Losing a single tooth is never part of your plan, so missing several teeth is unfathomable. However, tooth loss occurs for various reasons, including severe tooth decay, poor oral hygiene, gum disease, and trauma or injury.
Tooth loss may be unplanned or may be part of a scheduled tooth extraction. Either way, when this occurs, you need to know your tooth replacement opinions. Here, your Pineville dentist breaks down the differences between dental implants and dentures and which is better for tooth replacement.
Is tooth replacement necessary?
When you lose a tooth, the natural balance is thrown off. Your mouth has to adjust, changing the way you eat and speak. Your oral health is greatly affected. There are changes to the form, function, and appearance of your smile.
Tooth loss also brings changes to your facial appearance. You may experience bone loss which alters your facial volume, making you appear older.
Some of the necessities and benefits of tooth replacement include the following:
Improve oral health
As mentioned, a missing tooth affects your oral health. Without a tooth in place, there is a big gap where bacteria are bound to collect. Maintaining good oral habits is crucial since it is harder to keep bacteria out of these empty spaces.
Replacing the missing tooth or teeth can help prevent many of the future oral health problems listed below.
Prevent teeth from shifting
When a tooth is lost, there is nothing to keep the remaining teeth from moving. The teeth adjacent to the gap may shift or slide into that space. This then causes changes in the spacing around the teeth and alters your chewing surfaces and speech patterns.
Once one tooth moves, there is nothing stopping the rest of them from moving. The balance has been disrupted. From a hygiene standpoint, teeth that have shifted are harder to keep clean. Straight, even teeth are easier to clean; crowded or gapped teeth have places where bacteria can linger unnoticed.
Replacing that missing tooth helps to keep the surrounding teeth in place, thereby protecting your chewing and speech patterns.
Avoid gum disease
Since the missing tooth leaves a gap, the gums in that area are exposed. There is no tooth to protect the gumline from bacteria. Bacteria can hide in the pockets of the gums and then spread through the mouth. This leads to periodontal disease and potentially additional tooth loss.
Additionally, gum disease is linked to overall health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. If you have health issues due to gum disease, make an appointment with a primary physician in Pineville for a physical.
You can protect your oral and overall health by restoring your smile. By undergoing a tooth replacement procedure, the tooth restoration acts as a tooth and helps keep additional bacteria off the gums.
Boost facial volume
The tooth root plays a crucial role in stimulating and maintaining the health of the jaw bone. Without a root in place, the bone can begin to deteriorate. As the bone breaks down, it changes your facial shape, creating a sunken or aged appearance.
Tooth replacement helps fill out your face. Certain restorations, such as dental implants, keep the bone healthy and remove the potential for deterioration.
Tooth replacement options in Pineville
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are essentially posts or cylinders that sit in the jaw bone replacing the missing tooth root. This provides the sturdy foundation for a dental restoration, such as a crown, bridge, or denture. The combination of the restoration and implant mimic the structure of a natural tooth in appearance and function.
Advantages of dental implants
Dental implants utilize revolutionary technology to restore the entire tooth from root to crown. This design brings several benefits for your oral health. The advantages include:
- Secure – With the placement in the gums, dental implants provide a sense of security and stability not found with other restorations.
- Functional – Dental implants behave like natural teeth. The implant is placed in the jaw bone and given time to heal. It is then topped with an abutment which connects the implant with the crown or denture.
- Long-lasting – With proper care, implants can last a lifetime. They are not subject to decay and remain as a strong support system for restorations.
- Improved oral health – Implants stimulate the bone to keep it healthy and from breaking down. By mimicking the roots, implants also help prevent gum disease.
- Versatile – Implants can replace a single tooth or multiple teeth depending on the patient’s needs.
- No dietary changes – Since the implant is secured in the jaw like a natural tooth, there are no limits on what you eat. You can enjoy the same foods you always have without the restoration moving.
Disadvantages of dental implants
Although implants offer many benefits, there are a few disadvantages as well. These include:
- Upfront cost – Implants cost more at the start than other dental restorations. A single tooth replacement from start to finish with an implant costs between $3,000 and $4,500 on average. For full mouth restorations, that price can go as high as $60,000 to $90,000 when all is said and done.
- Not for everyone – Not everyone is a candidate for a dental implant procedure. Proper candidates require adequate bone tissue for implant placement so the bone, implant, and gum tissue can integrate together. Without adequate healthy bone, the implant would fail.
- Surgical risks – Implantation procedures are considered oral surgeries, which means they come with risks of infection, bleeding, bruising, and discomfort.
What are dentures?
Dentures offer patients the opportunity to replace a few missing teeth or an entire upper or lower arch. Dentures are a removable option to replace teeth. Partials restore a few teeth; while full dentures replace an entire row. There are also implant-supported dentures which attach to implants for a sturdy, non-removable option.
Advantages of dentures
As with dental implants, there are pros and cons of dentures. The benefits of dentures include the following:
- Versatile – With the availability of full and partial dentures, they can be used to replace a few teeth or an entire arch.
- Removable – Dentures are removable, so they can easily be taken out to clean the teeth and gums.
- Non-surgical – No oral surgery is needed for dentures. The dentures are custom-created and fitted to your mouth. They sit atop the gums without placement in the jaw bone.
- Improved appearance – With dentures or false teeth in place, your smile is complete. This boosts your confidence and fills out your facial structure for an improved overall appearance.
- Fast results – Once the custom dentures are ready, your smile is complete. There is no need to wait for surgical healing or multiple steps in the process.
- Economical – Dentures are affordable and often come at a lower price. The national average cost of dentures is $1,300. However, various factors such as location, number of teeth, denture materials, and additional procedures may impact the cost.
Disadvantages of dentures
Dentures have been used for years to replace missing teeth, but they may not be for everyone. Here are some of the downsides to dentures:
- Shifting restorations – Denture adhesive is required to keep the restoration in place. However, that does not fully keep the denture from moving; shifting can still occur while eating and speaking.
- Mouth sores – If the dentures do not fit properly, they can rub uncomfortably, cause sores, or irritate the gums.
- Bone loss – Only tooth roots maintain the health of the jaw bone. Without natural teeth or dental implants in place, the bone begins to break down and bone loss occurs.
Dental implants vs dentures: what’s right for you?
Dental restorations are necessary to replace missing teeth. Dental implants and dentures both promote better oral health. They improve the smile, overall facial appearance, and chewing and speaking patterns.
Dental implants offer a longer term solution and are a great option for single or multiple replacements. While there is a larger upfront cost, no upkeep or additional products are needed.
Dentures offer versatility and affordability. Denture materials and technologies have come a long way in producing more natural-looking restorations. However, they do not support the bone and may move around in the mouth.
Deciding between dentures and implants as a long-term tooth replacement solution depends on your personal needs. Your dentist can help you make the right choice based on your budget, bone quality, and oral health needs. If you have concerns about the cost of either, check with your insurance plan or ask us about our dental savings plan.
Get tooth replacement in Pineville, NC
At Radiant Smiles Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, we offer a comprehensive range of dental services in Pineville. Our tooth replacement options include dentures, dental implants, and bridges. We will walk you through the process and explain the pros and cons of each treatment. Our goal is to help you make an informed decision about your dental health.
Don’t just take it from us. Check out our smile gallery to see some of the tooth restorations and smile makeovers for some of our happy patients. Schedule an appointment for dentures or dental implants in Pineville today!