If you have chipped, damaged or missing teeth, you’re not alone. Not only can these issues negatively impact self-esteem, but they may also lead to oral health problems like jaw pain and dry mouth. Fortunately, there are treatments available that can restore the appearance of your teeth (and your confidence).
There are two main solutions for missing teeth: dental implants and dentures. Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of both procedures.
Dental implants are permanent, artificial tooth roots designed to look, feel and function like regular teeth. They’re implanted directly into your gums and customized for your precise mouth.
How Are Dental Implants Installed?
Dental implants generally require a surgical procedure. Dr. Godat and Dr. King will start by making a small cut in your gum to expose the bone underneath. Next, they’ll drill holes into the bone. Finally, they’ll finish the procedure by implanting the artificial tooth roots.
It’s important that the bone beneath the gums is strong enough to support dental implants. If it’s too soft, Drs. Godat and King may recommend bone grafting. This involves inserting a new piece of bone to serve as a stronger base.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Dental Implants?
Here are a few advantages and disadvantages of dental implants.
Pros of dental implants include the following:
- Easy to clean
- Prevent bone loss
- Prevent gum disease
A common concern when it comes to tooth replacements is whether the solution will stay in place. Since dental implants are anchored down to your gums, they remain stable and secure. Moreover, this stability helps patients chew food with the same force as real teeth.
Another advantage of dental implants is that they’re easy to clean. You don’t have to worry about any special adhesives or materials — simply brush and floss as you normally would. Finally, dental implants help maintain jaw strength, which consequently reduces the risk of problems like bone loss and gum disease.
Cons of dental implants include the following:
- Bone grafting may be necessary
- May require maintenance
- More expensive than other options
As mentioned earlier, you need to have a strong jawbone to support dental implants. If you don’t, you must go through a bone grafting procedure first. For some patients, the extra oral procedure may simply not be worth it.
Another negative element about dental implants is that maintenance may be needed. Although they’re designed to last a lifetime, the top porcelain layer of the artificial teeth (known as the restoration) may wear out. If this happens, you’ll need to visit a dentist for a replacement. Furthermore, dental implants are more expensive than other solutions (such as dentures).
Dentures are false teeth designed to replicate the look and feel of your real teeth. There are two types: removable and fixed dentures. Removable dentures are secured using an adhesive or suction and can be taken out for cleaning. Fixed dentures, on the other hand, are fused to your bone. You may use complete dentures (which replace all teeth) or partial dentures (which replace some teeth).
How Are Dentures Made?
Since dentures are not attached to your mouth, there’s no surgery involved. First, Drs. Godat and King will make a wax or plastic impression of your jaw and mouth. Then, a technician will shape and carve the model until it accurately represents your gums.
Once the dentures are molded, they’re placed in a flask, covered with plaster and injected with an acrylic called polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA). Finally, the dentures are trimmed and polished until they’re customized to the patient’s liking.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Dentures?
Let’s go over a few key advantages and disadvantages of dentures.
Pros of dentures include the following:
- Aesthetically pleasing
- Suitable for most patients
You don’t have to worry about dentures looking fake — as long as you rely on a quality dentist, your dentures should look and feel just like regular teeth. Furthermore, they’re extremely easy to care for. If you have fixed dentures, brush and floss as usual. Meanwhile, if you have removable dentures, just take them out of your mouth and rinse them whenever possible. You can also put your dentures in a glass of water with a cleaning solution.
Another advantage of dentures is that nearly any patient can benefit from them. Unlike with dental implants, patients don’t need to have a strong jawbone to use these teeth replacements. Dentures are also more cost-effective.
Cons of dentures include the following:
- Not long-lasting
- Not suitable for certain foods
- Prone to slippage
Unlike dental implants, dentures aren’t designed to last a lifetime. In general, you should visit your dentist for a replacement every five to seven years. You may need to replace them even sooner if you eat damaging foods, such as nuts, popcorn and apples.
The main disadvantage of dentures is that they lack stability, especially in comparison to more permanent solutions (like implants). It’s possible for dentures to slip out of place while eating, drinking or even talking. Not only can this be embarrassing, but it may also cause soreness.
Should I Get Dental Implants or Dentures?
Dental implants and dentures are both effective solutions for replacing damaged or missing teeth. To decide which one is better for you, consider the following factors:
- Appearance: While both dentures and dental implants resemble real teeth, implants are more natural-looking and permanent.
- Budget: Dentures are usually less expensive than dental implants. However, they also need to be replaced more.
- Oral needs: Your jawbone structure can determine whether dental implants or dentures are a more viable option for you.
The easiest way to decide between dental implants and dentures is by consultation. Periodontal Associates of Memphis will ask questions, examine your teeth and help you make the best decision for your needs. Get started by scheduling a consultation today!