Replacing missing or damaged teeth is key to restoring your smile, oral health, and overall quality of life. Missing teeth can lead to secondary dental health concerns that could have a lasting impact on your health. Patients with missing teeth are more prone to gum disease, additional tooth loss, and bone loss.
For patients who are missing teeth, choosing the best option to replace them can be stressful. Your dentist in Durham offers many options, including dental implants, dental bridges, and dentures.
Below, we will help you weigh the pros and cons of each option to help you make a well-informed decision. He recommends dental implants in almost all cases because they deliver a 95% success rate and offer the best long-term oral health benefits.
A dental bridge is a tooth replacement option for patients missing a single tooth or several consecutively missing teeth. It works by bridging the gap between teeth. The bridgework is a series of prosthetic teeth linked together and supported by an anchor on either side of the gap. A dental bridge is supported by the surrounding natural teeth, which require grinding down to provide a place to attach the bridge.
Damaging your surrounding teeth is something every dentist will want to avoid if possible. A dental bridge is more affordable than dental implants if you’re missing teeth. The downside is they will not last as long and require much extra care, repairs, and even replacement.
To help bolster the anchor teeth for the bridge, we recommend placing dental crowns over these teeth. Crowns help protect the natural teeth from tooth decay and take on the wear and tear of supporting the bridge. We can also use dental implants to support the dental bridge. You don’t have to risk damaging your natural teeth. You also get all the benefits that dental implants provide, like spurring on the regeneration of your jawbone.
Dentures are false teeth and are an option for people who are missing most or all of their teeth. They are made in a dental lab with impressions of your mouth. Dentures are made up of a base typically made of acrylic resin and metal that will rest on your gums.
The teeth portion is attached to the base and is typically made of plastic or porcelain but can differ depending on quality, color, and size. The only real pros to choosing dentures are the cost and time to complete them. Dentures cost significantly less than dental implants in the beginning, and they will be ready for you in about 3-6 weeks. However, there are dietary restrictions, fears of falling out or slipping, extra care and repairs, and the risk of bone loss when you choose dentures to replace your missing teeth.
Because your jawbone continues to deteriorate, dentures usually need adjustments. The fit will constantly be changing because your jawbone is changing. You may need to get your dentures readjusted, relined, or replaced completely multiple times throughout your lifetime.
Dentures also typically require adhesive to stay in your mouth properly. This gets messy and irritating. It also requires you to remove your dentures at night and clean them separately. This takes time and dedication, taking enough care so you don’t harm the dentures but also get them cleaned properly.
Dental Implants are the only permanent solution for missing teeth. Dental implants are virtually indistinguishable from your natural teeth. The implant is surgically implanted into the jaw bone, so it replaces the tooth’s root, becoming fully integrated with the bone. This will prevent bone loss and makes the dental restoration extremely durable.
They feel and look just like your natural teeth, offer no dietary restrictions, and will give your smile a natural appearance. Your dentist in Durham, NC, offers many dental implants to his patients, missing one, several, or all of their teeth. You get back 100% of your bite function with dental implants. It’s unnecessary to remove any foods from your diet or worry about your restoration slipping or falling out.
However, dental implants are generally the most expensive replacement option, but patients with dental implants often experience no maintenance requirements or additional costs. Also, not all patients qualify for dental implants. You should be healthy and have the sufficient bone structure to support the implant. You also have to be in good oral and overall health because it requires a surgical procedure.