Missing teeth are serious business. Not only are they dangerous for your dental health, but they can have a severe effect on your self-esteem. Unfortunately, even with perfect dental hygiene, age and accidents can still cause you to lose teeth.
If you ever have to face the problem of missing teeth, there are two main options available to you: dentures and dental implants. Both have advantages and disadvantages. We hope this brief guide can help with your decision!
Let’s start with the basics. Dentures are sets of artificial teeth available as complete upper/lower jaw sets or as individual pieces (called “partial dentures.”) Dentures either fit atop remaining teeth with a bracket or sit on your gums with gentle adhesive.
Dental implants are individual teeth that are permanently secured to your gums through a surgical procedure. Dental implants function exactly like real teeth and can be brushed, polished, and flossed normally.
Both dentures and implants can be used while eating and drinking, and both look convincing enough to improve your smile. The differences come in fitting/installation, maintenance, and cost.
Fitting and Installation
Dentures require several visits to fit properly. First your dentist has to take impressions of your gums and existing teeth, then study your bite pattern. This data is sent to a lab, which fabricates the dentures. Your dentist will then do a test fit and make any needed adjustments.
Dental implants first require extraction of a damaged root before drilling into the jawbone beneath it. Your dentist then installs a post – basically a screw – and waits several weeks for the bone to grow around it. Afterwards, a crown, or artificial tooth, is placed on top.
Because they are secured directly in your jawbone, dental implants are extremely strong and long-lasting. They are also very expensive, costing almost as much for a single tooth as an entire set of dentures. Dentures cost less because there is significantly less labor involved.
That lower cost comes with many caveats, however: dentures must be cleaned every single day if you want them to last. You have to remove them each night and soak them in cleaning solution. The adhesive may also have to be removed from your gums.
In contrast, dental implants are virtually maintenance free aside from regular brushing and flossing. That said, they aren’t immune from failure, with approximately 5-10% failing over time. These failures are inconvenient but fixable, typically resulting in a loose tooth or sores on your gums.
Do you have missing teeth? Klooster Family Dentistry is proud to offer both dentures and dental implants to patients in Holly Springs, Raleigh, and across the Triangle! We accept Care Credit and most dental insurance. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.