However well you may have cared for your teeth, as you get older, it becomes increasingly likely that you will lose one or more of them.
However well you may have cared for your teeth, as you get older, it becomes increasingly likely that you will lose one or more of them. This leaves you with the decision of whether to replace the missing teeth with traditional, removable dentures or permanent implants. Your dentist can give you personal advice, but there are some basic points to consider.
The process of fitting dentures involves the dentist creating a mould of your gums, jaw and existing teeth; a technician then creates a close fitting denture using acrylic, plastic and cast metal, complete with a replica tooth, which is fashioned from porcelain.
The benefits of choosing dentures
Dentures can be created to replace one or more teeth, regardless of the position of the gap or gaps. Your new ‘teeth’ can be colour-matched exactly to your real teeth, enabling them to look as natural as possible and you will generally only have to wait for two or three weeks before you have your dentures. It is highly unusual for them to break, as they are made from such durable materials and fit the user so well.
The disadvantages of choosing dentures
Some disadvantages of dentures include initial mild discomfort while you get used to them, making talking and eating feel somewhat awkward to begin with. There is also a possibility of dentures making a ‘click’ sound as you chew; this is only very quiet, but can be embarrassing to some people. Furthermore, as you get older, the profile of your gums will change, leading to the necessity for new dentures to be created. In rare cases, there can be an allergic reaction to the materials used.
Implants are fitted in stages; initially, a titanium implant is inserted through the socket of the missing tooth and into the jaw itself. Although this sounds daunting, it is actually a pain-free procedure. However, the implant must then fuse with the bone before the next step and this can take as long as eight months, or as few as five. Once the titanium implant has completely adhered to the bone, the replacement ‘tooth’ is attached.
The benefits of choosing implants
One obvious advantage of this process is that it is a permanent solution and will not need to be refitted, as the dentures would, while still providing a natural-looking replacement that can be colour-matched to your real teeth. With the implant reaching down into the jaw, it is a very strong and stable structure, making chewing and talking feel as natural as though you still had your original teeth; with no separate surfaces to rub your gums, there is no need to acclimatize yourself to them. Additionally, the materials used – an amalgam of various metals, including titanium – are readily accepted by the body’s defence system and don’t cause an adverse reaction.
The disadvantages of choosing implants
It takes a lot longer to fit dental implants than it does to acquire new dentures and they are considerably more expensive. It is also not necessarily suitable to have implants if you grind your teeth when you are asleep and people who are extremely anxious about the invasive nature of the procedure may not be able to overcome their misgivings.
While there are advantages and disadvantages to both options, ultimately, it is a matter of preference, personal circumstances and your financial position. With the basic facts at your fingertips and the opportunity to seek further guidance from professionals, you should be able to make a balanced and appropriate decision.