Tooth Loss: Choosing Between Dentures and Dental Implants
We have seen the improvements in dental care over the years. However, statistics still show that at least 70% of adults between the age of 35-44 have at least lost a tooth. The occurrence can be attributed to different causes such as gum disease, tooth decay, fractures and accidents or traumas. Thanks to technology, you don’t have to go through life without a tooth. Dentures and dental implants are two options that you can choose from to rid yourself of this often embarrassing situation. However, affordable dentures prices have led people to choose this over its more expensive counterpart, dental implants. A smart choice?
Maybe. Maybe not.
There are a few things you may have to mull over before you decide which solution is best for you. Allow me to shed some light on this dilemma. But before that, I would like to discuss the common causes of tooth loss. Perhaps this would help you realize the importance of maintaining a good oral health.
Cause of Tooth Loss
The causes of tooth loss among adults may be classified into 4: trauma, congenital absence, dental disease and mechanical causes. To gain a better understanding of each, it will be discussed separately:
1. Congenital absence
Congenital absence is quite common. It happens when the permanent tooth fails to naturally take over the place of the primary or baby tooth as soon as it falls out. The baby tooth will fight it out and stay rooted to your gums until it no longer can, usually, due to loss of root support or perhaps the occurrence of a dental disease.
Some are not really bothered with the loss of one tooth while others cannot live a day without it. If you’re the latter, then you may choose between dental implants and denture. However, the affordable dentures prices are the reason why many people choose this over implants. If you do choose to undergo a dental implant, your doctor has to make sure that there’s no tooth bud in your jaw bone area as this could interfere with the result of the procedure.
Trauma can lead to tooth loss in so many ways. Your kid, the love of your life, may fall off a chair and onto her face. They could fall off their bicycle or smash their face into a door while running around with their siblings. Anything can happen really when you’re a kid. But it’s not just the kids who are susceptible to tooth loss due to trauma. Adults, too, could get into also sorts of trouble that could knock out our dear tooth, or teeth for that matter.
Furthermore, there are other traumas that can lead to significant loss of teeth. For instance, traumas that may cause defects to the teeth and jaw bone. Surgery of the mouth or jaw due to tumor is one example. Other examples include car accidents and ballistic wounds. The loss of jaw bone volume and its continuity has a tremendous effect on the overall health of the teeth. Usually people who have been through these situations undergo reconstruction of the jaw and prosthetic tooth replacement to revive their appearance and oral health.
3. Dental Diseases
A gum or periodontal disease has 2 known phases. The first one is gingivitis and the more advanced stage, periodontitis. Both involve swelling of the gum. But before a gum disease develops, it starts out as plaque, often caused by bad oral hygiene.
Plaque may look harmless but it is filled with bacteria that have the capacity to break down the gum tissue. While plaque cannot be prevented from occurring, its amount can be lessened through proper oral hygiene (brushing and flossing). Otherwise, it can develop into gingivitis. The hallmark of this oral problem is painful, bleeding and swollen gums. Periodontitis on the other hand involves the soft tissue and bones that support our teeth.
This is the most common cause of tooth loss among adults and children. Having a gum disease is tragic especially when you leave it untreated. It could creep into the deepest part of your gum tissues, wrecking havoc like one cannot imagine. It’s a progressing disease which can eventually affect all the structures in your mouth. Sometimes, when the disease is its in its advanced stage, teeth would just naturally fallout on their own. If the tooth is deemed to be beyond repair, tooth extraction may be recommended by your dentist.
Dental decays can also compromise the overall health of the teeth. If left untreated, it can lead to infection affecting the surrounding area of the tooth and your overall health. If this happens, extraction may also be considered to prevent further complications.
Tooth loss related to dental disease may be replaced through dental implants and dentures as well.
4. Mechanical cause
Teeth wearing has a lot of causes. Examples are: acid reflux, clenching, bruxing or grinding habits, diets that have high acid content, misaligned teeth, certain drugs, frequent vomiting and so on. Good oral hygiene and a regular visit to the dentist can save you from expensive dental treatments later on.
Now that we’ve discussed the common causes of tooth loss, let’s proceed to the solution –dentures and dental implants. Now which of the 2 should you choose? Both have their advantages and disadvantages. But I reckon that to make a more informed decision, you would have to know for yourself the pros and cons of each.
Dentures are false teeth. Your grandmother has it, I suppose, so does your grandfather. Back in the day, it was the most popular teeth replacement option and it still is now because of affordable dentures prices. It has come a long way since the days of bone and ivory dentures. Much have changed, thanks to technology.
The type of dentures that you need depends on the number of teeth you’ve lost. There are basically two types of dentures and these are the partial and complete denture.
From the name itself, partial dentures involve the replacement of a few missing teeth in the upper or lower jaw. What it does, apart from replacing your missing tooth, is it prevents teeth from moving away or from changing its position. This usually happens when there’s a space between teeth. If all or most of your teeth are missing, then you will need a complete denture.
