We’ll bet the early history of dental care and dentists in the United States is far more interesting that you would have guessed, filled with famous names and genius innovations. While the technology and discoveries that led to modern dentistry happened all over the world, many notable firsts took place in the United States. Read more
When it comes to dental insurance, or insurance in general, many of us are quickly baffled. There are so many different types of plans & unfamiliar vocabulary that it often feels like trying to learn a new language. However, there is one important concept about your dental insurance that you should absolutely know, & it can save you money! Read more
As your dental clinic, it’s our responsibility to help guide you through your oral health care so it is as easy & affordable as possible. As a result, we’re dedicated to helping you make the most of your dental insurance, ensuring you get the care you need & you take advantage of every benefit available to you. Read more
Whether you’ve lost teeth to decay, periodontal disease or an accident, we know that having a missing tooth can be embarrassing, inconvenient & often very uncomfortable. Luckily, there are many options for restoring your teeth, but with so many options, there is also some confusion. In this post we’re going to break down the choice between dentures & dental implants for replacing missing teeth.
What Are Dentures?
Dentures are a set of false teeth that fit over the gums (full dentures) or clip into place on existing teeth (partial dentures). You can get dentures for your upper teeth, your lower teeth, or both. Dentures also have a gum-colored acrylic base that can be matched to the color of your actual gums to look natural.
Pros of Dentures
- Dentures are less expensive than implants, usually ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars depending on quality.
- Getting dentures is a fairly quick & painless process that doesn’t involve surgery.
- Dentures are covered by most dental insurance plans.
- Dentures can restore a more youthful look to your face by supporting lips & cheeks & fixing the sunken look created by tooth loss.
Cons of Dentures
- Bone loss over time causes dentures to eventually stop fitting properly. Dentures will need to be adjusted or replaced.
- Dentures need to be removed & cleaned thoroughly on a daily basis.
- Dentures need to be removed at night to give the gums time to rest.
- Dentures can often slip out of place, causing problems when eating or speaking.
- Food can get caught under dentures causing discomfort & potential for infections.
- People with dentures have to avoid eating many foods, leading to a less satisfying & nutritious diet.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are an artificial tooth root made from a titanium metal post. The implant is inserted into the bone of the jaw under the gums, where it can act as the foundation for an artificial tooth, called a crown, to be permanently attached with a dental cement. Dental implants have ridges on them that make them resemble screws. The purpose of these ridges is actually to give the bone of your jaw more surface area to hold onto & grow around, a process called osseointegration. Once in place, dental implants & crowns are nearly indistinguishable from natural teeth & function just like them too.
Pros of Dental Implants
- Presence of the implant allows the pressure of chewing & biting to be transferred into your bone, promotion bone growth. Without this pressure, such as with dentures, bone loss begins to occur.
- People with dental implants can eat essentially anything that someone with natural teeth can eat. There are not dietary restrictions.
- Dental implants are permanent & can be cleaned easily with brushing & flossing just like natural teeth.
- Dental implants are permanent & can last a lifetime, meaning less cost for maintenance into the future.
- Dental implants can also restore a more youthful look to your face by supporting your lips & cheeks just as natural teeth would.
Cons of Dental Implants
- Dental implants cost more than dentures, usually a few thousand for each individual implant & crown.
- Dental implants involve oral surgery & some minimal post-operative discomfort.
- Dental implants sometimes involve several months of healing time before the treatment is complete (3-6 months between implant placement & final crown placement).
- Implants are sometimes considered a cosmetic procedure & not medically necessary by insurance companies & are therefore not covered by some dental plans.
Ultimately, most dentists will strongly encourage the use of implants for replacing missing teeth. Dentists know that dental implants are the best choice for both your oral health & your comfort. As much as we think about teeth on a daily basis, we don’t want you to have to think of yours constantly! Once a patient’s implants are placed & healed, they can return to a life with a fully functional smile.
Like any dental procedure, your choice of which treatment to undergo & the results you can expect all depend in your individual dental condition. When we make a recommendation of treatment for replacing missing teeth, we take your current oral health, your health history, your ultimate goals & your financial preferences into account. If you’re interested in either dentures or dental implants, please arrange a consultation with us.
Test your knowledge of dentistry & your dental health! Take the quiz & see the answer key at the bottom to see how well you did.
- When should you floss?
- Before you brush your teeth.
- After you brush your teeth.
- Before or after—as long as you floss at least once a day!
- Which beverages are acidic & can cause tooth decay?
- Water with lemon
- Diet soda
- All of the above
- When should children first see the dentist?
- Within 6 months of their first tooth coming in.
- Once they have at least two teeth.
- Once all of their teeth have come in.
- Once they’re old enough to talk to the dentist.
- What does fluoride do?
- It helps keep plaque from sticking to teeth.
- It helps rebuild dental enamel & reverse early tooth decay.
- It kills bacteria in your mouth that can cause tooth decay.
- It helps keep teeth white by removing surface stains.
- In addition to poor dental hygiene, which of these are risk factors for gum disease?
- Genetic susceptibility.
- Medications that cause dry mouth.
- All of the above.
- True or False: A hard bristle toothbrush is better at cleaning teeth than a soft bristle toothbrush.