July 28th, 2021
For hundreds of years, tooth loss meant dentures. And over those hundreds of years, dentures have become more realistic, more secure, and more comfortable.
Now, however, Dr. Ford and Dr. Guter and our team have the technology to replace missing teeth with dental implants that look just like our natural teeth, that are firmly anchored in the jaw just like our natural teeth, and that are easy to clean and care for just like our natural teeth. If you are debating the merits of both kinds of tooth replacement, here are some comparisons to consider.
No matter how securely dentures are attached, no matter how “new and improved” your adhesive is, dentures are not anchored in the bone as implants are. There is always the possibility—or worrying about the possibility—of slipping, clicking and other noises, and problems with speech and pronunciation.
Implants fuse with the bone in your jaw, so the base of the implant acts like the root of your natural tooth. Biting, chewing, speaking, and appearance are unaffected, because implants function just like “real” teeth.
Full dentures and partial dentures should be removed every night. Placing them in a mild cleaning solution or soaking them in water is important to help them keep their shape. Ideally, dentures should be removed and rinsed every time you eat.
With implants, you treat them as you treat your natural teeth. Brush, floss, and see your dentist regularly for exams and cleanings. No need to add to your daily to-do list.
When you wear dentures, foods like apples, pork chops, and corn on the cob are probably off the menu. Let’s not even think about the occasional caramel! Some denture users also notice that food doesn’t taste as flavorful, because dentures which cover the roof of the mouth also cover the taste buds located on the soft palate.
Implants function just like your natural teeth, so feel free to indulge in your crisp and chewy favorites—and savor every bite.
- Health Considerations
First, missing teeth can eventually affect the structure of our jawbones and change our facial appearance. The bone tissue which supports our teeth needs the stimulation of biting and chewing to stay healthy. Without that stimulation, the bone ridge under the missing tooth gradually shrinks, a process called “resorption.” Not only does this bone loss affect the stability of the denture and the health of the bone, it also affects our facial appearance, especially the lips, cheeks, and profile.
Implants, on the other hand, provide the same kind of pressure and stimulation to the jawbone that natural teeth do. Preventing further bone loss is a wonderful additional benefit of choosing dental implants.
Second, fixed bridges can impact neighboring teeth. To provide a base to anchor either side of a fixed bridge, your heathy teeth might need to be ground down and shaped to fit the bridge attachment.
Implants do not affect neighboring teeth, and, unlike bridgework, are easier to clean and floss, thus reducing the risk of decay in the adjacent teeth.
Loose and ill-fitting dentures can cause irritation and even infection. And because the jawbone begins shrinking when teeth are lost, your dentures will start to fit less comfortably even over their fairly limited lifespan as the contour of your bone continues to change.
Implants can cause a bit of discomfort in the days immediately after surgery, but pain should be manageable with over the counter or prescription pain relief. (Pain that lasts longer than two weeks should be reported to Dr. Ford and Dr. Guter right away.) Once you have healed, there should be no further discomfort.
It’s true that dentures can cost less than individual or multiple implants. However, bridges and dentures are meant to be replaced every five to ten years. An implant is meant to last a lifetime. When you factor in the need for regular replacements, you might find that implants are a very competitive economic alternative to dentures.
Finally, if you are uncertain about choosing implants because you are missing several teeth, there are still implant options to consider. Dr. Ford and Dr. Guter can place several implant posts strategically, which will then be used to hold a bridge or even a full denture. These types of implants still provide stimulation to the bone beneath, and have the stability that only implants provide.
If you have missing teeth, dentures are no longer your only option. Talk to Dr. Ford and Dr. Guter at our Virginia Beach, VA office today for all of the possibilities that are available to you for a healthy, beautiful, and complete smile.