When asked to smile for a photo, do you worry about how your teeth look? Is it difficult to chew and enjoy your favorite foods? Is speaking normally harder than it used to be?
Missing teeth and severely decaying teeth can cause a lot of emotional trauma. They’re also really hard on your health and can lead to compounding dental troubles. Thankfully, you have options — dental implants and dentures are two great tooth replacement strategies. But which is right for you?
No matter what replacement option you chose, the important thing is that you work closely with your dentist to resolve the issue and take back control of your smile and your life.
How many teeth are you missing?
The average adult between the ages of 20-64 has three or more decayed or missing teeth!
Why do teeth fall out?
The most common cause of preventable tooth loss in adults is gum disease — it accounts for 70% of missing teeth. Missing teeth can also be caused by severe tooth decay. In rare cases, and more commonly in older adults, tooth loss is often related to uncontrolled diabetes. It’s also been linked to dementia.
Whether it’s gum disease, decay, or another underlying issue, the ultimate reason for preventable tooth loss is the same — there’s no support for your teeth. Decay and disease weaken the tissues and bone surrounding your tooth. With nothing left to support them, your teeth will loosen and eventually fall out.
Tips for preventing tooth loss
The key to preventing tooth loss is avoiding disease and decay. To do that, you need to adopt a combination of excellent oral hygiene habits, good dietary and lifestyle choices, and a strong relationship with your dentist.
- Visit your dentist at least twice a year for a cleaning and examination
- Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes
- Floss every day
- Avoid smoking and too much alcohol
- Eat a balanced diet
Got a loose tooth?
If you notice a tooth that feels wobbly or loose, contact your dentist immediately. It’s possible you may be able to save the tooth and avoid having it fall out.
The importance of replacing missing teeth
Failing to fix a missing tooth can result in long-term health problems. Many don’t realize that once a tooth is lost, the bone around that missing tooth will start to atrophy and disintegrate. This bone loss is permanent and cannot be easily reversed.
Missing teeth can cause other problems, too:
- Crooked and misaligned neighboring teeth
- Increased risk of decay, gum disease, and even more lost teeth
- Weaker teeth, resulting in chips, cracks, and breaks
Don’t let missing teeth go unresolved!
Dentures vs. implants for for missing teeth
Like we mentioned at the start of this article, two of the most popular options for replacing missing teeth are dentures and dental implants. Let’s take a closer look at each of these procedures.
Traditional adhesive dentures are a removable set of false teeth and can come in two different styles:
- Complete dentures — Full set of teeth for when all (or the majority) of your teeth are missing.
- Partial Dentures – Partial set of teeth for when you still have some healthy natural teeth remaining.
At Damonte Ranch Dental Care, our adhesive dentures are much more comfortable and natural looking than those of the past. These aren’t your grandparent’s false teeth! Our dentures are custom made to fit perfectly in your mouth and look true to life.
Additionally, traditional dentures are a cost effective option and help you avoid going through the implant process.
All said, there are a few drawbacks to keep in mind:
- Can take some time to get used to wearing adhesive dentures
- Don’t help support your jawbone
- May still pose limitations on what foods you can comfortably eat
An implant is made from a high-tech material and takes the place of your tooth’s root. Dental implants are considered the best tooth replacement option. They are highly durable, permanent, and lead to the most natural looking and functional results.
Once the implant is placed in your mouth, it’s finished off with a durable restoration, like a crown, bridge, or most commonly… a denture!
Implants are very good for your dental health and lifestyle:
- Prevent bone loss
- Provide a stable bite
- Allow you to speak and chew naturally
- Look natural
Implant-supported dentures (the amazing hybrid option!)
As we mentioned above, once an implant has been placed and allowed to heal, the last step is to top it off with a restoration — the visible portion of your tooth. One restorative option is a complete or partial denture called an implant-supported denture.
Implant-supported dentures are the latest advancement in denture options and are incredibly effective. Unlike removable solutions, an implant-supported denture is secure and promotes healthy gums and bone.
An implant-supported prosthesis can be used to restore a single missing tooth or an entire arch of missing teeth.
Implant supported dentures are best for those with multiple missing teeth. Denture implants can be fixed or removable. They’re also preferred by those who don’t want to get as many implants — denture implants can often be supported by as few as 4 implants.
What to expect from a dental implant or denture implant procedure
A dental implant treatment takes a few visits:
- We refer you to an oral surgeon who will take great care placing your implant(s)
- You’ll take some time to heal after the procedure — usually a few months
- We’ll work with a local lab to craft a custom restoration just for you — whether it’s a crown, bridge, or denture
- Once your restoration is ready, we’ll place it and get you back to living your life with a beautiful, full smile!
So what tooth replacement option is best for you?
Armed with the knowledge above, it’s time to talk through the options with your dentist. They know what’s going on with your oral health and can recommend the best option based on your health as well as your lifestyle and budget.
We’re in the business of saving teeth
At our practice, we take a preventive approach to helping you keep your natural teeth for as long as possible. When tooth replacement is necessary, we’re here to provide the very best care and bring your smile and health back on track.
Our office is proud to partner with the best oral surgeons and lab technicians and offer gentle care and precise, long-lasting results.
Contact us today to learn more about whether dentures or implants are right for you.