One of the most visible and expressive features of a person is their smile. When you have a great looking, healthy smile it boosts your self image and gives you a more confident disposition. However, when you lose a tooth either to oral trauma, tooth decay or other disease—it can have a very damaging effect on how you see yourself.
What Happens If I Lose A Tooth?
Many people visit their dentist when dealing with the loss of a tooth, and are presented with two main options— dentures or implants. Everyone has their own opinion of both options but regardless of whether you lean towards dentures or implants both methods help to mitigate the damage missing a tooth can cause, such as:
- Altered Oral Mechanics – Once a tooth is missing, it alters the mechanics and balance of the other teeth that remain in your mouth. Teeth will often shift out of alignment when the other teeth that hold them in place are missing. As the teeth shift they usually become crooked, leave gaps between teeth or even become misaligned and get behind or in front of each other. This causes the shape of your jaw and cheeks to change and cause pain or bite issues. This also allows food to be trapped in between which can cause halitosis and other serious hygiene related diseases.
- Bone Loss – Once a tooth is lost, the area it once occupied in the jaw gets no more stimulation or use, which brings on bone atrophy and eventually bone loss. Bone loss alters the shape of the jaw and mouth but also makes any further correction, such as implants, very difficult as bone is required to mount implants.
- Decreased Quality Of Life – When you lose a tooth it causes much more serious secondary effects than just being ashamed to show your smile or having trouble eating certain foods. It also tends to alter your diet and how nutrients are absorbed by your body due to lack of proper chewing. While feeling self-conscious in social settings is a sad thing, the impact it has on your health is even worse.
The worst decision you can make is to do nothing— replacing missing teeth is the only solution toward improving your oral health. The decision regarding which method to use in replacing your teeth is a decision that needs to be made with the knowledge of each method available, along with the expertise of an experience practice, such as Uptown Cosmetic Dentistry.
What You Should Know About Dentures
Dentures are removable dental prosthetics that are a substitute for missing teeth as well as some of the gum tissue. There are complete dentures that replace all of the teeth in either your upper jaw, lower jaw, or both and there are partials which just fill in the gaps for a few missing teeth. While complete dentures rest directly on the gums, partials are held in place by clasps that are supported by existing teeth on either side.
All dentures have a gum colored acrylic base that actually supports the dentures and some include a frame for added support.
Why Some Patients Choose Dentures:
- Dentures cost less upfront than implants.
- Dentures can be used in patients that have significant bone and gum erosion.
- Fitting and applying dentures does not require surgery or any drilling.
- Dentures usually only take about four visits to be completed.
The Caveats Of Dentures:
- Dentures often have to be adjusted and maybe even replaced as the shape of your face and gums change with natural aging—this can add to the overall cost of dentures.
- Dentures take quite a bit of adjusting to. Some effects from the adjustment include altered speech, difficulty chewing and swallowing, uncontrolled salivation, and the dentures slipping out.
- As with your regular teeth, dentures need daily care or you could catch an infection in your mouth from unclean dentures.
What You Should Know About Dental Implants
Dental Implants are a permanent solution to a temporary problem—missing teeth. Implants are designed with advanced materials that feel, function, and look just like natural teeth. Implants will not rot as they are composite, however they can stain, so normal oral care is important. If you take care of them, you can expect them to last a lifetime.
Dental implants, unlike dentures, are permanently affixed to the jawbone and therefore help maintain bone strength, facial definition, and normal oral function without impeding daily activities.
Implants do require surgery and some follow up as a titanium post is drilled into the bone as an anchor for the prosthetic crown to attach to. This is not a procedure you want to just get done anywhere as it requires a high level of expertise and experience. Make sure you only go to an accredited and well recommended prosthodontist that has many years of experience, such as Uptown Cosmetic Dentistry.
Why Most Patients Choose Dental Implants:
- The success rate of dental implants is over 95%.
- The lifespan of typical dental implants is at least 20 years or more.
- Implant care is the same exact care you would undertake for your real teeth.
- Implants preserve facial structure and bone strength.
- When you get implants done at Uptown Cosmetic Dentistry, we can have your implants done in one day. After that, all you need is a follow up visit to make sure all is going as planned.
The Caveats Of Dental Implants:
- Dental Implants have a higher initial cost than dentures—however over several years, maintenance costs for dentures end up being greater in overall cost than low maintenance implants.
- Implants require you to have healthy bone composition and gums to secure the implant properly. In some cases bone and skin grafts can be done but at a significant increase in cost. If you do not have healthy gums and bone, then implants may not be possible for you.
Which One To Choose?
While both dentures and implants are common solutions for tooth loss, one option does stand out as the better and more valuable of the two—dental implants.
Dental Implants Just Make More Sense
Most dental professionals strongly recommend dental implants if your bone and gum health qualifies and if you can afford it. Dental implants are less of a hassle than dentures and dentures can end up costing more in the long run, when you factor maintenance and replacements every so often. The biggest objection patients give when discussing implants is the initial cost, but many dental practices, including Uptown Cosmetic Dentistry, offer convenient financing options to make implants affordable for everyone.
Ready To Bring Your Smile Back?
If you are suffering the effects of missing teeth and want the solution that is best for you, come see Dr. Robert Velasco at Uptown Cosmetic Dentistry. We have the experience and track record to prove that we are the premier experts on cosmetic dentistry in the Houston area. Contact us today to set up a free consultation!