Dentures and dental implants are the two most common replacement options for people with missing teeth. If you have one or more missing teeth, you may be wondering which of these options are right for you. Here is a comparison of dentures and dental implants to help you make the best decision for your needs.
For most people, restoring the natural appearance of their smile is just as important as returning the functionality of missing teeth. This is especially important to consider if you are missing teeth in the front of your mouth. Dental implants are the best choice for natural-looking replacement teeth, although dentures are a close second.
Dental implants appear more natural than dentures because the crowns used with dental implants are typically made of porcelain or ceramic. These materials closely emulate the hardness, coloration, and luster of dental enamel. Dentures, on the other hand, are often made of acrylic plastic. While this plastic can match the color of enamel well, they will almost always appear slightly duller than natural teeth. While some dentures have teeth that are made from porcelain like dental implant crowns, denture plates are usually made of acrylic resin, nylon polymers, or metal that will not match the appearance of natural gums.
Permanence and Convenience
Dental implants are a convenient tooth replacement option because you usually never have to think about them again after they are installed. Unlike dentures, implants are not removable by the wearer. They also do not require any special tools or techniques for cleaning; simply brush and floss them as you would your natural teeth. Porcelain and ceramic crowns are as strong as your natural teeth, so you never have to worry about cracking them when eating hard foods. Rarely, infection, nerve damage, and other complications can arise during the surgery to install your dental implants.
Dentures come with minor inconveniences that can be avoided if you choose dental implants. Many people find applying denture adhesive to be a hassle. If the adhesive fails to stick, your dentures could slip at a time that is embarrassing or uncomfortable. If dentures aren't fitted perfectly, they can cause gum irritation and mouth sores. In some cases, this may still happen with properly-fitted dentures because slight changes in the shape of your mouth can occur over time.
Number of Missing Teeth
The number of teeth that you need to replace is an important factor in choosing between dentures and dental implants. If all of your teeth are missing, dentures are almost always the less complicated option. Dentures are simply molded to the contour of your gums so they can be quickly installed. Partial dentures are molded to match the gums in the gap between your teeth, and clips on the dentures are used to attach them to the teeth adjacent to the gap.
For people who are missing a single tooth, dental implants are more effective. A titanium post is inserted into the gum where the tooth is missing, and then the crown is attached to the top of the post that juts through the gums. If you are interested in implants for several missing teeth, an implant-supported bridge is the best option. Implant-supported bridges consist of two implants on each side that are installed in the gums with a set of crowns suspended between them. An additional advantage to the natural look of an implant-supported bridge is that the implants stimulate the jawbone where teeth have been lost to slow the occurrence of jawbone resorption.
If you weigh the pros and cons of dentures and dental implants, you are much more likely to be happy with your choice. Keep this comparison in mind so you can have an informed conversation with your dentist and find the right option to replace your missing teeth. For more information, contact a practice like Apollo Dental Center.