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How are Dental Implants and Dentures Different?

Between traumatic accidents, gum disease, and decay, lost teeth are a fairly common occurrence. In fact, according to the American College of Prosthodontists, 178 million Americans have lost at least one tooth, and about 40 million have no natural teeth left at all. If you’re among them, you have options.

Dr. James E. Butler and our team here at Innovative Dental Ideas in Hilliard, Ohio, encourage all our patients who are missing teeth to consider treatment, because the gap is more than a cosmetic flaw. Left alone, that space harbors bacteria that lead to gingivitis and periodontitis, serious gum infections. You also run the risk of your other teeth shifting into the open area and causing alignment problems. Over time, you could even lose bone mass in your jaw because the tooth that stimulated its growth is gone.

Fortunately, you can replace one or all of your missing teeth with dentures or dental implants. Here’s how they compare.

Dentures 101

If your parents or grandparents wore dentures, you may have a mental image of fake teeth soaking in a glass on the nightstand. Although technological advancements have made dentures more comfortable and natural-looking, they’re still, in essence, removable oral appliances just like you remember.

Typically made of porcelain “teeth” and acrylic “gums,” dentures rest on your gum line and replace a few missing teeth or an entire row (partial dentures) or a full arch of missing teeth (complete dentures), top or bottom.

They attach with metal clasps that fit over your existing teeth or a crown. To clean them, you simply pop them out and soak them overnight in a special solution.

The upside of dentures

If you’re choosing between dentures and dental implants, here are some of dentures’ advantages:

Dentures have served people well for many years and remain a popular choice for those looking to bridge a dental gap. 

The downside of dentures

Although dentures are a great solution, there are some drawbacks to consider as well:

Most people find that they tolerate dentures well once they adjust to them.

Dental implants 101

Unlike dentures, dental implants are not removable — they’re a permanent solution to missing teeth. We implant a titanium post that anchors into your jawbone, so once it’s in, it’s there to stay. We place a crown on top that matches your other teeth perfectly and looks and feels completely natural. 

Over time, the post osseointegrates, or fuses, with your bone just as the root of a natural tooth does, and it’s as close to the real thing as possible.

The upside of dental implants

Dental implants come with some distinct advantages:

For these reasons, dental implants have become one of the fastest growing segments of dentistry. 

The downside of dental implants

For all the good of dental implants, there are only a few drawbacks:

If you’re looking for a solution that looks and feels as if you’ve never lost any teeth, dental implants are the right choice.

A word about implant-supported dentures

We mentioned that dentures have seen some improvements over the years, and this is the biggest — implant-supported dentures. Although still removable, this appliance snaps onto a titanium post just like dental implants, but it comes out for cleaning.

Although this option eliminates the worry of shifting and clicking, and it may be easier to talk with than traditional dentures, you still have to avoid certain types of foods. You can definitely expect a better bite force with implant-supported dentures, but not as strong as permanent dental implants.

How to choose

We hope we gave you some valuable information to help you choose which treatment is right for you. We know you need to take into consideration durability, hygiene routines, cost, aesthetics, and above all, your health, and we’re here to help you navigate your options.

To learn more about dentures and dental implants, call us at 614-529-0062, or request an appointment online today.

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