Dental Tips Blog

Jun
27

Replacing Missing Teeth

Posted in Dental Implants

Hundreds of millions of Americans have at least one missing tooth and about 10 percent are missing all of their teeth. The problem is worse for older Americans.  About 44 percent of Americans over the age of 75 are missing all of their teeth.  As life expectancies continue to increase, the problem is only going to get worse.

No matter what age, replacing missing teeth promptly is important for maintaining good oral health.  Tooth loss, especially the loss of numerous or total loss of teeth has been shown to contribute to health declines.  The reason is most likely due to changes in dietary habit among those who lose teeth.  People with missing teeth tend to eat unhealthy diets and the problem doesn’t get much better for those who wear dentures.

There are more than 50 million Americans wearing full or partial dentures and while many denture wearers do well, most have trouble learning to eat properly.  Because of problems chewing with dentures, denture wearers tend to favor soft foods and avoid fresh fruits and vegetable and other nutritious foods.

The problem is that no matter how well they fit, denture wearers simply cannot exert anywhere near the chewing force that is typical for natural teeth.  Dental implants are a  much better alternative to dentures.  Dental implants are surgically implanted in the jawbone and look, feel, and perform just like natural teeth.

Dental implants are initially more expensive than dentures, but since implants last for 20 years or more they are more cost effective in the long run.  Long term denture wearers have often lost too much bone in their jaw to support dental implants, but in most cases bone graft surgery can replace the necessary bone.

May
15

Dentures or Dental Implants?

Posted in Dental Implants

Dentures and dental implants are both alternatives for replacing missing teeth. Each has advantages and disadvantages that should be taken into consideration when choosing which is the best option for you.

Millions of Americans are missing one or more teeth.  In fact, a quarter of Americans over the age to 60 have no natural teeth left at all.  Dentures have traditionally been one of the most widely used options for replacing missing teeth, especially if the patient was missing all or most of their upper and lower teeth.

Partial dentures are removeable an use a wire to attach to neighboring teeth for support.  Full dentures rely on temporary adhesive to stay in place and are removed nightly for cleaning.  Dentures can be uncomfortable to wear and can move around which causes problems with eating and speaking.  They tend not to have a very natural appearance.

Dental implants are a more recently developed tooth replacement option in which a titanium device is implanted into the patient’s jawbone.  After the jawbone has healed around the implant, a prosthetic tooth similar to a porcelain crown is permanently attached to the implant.  Dental implants can be used to replace a single tooth or all of the patient’s teeth.

Dental implants are much more firmly attached than dentures.  Dental implants look and feel just like natural teeth.  In addition, bone stimulation from biting and chewing stops the bone loss in the jaw that is common with dentures.

However, some patients are not good candidates for dental implants.  The patient must have sufficient bone structure to support the implant.  In addition, dental implants have a higher initial cost than dentures.  However, they are a permanent, durable tooth replacement solution and over time may actually cost less than dentures.

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