Talking Teeth: Why dental implants are better for your oral health

Ironside Advanced Dental explains why dental implants are a better option than dentures.

Having missing teeth can have a huge impact on your daily life – normally simple things like chewing food, talking, and smiling suddenly become a cause for concern. Luckily there are solutions, the three most common being dentures, bridges and dental implants. So which one should you choose?

What are dentures?

Dentures are what’s most commonly referred to as “false teeth”. They are often made of materials like acrylic, cast metal, or porcelain. They can fit into the space created by missing teeth, or even replace an entire arch of teeth. The process begins with your dentist creating impressions and moulds of your teeth and jaw, which are then sent to a specialist laboratory technician to create your dentures. You can choose the tooth shape, size and colour that suit you best. Once the dentures are ready you’ll return for a fitting, and for any necessary adjustments for comfort. You may need to make subsequent visits to your dentist for further adjustments as you become accustomed to your dentures.

The benefits of dentures

The denture process can be very quick and simple – same day treatments are usually recommended, so if you’re on a tight schedule this can be a benefit. If you’re budget-restricted, dentures are usually the most cost-effective procedure. In terms of dental health, dentures are recommended for patients with a lack of suitable bone in their jaws – they can provide support for the facial muscles and help your teeth maintain a natural look.

The disadvantages of dentures

Dentures are susceptible to movement or dislodgement while talking or chewing, especially without denture adhesive. Some people may find this embarrassing. Dentures can also cause the wearer some discomfort and may cause difficulty eating or speaking.

There is ongoing and elaborate cleaning and maintenance involved in wearing dentures, as opposed to bridges and dental implants which can be cleaned like natural teeth. They also do not prevent further deterioration of the jawbone.

Dentures have a lifespan of approximately five to seven years and therefore require periodical replacements. There can also be psychosocial factors involved in wearing dentures – patients can become self-conscious about wearing them in social situations.

What are dental bridges?

Bridges are prosthetic devices that are cemented on to existing teeth. Before implants, they were the main alternative to dentures where there were suitable remaining teeth to support and retain them.

The benefits of bridges?

Bridges are cemented to teeth and so they have the advantage that they do not move around like dentures. If the supporting teeth and gums are healthy they can restore normal function and aesthetics. Bridges are custom made for each individual and so can be tailored to match the shape and colour of the surrounding teeth. They are maintained by normal flossing and brushing.

The disadvantages of bridges?

The main disadvantages of bridges are that they need to be attached to adjacent teeth usually by using crowns on those teeth as retainers. This means the adjacent teeth need to be prepared for a restoration that they might otherwise not needed. Bridges are also more expensive than dentures.

What are dental implants?

Dental implants are most commonly made of titanium, and act as an artificial root for your replacement tooth. These implants are placed into the bone socket and jaw during a small surgical procedure; the jawbone then naturally fuses to the implant over the course of a few months. Once the jawbone is completely fused, a replacement tooth is attached to the implant. Full functionality is restored and the result is a natural-looking tooth with little risk of movement. If they’re maintained correctly and treated well, dental implants can last a lifetime.

The benefits of dental implants

 Dental implants are a permanent tooth replacement solution that poses very little risk of movement or dislodgement. They look and feel more like a natural tooth; they also require less maintenance than dentures, fitting easily into your regular oral health routine of flossing once and brushing twice daily. Dental implants also assist in the protection of the jawbone by preventing further deterioration. 

The disadvantages of dental implants.

 The dental implant process requires significantly more consultation and time than dentures and bridges; they are also more expensive initially. As it is a surgical procedure, the dental implant process also carries the subsequent risk of complications. They are not recommended for patients with weak or unsuitable jaws. The risk factors for implants include smoking, previous gum disease, diabetes and HRT.

Dentures or dental implants?

For the benefit of your overall dental health, Ironside Advanced Dental recommends bridges and dental implants as a long-term solution for missing teeth. While dentures are both times- and cost-effective in the short term, over time the follow-up fittings, consultations, replacements and maintenance will only add to the overall cost and potentially affect your oral health. Bridges and Dental implants are a far more practical long-term solution, requiring little maintenance other than your already-established oral health routine – and if you look after them correctly, they have the potential to last a lifetime.