Should You Choose Dentures or Dental Implants?

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If you’ve lost quite a few teeth, you no doubt have been contemplating whether it’s time to start wearing dentures. Friends have probably told you that you should consider them whenever you complain about difficulties speaking and chewing or the loss of support for your face that teeth provide.

First,  if you haven’t lost all your teeth in one of the four arches (each half of the upper and the lower jaw), you could be a candidate for a partial denture. This is an oral appliance that provides artificial teeth on a gum-colored acrylic base which fits around the remaining natural ones, connected by a metal framework. It can be fixed in place or your dentist can make it removable, so that you take it out to clean each night:

A complete or full denture is for those who have lost all or most of their teeth (remaining ones can be painlessly extracted). The realistic-looking replacement teeth are attached onto the gums and underlying bone. The one fixed to the lower arches has a horseshoe shape, while the upper has a plate that covers the top of the mouth. Both of these need to be custom-created for you for the best fit. Properly prepared, placed, and maintained, both can enable you to speak more clearly and chew with greater comfort and effectiveness, though it takes a little practice. Both types are relatively inexpensive compared with dental implants.

However, no denture is a permanent solution because it does not stop the erosion of the jawbone that caused the loss of teeth to begin with. This could have been due to the natural aging process, but that is often exacerbated by poor oral hygiene. Once a periodontal infection takes root in the gum and spreads to the jaw, unless it is reversed, all your teeth will likely fall out gradually. You will need to return to have us readjust the denture to your changing jaw, probably every three to five years.

Dental implants are the much better option for missing teeth. These are the same type of natural-looking teeth replacements that are on dentures, but they are anchored into the jawbone, either individually wherever you need them, or you can have a complete set of implants if you are missing most of your teeth. Candidates do have to have sufficient jawbone to accept implants, which can be determined by a digital x-ray which emits very little radiation.

The process of extracting remaining teeth, waiting for the sockets to heal, then surgically planting the implant into the jaw, allowing that to heal, and finally attaching it to the tooth-like crown can take 3-6 months, depending on the individual case.

The rate of success of dental implants averages 98% and with proper care they can last a lifetime, according to WebMD:

An alternative to having a complete set of individual implants for each arch (consisting of seven teeth before losing any), there is a single platform known as an All-on-4 implant which can be anchored into the jaw by just four implants, which will have positive predictable results.

To determine what your best options are for missing teeth, call Wilshire Smile Studio today to set up a full examination.

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