We hate to lose anything from our lives. To lose something as dear as a tooth, could be beyond imagination. Missing teeth are an issue not just because they mar your looks; but it is also irritating in the daily routine. There are several options to consider when replacing missing teeth.
Of the options available, dentures and dental implants are the two most popular ones. Although both options seem the same and are equally viable solutions for replacing missing teeth, they differ to a large extent on the parameters of longevity and comfort.
While dentures are a more conventional way of replacing lost teeth, when it comes to confidence in wearing and comfort, dental implants are more popular. Dental implants cost more than dentures, but the comfort they provide often justifies the costs.
In my dental practice of two decades, I have learned the hard way that, to my patients, dentures are the source of not just physical but also emotional pain. The worst is when dentures slip and cause sore spots on the gums.
Opting for a crown and bridge restoration to repair chipped or damaged teeth is a more viable option than fitting either removable or fixed dentures. Although implants are an in thing and are increasingly being considered, traditional dentures continue to be a more common option.
Dentures come with their own limitations. They can be difficult to manage, and often, don't fit properly, making speaking and eating difficult.
Fixed dentures that are fixed directly to the jawbone are available, but they require an expert professional to fit them the right way. Or else, like removable dentures, they may cause discomfort to the person.
Dental implants are fixed dentures of sorts; only safer, more secure and more comfortable. The difference between fixed dentures and implants is in the technology used in securing them to your jaw.
Dental implants are designed to become a part of your mouth and not a foreign object, adding not just to the comfort, but to the look as well. They look and feel natural.
Implants use strong but light-weight material like titanium to protect against damage from acids present in the digestive enzymes secreted in the mouth.
Another advantage of an implant over a denture is that it restores the natural curve of your face and the natural array and pattern of your teeth. Issues such as slipping of the denture and gaps between the teeth are nonexistent in implants.
Being an aesthetic dentist, people share with me concerns about their looks; they require advice not just treatment.
One of the typical concerns I come across is flattening of the bone in the lower jaw, which makes wearing dentures difficult. In such cases, the dentures keep coming off, causing a lot of pain and embarrassment to the person. Here, there is an option to use grafts to increase the bone level and then fit the implants.
There are also some economical options available for someone needing a full dental replacement. They could go for full upper and lower dentures and use a couple of implants to secure the lower dentures. This option costs significantly lesser than a full dental implant.
While dentures strain your body, implants can strain your pocket. But if you can afford it, invest in implants rather than in conventional dentures. You not only preserve your dental bone, but also eat better, taste your food to your satisfaction, and digest it better. More importantly, you get your beautiful and confident smile back.
This was first published in the May 2011 issue of Complete Wellbeing.
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