A confident smile can work wonders, not just for our appearance but also for our self-esteem and overall well-being. However, tooth loss can often shatter this confidence, leading to a search for effective tooth replacement options.
Among the most common choices are dental implants and dentures. Both options have their unique advantages and disadvantages, and making an informed choice requires a thorough understanding of the two alternatives.
Keep reading to learn more about dental implants and dentures so you can get one step closer to deciding what option is best for you.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are a permanent solution for replacing missing teeth. They are titanium posts that are surgically inserted into the jawbone to serve as artificial tooth roots. Once the implant is placed, a prosthetic tooth, known as a crown, is attached to the top of the post. This creates a strong and stable foundation for the replacement tooth.
The process of getting dental implants typically involves several steps. Initially, an assessment is done to evaluate if you are a suitable candidate for this procedure. Factors such as overall oral health and bone density in the jaw are considered during this evaluation.
If you qualify for dental implant surgery, the next step involves placing the titanium post into your jawbone. This surgery is usually performed under local anesthesia and may require recovery time to allow the implant to fuse with the bone in an osseointegration process.
After a healing period of about several months, an abutment, which connects the implant and the crown, is attached to the implanted post. The process is completed when the custom-made crown is created and attached to the abutment.
The Pros of Dental Implants
Improved Appearance: Dental implants are designed to closely resemble natural teeth for a seamless and aesthetically pleasing smile.
Enhanced Comfort: As a permanent part of the mouth, dental implants eliminate discomfort and the need for messy adhesives required for dentures.
Durability: Implants are made from durable materials such as titanium. These materials fuse with the jawbone, resulting in long-term stability and a more secure fit.
Improved Oral Health: Dental implants do not require the alteration of adjacent teeth, preserving the overall health and integrity of your natural teeth.
Improved Speech: Unlike ill-fitting dentures, which can impede speech clarity, dental implants act and feel like natural teeth, allowing for clear articulation.
Ease of Eating: Dental implants allow you to enjoy all types of foods. You don’t have to worry about slippage or discomfort often associated with dentures.
Longevity: Dental implants have a stellar success rate and their durability allows them to last for many years — perhaps even a lifetime, with proper care and maintenance.
Cons of Dental Implants
Cost: Compared to other tooth replacement options, such as dentures or bridges, dental implant treatment can be more expensive.
Lengthy Treatment Process: Getting dental implants is a multi-stage process. This process includes bone grafting and healing periods, which can extend the overall treatment time.
Requires Surgery: Implant placement, particularly the bone grafting stage, is a surgical procedure. This process involves local anesthesia, some post-operative discomfort or swelling, and several months’ worth of healing.
Not Suitable for Everyone: Individuals with certain health conditions (like diabetes) or inadequate bone density may not be good candidates for dental implant surgery.
Initial Discomfort: Some patients may experience temporary soreness or sensitivity immediately after implant placement, but it typically subsides within a few days.
Potential Complications: While rare, complications such as infection, implant failure, nerve damage, or sinus problems may occur with dental implants.
Requires Commitment to Oral Hygiene: Proper oral hygiene is crucial for the long-term success of dental implants. Regular brushing and flossing, as well as regular dental check-ups, are essential.
What Are Dentures?
Dentures are removable dental appliances that are designed to replace missing teeth and surrounding gum tissue. They come in two main types: complete dentures and partial dentures. Complete dentures are used when all of the natural teeth are missing, while partial dentures are used when some natural teeth remain in the mouth.
Complete dentures involve a flesh-coloured acrylic base. This fits over the gums and supports a complete set of artificial teeth. This option can restore the function of your teeth so you can chew, eat, and speak properly. It also provides support to the lips and cheeks, which can enhance your facial appearance.
Partial dentures, however, involve a set of replacement teeth. These are attached to a plastic or metal framework that is secured to the remaining natural teeth for support and stability. They serve to fill in the gaps left by missing teeth, preventing other nearby teeth from shifting out of place and preserving your facial structure.
Pros of Dentures
Restores Appearance: Dentures can replace missing teeth, giving you a fuller smile and restoring your facial appearance. They can help maintain the natural shape of your face by supporting the lips and cheeks.
Improves Chewing and Speaking: Dentures can significantly improve your ability to chew food properly, allowing for better digestion. Additionally, they can help improve your speech if missing teeth affect your ability to pronounce certain words or sounds.
Affordable Option: Compared to other tooth-replacement options like dental implants or bridges, dentures are often more affordable upfront.
Non-Invasive Procedure: The placement of dentures does not require any surgical procedures or extensive dental work.
Cons of Dentures
Potential Discomfort: As with any dental appliance, it may take some time for your mouth to adjust to dentures. Initially, you may experience discomfort, soreness, or irritation while wearing them until your mouth becomes accustomed to their presence.
Requires Regular Maintenance: Dentures need regular cleaning and proper maintenance to free them from stains, bacteria buildup, and odours. You will need to remove them overnight and clean them thoroughly.
Limited Stability: While dentures significantly improve function compared to having no teeth at all, they may not offer the same level of stability as natural teeth or other tooth replacement options like dental implants or bridges.
Bone Loss in Jawbone: Over time, wearing dentures can lead to bone loss in the jawbone due to lack of stimulation caused by chewing forces on natural teeth roots (which is an issue that doesn’t exist with dental implants).
Adjustments May Be Needed: Due to changes that occur in the jawbone structure over time, denture wearers may need periodic adjustments and relining for a proper fit.
Dental Implants vs. Dentures: Which Is Right For You?
Choosing between dental implants and dentures is a personal decision that ultimately relies on your specific situation and the advice of your dentist. However, many will find that dental implants are the ideal option.
If you’re interested in dental implants in Langley, BC, our team at Township Dental is here to help. Call us today at (604) 533-8475 to book an appointment.