If you’re looking for a new set of teeth, you may be struggling to decide between dental implants and dentures. Though both options give you a better smile, they’re pretty different in their functions and appearance. So, how can you tell which option is best for you and your smile?
What are dental implants?
A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is installed into the gums and connected to the jawbone. Basically, it’s a fake tooth that looks and functions like your permanent teeth. You can choose how many implants you want, too! Whether you only want one spot filled in or a whole set of new teeth is up to you.
“But how is it done, Doc?” Well, installing dental implants is a two-part procedure. If bone loss has occurred over the years while the tooth was missing, a bone graft will be the first step. This will help ensure that the implant(s) will be surrounded by enough bone to anchor it securely to your jaw. Once the bone graft is complete, it’ll be implant time!
In many cases the bone graft and implant procedure can be performed in the same surgery. Don’t worry; since you’ll be under anesthesia, you won’t feel any pain during treatment. Most dental implant patients at Grand Parkway Smiles choose conscious iv sedation (you’ll be fast “asleep” during the procedure).
After surgery, you may receive a temporary tooth replacement as the implant fuses to the bone. Complete healing of the surgical site can take several months to complete, but at least you can show off your temporary tooth to people during that time! Once the implant has securely fused with the bone, you’ll get your final crown. The permanent crown is usually attached to an abutment that is placed over your implant. And voilà… you have a new tooth!
Pros and cons of dental implants
With new teeth comes a new smile, which then brings a new confidence. Nobody wants to hide their smile behind their sleeve, or use the dreaded closed-mouth smile in family pictures. With new implants comes a new you! But dental implants have more benefits than just a new smile; they can benefit oral health and overall well-being in the following ways:
- Restore lost function: Dental implants don’t just look like natural teeth. They function like natural teeth as well. Difficulty chewing, or even problems speaking due to tooth loss, will be a thing of the past.
- Prevent further bone loss: Because the jaw bone will be growing around the implant as it would with a natural tooth root, it will receive stimulation and begin regenerating itself.
- Supports dentures: That’s right, dental implants support their rival. Mini dental implants are sometimes used to securely affix dentures
- Provide long-term results: The dental implant is made of titanium, so you’ll get a new tooth that won’t budge, no matter you throw at it.
- They are easy to take care of: a toothbrush, toothpaste, and some floss is all it takes for most people to keep their dental implants lasting a lifetime
- The biggest downside to dental implants is that it takes time to complete the full process. Depending on healing speed, which can be complicated by conditions like diabetes, some patients may wait up to 6 months for their jawbone to fully fuse with the implant. In most cases, however, a temporary crown will be a great stand-in for the final permanent crown while you wait for fusion to be complete.
- Gum infections are still possible as well, just like with regular teeth. Regular follow-ups with your dentist are important to detect possible issues early.
What are dentures?
Dentures are a removable replacement for missing teeth and affected surrounding gum tissue. They’re usually made of acrylic plastic, but are sometimes made of porcelain or metal. Dentures closely resemble natural teeth and gum tissue, either filling in spaces where teeth are missing or acting as inserts to prevent remaining teeth from shifting.
To receive dentures, molds and impressions of your mouth will be made to pinpoint accuracy. Afterward, you’ll have another dentist visit where the shape and color of your dentures will be finalized. And finally, your dentures will be placed!
The dentist will take the time to make sure your new dentures look natural and feel comfortable, so speak up if they don’t feel comfortable enough to keep in your mouth all day. Keep in mind, though, that it may take time to get used to your new dentures, so be sure to keep all follow-up appointments with your dentist to report any discomfort you may be experiencing and request adjustments.
If all your teeth are missing, dental implants might be needed to help support the dentures. They’d be installed at the beginning of the denture making process.
Pros and cons of dentures
Like dental implants, dentures improve the look of your smile and give you a good confidence boost. Again, no more hidden smiles or closed-mouth smiles! But dentures also have the following benefits:
- Help prevent the muscles in your face from sagging
- Eat and speak with confidence again: With dentures, you’ll be able to chew again and improve any speech problems you’ve experienced from tooth loss.
- A main disadvantage of dentures is that they don’t help prevent bone loss, which means even though your smile looks better, damage is still occurring underneath them.
- Dentures also require regular cleaning and can’t be worn overnight.
Who takes the gold?
Overall, dental implants are your best bet if you’re looking for new teeth. Not only do they give you a beautiful smile and new confidence, but they also have more health benefits than dentures. They look and function like normal teeth, prevent bone loss, and are a long-term solution to a suffering smile.
If you’re curious whether dental implants are right for you, give Grand Parkway Smiles a call! We are known for convenient locations, friendly service, a pleasant environment, and leaving patients feeling positive and fear-free.
We even offer dental financing with low monthly payments!
If you feel like dentures are more fitting for you, Grand Parkway Smiles offers quality services for those, too! Give us a call at (832) 899-5198!