The Problem with Dentures
When we were younger, losing a tooth presents an opportunity for profit, as we all know. A dollar for a tooth, says a benevolent mythical creature adults have made us to believe. Back then, losing a tooth elicits a lot of “oohhhs” and “aaahhhs” from adults who think we look cuter than when we had all of them. How we wish we could bring out the same joy from our partners when we lose a tooth at 38. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. And staying toothless just doesn’t bode well for someone who likes to keep his or her charming smile.
Dental treatments can be costly and that includes tooth replacement procedures. But affordable dentures prices make this the easier and the most popular choice among people who are have lost a tooth or two.
While this can serve as a permanent solution to tooth loss, it also presents challenges of its own. Dentures are removable false teeth. The operative word is: removable. The removable nature of dentures causes a lot of oral problems. These problems are shared by many of its users the world over.
Missing a tooth can be devastating to some. Not only do you lose a part of yourself but it can give your ego a serious blow too. It has been one of the causes of poor self-esteem among adults. More than anything else, replacing their real teeth with dentures offers relief. There’s no doubt that dentures are useful this way. But one of the most common complaints we have heard has to do with comfort.
In order to put dentures in place and prevent it from moving, an adhesive paste is applied on it. Unfortunately, the actual process of application on your gum is not what you may consider a pleasant experience. Not only that, using a fixative does not always offer a guarantee that your dentures will stay in place, thus the second issue.
Slippage is very common and can be a very embarrassing experience. Dentures may move around during mealtime and while you’re speaking. It’s inevitable, uncomfortable and awkward. I’ve known of someone who lost his dentures in the middle of an argument with his boss. It left him no choice but to concur outright to save face.
This problem is, more often than not, seen among people with dentures on the lower teeth. It seems like dentures on this part tend to move and slip more frequently than those located on the upper part of the teeth.
The friction that dentures produce when it rubs against the skin can lead to gum irritation and soreness. If not given proper attention, this could easily lead to gum infection.
Affordable dentures prices have attracted people to choose this over dental implants. It’s affordable alright but the cost of maintenance and replacement, over time, could equal to the cost of dental implants or more.
Dentures require regular maintenance and cleaning. Over time, you may also need to replace them.
Dental implants are becoming a more popular alternative to the good ‘ole dentures. First off, unlike its counterpart, it offers a more permanent solution to tooth-loss. This artificial root is implanted into your jaw and functions like a real tooth. It is most common among individuals who have lost a tooth or 2 to injury or gum diseases.
They are far superior to dentures because for one, it’s immovable. It’s not merely a removable facade of teeth but it’s an actual replacement to your teeth without the risk of discomfort, slippage and irritation. This superior quality of dental implants also makes it a pricier option.
But can anyone qualify for a dental implant?
Generally speaking, if you’re healthy enough to go through an oral surgery, you can be a candidate for dental implant.
Dental implants, unlike dentures, are not placed on your mouth and secured with an adhesive paste and metal frameworks. The implants will be connected with your gum tissues. And the bones in your mouth will serve as a base that will support the implant. In order for the procedure to be successful, you have to be tip top shape, meaning excellent general and oral health. Healthy gum tissues are a must. Without which, you may have to opt for dentures.
This method of placement guarantees you of much stronger teeth. It eliminates the issues that people with dentures face, such as discomfort and slippage.
Unlike dentures, it requires far less maintenance. For one, you don’t have to regularly have it cleaned, removed or replaced. There’s no special procedure involved to clean it. Just clean them as you would your natural teeth. Regular brushing, flossing and visit to the dentist are still required to keep it plaque-free. This option, despite its price, often lasts a lifetime.
Another advantage of this solution is the fact that, since it’s implanted and anchored in your mouth just like regular teeth, it preserves the health of the bone. Oftentimes, dentures can promote the deterioration of your gums and bones from constant movement and irritation. In some cases, it could even lead to facial and jawbone collapse. This doesn’t happen with dental implants.
If you were to ask me, dental implant is the better option. It’s only disadvantage is its cost. Apart from that, dental implants offer far superior benefits. The artificial root implanted into the gums means there’s no cause for slippage when you chew, speak and move around. This saves you from experiencing the same embarrassing situation that happened to my friend. It looks and functions exactly like real teeth, thus the low maintenance. It won’t feel like you’re wearing false teeth. There’s no need to have it adjusted and replaced every now and then, unlike dentures. Lastly, it does not cause or contribute to the deterioration of your gums and bones nor does it cause jawbone and facial collapse.
On the other hand, affordable dentures prices are the only advantage of dentures. But then again, everything boils down to preference. If you prefer one over the other and you think that it can benefit you more, go ahead and make that choice. You may also discuss your options with your dentist so you could make a more informed decision.