So, you’re missing some teeth. Despite the stigma surrounding this phenomenon, it is actually fairly common for adults to be missing some or all of their teeth. Don’t believe us? Well, nearly 70 percent of people aged 35 to 44 have at least one missing tooth, and 1 in 4 people over 74 years of age are missing all of their teeth. The numbers don’t lie. It is important to recognize and address the issue of tooth loss, finding a solution that works for you and your needs. Tooth loss is nothing to be ashamed of, but neglecting to address the problem of missing teeth can have some very bad impacts on your oral and overall health.
You see, when your gums are exposed, it makes them very vulnerable to a number of health issues. Food particles can easily get stuck in and around exposed gums, leaving your mouth vulnerable to harmful bacteria that could eventually lead to periodontitis, which is tied to heart disease and diabetes. Your jaw structure can be affected, as gaps between teeth provide an opportunity for your teeth to shift and fill in the place of a missing tooth. As your teeth shift, they shift your jaw structure along with them and make the bone of your jaw unstable and vulnerable to adverse effects of periodontitis such as tooth decay, bone loss and even the additional tooth loss. As with most problems in life, ignoring oral health problems tend to snowball into if you don’t address them. Two possible ways to avoid these problems are dental implants and dentures.
We’re sure you’ve heard of dentures at one point or another, but for those of you who aren’t aware, dentures are false teeth that are removable and can be used to replace a full or partial set of missing teeth. Since dentures typically come in sets, they tend to be more popular to replace entire sets of teeth, not just a single tooth here and there. Seems simple enough, but what are the benefits and drawbacks to getting dentures?
Dentures are pretty convenient for anybody who is on a budget and is looking to replace an entire set of teeth. Dentures are the cheaper option, and you won’t have to go through the hassle of surgery to get them implanted. In fact, you’ll be able to remove your dentures at any time throughout the day. We’ve all wanted to remove our teeth at one point or another... right? Okay, we’re not so sure how universal that desire is, but if you’ve found the constant presence of teeth in your mouth to be a bother, we’ve got great news. Dentures are a perfect fit for you!
Unfortunately, as much as you might enjoy being able to remove your teeth with ease, dentures aren’t all fun and games. It’s definitely worth it to evaluate the negative aspects.
Because dentures rely on the unstable foundation of your gum tissue, they can sometimes slip around in your mouth and become uncomfortable. And since they aren’t effective in securing your jawbone in place, your jawbone may still shift around, causing further deterioration. This means that the cost benefits of dentures may be lost in the long run if you have to get a replacement or get corrective treatments on your jaw. In fact, denture upkeep can be a bit tricky — they have to be cleaned very often and must be replaced when they start to get worn down. This is because an improper fit of your dentures to your jaw can lead to infections or tooth decay.
Additionally, though it may be convenient to remove dentures at times, if they aren’t secured with adhesive creams, they have the potential slip out of your mouth as you talk or eat. This can also lead to restricted chewing capacity, which means you will likely have to cut certain foods out of your diet. Overall, dentures can do the job to replace missing teeth, but what you gain in cost, you’ll lose in quality and durability over time. Dentures may end up being a bigger long-term expense than you originally bargained for.
Dental implants are a tooth-replacement option that has gained popularity over the years, and for good reason. Implants are small, titanium screws that are inserted into the jawbone, replacing the root of a missing tooth. After a minor surgery, the implant is screwed securely into the jaw and a realistic crown is attached. So, should you get dental implants?
Dental implants come with a number of pros. First, a dental implant is relatively indistinguishable from a natural tooth, in looks and in function. Aside from a few added steps in your oral-hygiene routine, it’ll be like your missing tooth never left! Additionally, you don’t have to worry about your implant falling out; it will be inserted securely into your jaw. Because of titanium’s unique ability to fuse with living bone, an implant will come to function like a part of your jawbone, helping to protect from further deterioration. A dental implant can even help to keep you looking young — it helps maintain your facial structure by supporting your jawbone.
Though dental implants come with a myriad of benefits, there are also some potential drawbacks. First, implants involve a rather hefty up-front payment, so if you’re tight on money this can be a bit of a problem. It is fair to note, however, that the long term payoff seems to be worth the initial investment. In fact, though they initially cost less, dentures tend to cost more overtime when you factor in cleanings, replacements, realignments and other medical needs.
Second, some people are a bit nervous about the procedure that implant insertion entails. For those of you who are nervous about surgeries, just know that the implant procedure is very minor, will be over in just a few hours and recovery only lasts a few days.
Lastly, implants are typically only used to replace one or two teeth, so for people who need an entire bridge of teeth replaced, it can seem like this is not a viable option. However, that’s where surprise option number three comes in!
All-on-4 is a type of dental implant that uses state-of-the-art dental technology to precisely place 4 dental implants in order to replace an entire bridge of teeth. This means that, by getting 4 dental implants on the your top jaw and 4 dental implants on your bottom jaw, you could replace all of your teeth with a highly realistic set of crowns. That’s right: during a surgery that takes just one day, we can restore your full smile with just 8 dental implants. All-on-4 is like the perfect balance between dentures and singular dental implants. If this is something that interests you, check out our all-on-4 blog post for more information!
As you can see, you have a lot of options when it comes to replacing missing teeth, and ultimately the choice is up to you. We highly recommend that you discuss your options with your dentist, factoring in cost, time availability and your unique dental situation. Whatever you choose, we here at San Antonio Periodontics and Implants want to help you restore your full smile! Contact us to set up an appointment, and we can help you come to a decision that is right for you and your unique dental journey.
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