and jaws are weak or unhealthy.
Dental implants aren’t suitable for everyone, as they do require healthy gums and a strong jaw to support the metal implant. A comprehensive evaluation of your teeth, gums and jawbone will be required to determine if this restorative procedure is a viable option. Also, dental implants do require surgery. Although the surgery is not exceptionally invasive, caution should be taken if surgery puts your health at risk.
Cosmetic Dentistry in St. Paul
If live in the St. Paul area and want to complete your smile contact Hagerman Dental Care. With years of experience, Dr. Steven Hagerman and his experienced team will ensure you find dental options that are best for you. Dr. Hagerman knows that it’s never too late to have a beautiful smile. Why wait? Call Hagerman Dental Care today at (651) 646-2392 to schedule an appointment or if you prefer, you can request an appointment online. We look forward to serving you with a smile!