Tooth loss is a common problem among young and old people and it normally leads to embarrassment, self-consciousness and low self-esteem. Missing teeth also impedes eating and speaking and cause the surrounding teeth to shift.
Dentists use dental implants or dentures to replace missing teeth. Traditionally, dentures have always been associated with older people. However, the improvement of the technology for making dentures has increased their appeal among younger people.
Dentures are false teeth that can be removed. They have long been used as a solution for people with missing teeth, particularly in old age. Earlier dentures were made of bone or ivory but modern day dentures are made of acrylic. The use of acrylic has led to improvement in the appearance of dentures, however, many argue that using dentures to replace missing teeth should not be a permanent solution as they often cause other problems to manifest.
Arguments for dentures
- They are great for filling gaps left by missing teeth in the short term.
- They are less costly than implants, making them an ideal solution for patients who are on a low budget
- Dentures made of acrylic have a strong resemblance to real teeth and are also quite aesthetically appealing.
- Your teeth will not stain or decay.
- When custom-made and fitted by a professional dentist, they will not move around in your mouth or fall out. They will also not irritate your gums.
- Immediate dentures will fill a gap left after tooth extraction, even if you are waiting for an implant.
- You can get denture implants, whereby a set of dentures can be attached to implants. The dentures will be removable but they’ll stay in place when you need them to.
Arguments against dentures
- Dentures that involve using a setting consume time and the process of fixing is cumbersome and unpleasant.
- If your dentures are ill-fitting, they’ll move around when you’re speaking or eating and could even fall out of your mouth. Ill-fitting dentures are also a source of gum irritation.
- They need extra care to ensure they last a long time.
- You’ll eventually need to replace your dentures.
- They damage the natural teeth that they attach to.
- Dentures that are not rooted to the gums are not strong.
- The long term cost of maintenance and buying fittings is significant.
Unlike dentures which are removable, dental implants offer a more permanent solution to missing teeth as they are non-removable. Each implant is drilled into a gap where there’s a missing tooth. Implants are made of three parts:
- The implant, which is drilled into the gums to act as a tooth root,
- The abutment, which connects the crown to the implant
- The crown, which is the top tooth-like part
Arguments for Implants
- They are actual replacements for teeth, as opposed to dentures which are merely used to front the presence of teeth.
- They are very strong since they are secured to the jaw bone.
- Implants don’t move, slip or fall out. This eliminates the embarrassment and injuries associated with dentures.
- They last a lifetime if taken care of properly with routine maintenance by your dentist.
- They don’t stain or get cavities. However, you still need to take care of them like you would your natural teeth, in order to prevent periodontal diseases.
- They don’t need any special maintenance, since they don’t require removal.
- Their appearance is exactly like that of natural teeth.
- Anchoring the implant into the bone prevents your gums from deteriorating and your face from collapsing.
- Titanium integrates with bone and tissue.
Arguments against implants
- It costs more to get dental implants. However, your medical insurance might cover the cost.