Dentures or dental implants, what is the better option?

Should I opt for traditional dentures or consider implants?

Most of us dread it happening but it nearly certainly will to most of us during our lifetime; that is, losing a tooth or even a number of them. When this happens we are left with the choice of simply leaving the gap there or looking for an alternative to replace it.

Even the option of leaving the gap in our teeth becomes less viable though, if the tooth is a visible one.

There are a few options available though which can resolve this problem. These include a bridge where a replacement tooth is placed and held in place by being attached to the teeth either side.

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Whilst this may look ok, it does have a disadvantage in that the teeth either side of the replacement tooth will need to be filed down so that the bridge can be fitted. Sometimes dentists are reluctant to do this as it means working on otherwise healthy teeth. So what are my options?

Apart from the bridge, the two main options available are dentures or dental implants.

Dentures are well known to many and whilst there is no doubt that the quality of dentures is certainly better than in days gone by, they do still come with a number of disadvantages.

The most well known disadvantage is that they often become loose and uncomfortable after a period of wearing them. However, many people are unaware of the reason for this and simply blame the dentures themselves.

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Whilst this may be the case in rare circumstances, a far more likely cause is that the shape of the patient’s jaw has changed slightly.

This happens when teeth have been removed and lost and there is no root of a tooth left in the jawbone.

Because of this, the bone notices that it does not have to perform the role of holding the root in place anymore and simply starts to shrink away in a similar manner that a muscle does if it isn’t used.  

Although subtle, this changes the shape of a person’s face and causes the dentures not to fit as well as before. This can lead to them becoming loose and causing the gums to become sore and in more advanced cases, causing the dentures to work loose, moving around in the mouth and even on occasions, falling out.

On top of this, dentures also need removing at regular intervals for cleaning purposes.

The other main alternative is highly functional dental implants. These are now becoming more popular and whilst more expensive, have a very long life span if care is taken, possibly even over thirty years, so the cost becomes less significant when it comes to ongoing expenses.

Simply put, a dental implant is a screw like object that is made from titanium and is screwed into the jawbone (not as painful as it seems as the bone has few nerves in it).

Once this has been done, it is left for a period of time during which the bone grows around the implant and secures it into place. Once this has happened, approximately three months, a crown can be attached to it.

The beauty of a dental implant is that it is a permanent replacement that will hold strongly in place meaning that you are not restricted in what you can eat. It can also be cleaned exactly as though it were a natural tooth.

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