When a tooth is lost it needs to be replaced as soon as possible. This is not only for the cosmetic benefit of filling the gap, but also for your dental health. Many people have had a bridge done or dentures made, which are excellent as far as they go.
Dentures may fit well for a while but then need modifying or replacing as the mouth changes with aging:
- They may be too loose and move when you want them to be stable
- They must be removed and cleaned every night
In our experience, about 10 percent of people with dentures really function fine with them. The other 90 percent never really get comfortable with how they look, with the 75 percent reduction of natural chewing force, or with the slipping that ANY denture has. While some dentures fit fine at the start, over time the jaws shrink and get thinner and shorter, making it harder to wear them as the years go by.
Bridges can be secure and comfortable, but require trimming of the neighboring teeth to properly secure them. These teeth may have little or no dental work, but for the bridge they must be substantially modified.
- Over time whatever happens to one of these anchor teeth affects ALL of the bridge
- If you get a cavity on one tooth, the whole bridge of multiple teeth needs to be replaced
- For optimal longevity, these bridges need good regular cleaning. But that can be laborious, taking extra time and requiring special brushes to go under the fake tooth
Also called partial dentures, these are the most common image people see when someone says "bridge". Many picture an uncle who had a lot of chrome or silver hooks showing when he smiled. If you have a partial denture:
- It can frequently become uncomfortable because it moves with chewing
- The pressure can cut the gums
- It can make it easier to get cavities on the teeth that support it.
- If it is not immaculately cared for, more cavities and the spiral of more teeth loss occurs.
- Finally you are faced with the need to have ALL of the remaining teeth removed and a full denture made.
We have had MANY people tell us: "If I knew a denture was like this I would have worked harder to save my teeth!"
The Advantage of Dental Implants
A missing tooth leaves not only the tooth gap, but also a root gap in the jawbone. Being invisible, it may not seem so important, but that is a fallacy. When that vacant space is left too long in the bone, the bone tissue resorbs (shrinks) to fill it up. That will change your jawline and facial shape, giving you an older and less healthy look. Dental implants replace the tooth root.
By replacing the tooth root, an implant takes any overload of forces away from the neighboring teeth and spreads it around evenly. Your teeth will feel and function better, as will your jaw joints.
Benefits of Dental Implants
Dental implants have been used for over 50 years, with a success rate of 95-98 percent in most situations. They deliver proven and predictable results and have the potential to be a truly cost-effective, lifelong replacement compared to bridges, dentures or partials.
You can learn more about dental implants from Dr. Greenhalgh and discuss them as a possible procedure for you. Please call 303-988-9060 or email our cosmetic dentistry office, and we will be happy to schedule a consultation. We serve the Denver and Lakewood, Colorado areas.
How Do I Choose Between Dentures & Bridges or Implants?
Every patient has different circumstances and oral health concerns that will impact which artificial tooth option is the best fit for them. Factors that can influence this include aesthetics, cost, dental health, and more. For example, dental implants often look more natural than dentures or bridges, so patients concerned with aesthetics may be more inclined to choose implants. Dentures and bridges tend to be more cost-effective than implants, so patients with a tight budget may choose one of these options instead.
The health and stability of your existing teeth will also influence which option is best for you. Dental bridges or partial dentures cannot be placed if there are not strong, healthy surrounding teeth to provide stability. For patients with a large number of missing teeth, complete dentures or implants are better options. Your dental provider will work with you to determine whether dentures, bridges, or implants are the best option to meet your needs.
How Long Will My Implants or Dentures & Bridges Last?
Your dental implants, bridges, or dentures should last several years if they are well maintained. To make sure that your dental implants, bridges, or dentures last as long as possible, practicing proper oral hygiene is critical. You must brush your teeth and floss at least twice daily. Using an appropriate mouthwash will also help maintain your implants, bridges, or dentures.
Having regular check-ups with your dentist is also important for preserving the strength, stability, and appearance of your artificial teeth. Your dentist can perform a thorough cleaning and check your dental hardware for any concerns or issues.
Will Dentures or Implants Ruin My Teeth?
Partial dentures and dental bridges can do damage to the surrounding teeth. This is because surrounding teeth are used to provide stability for the bridge or partial denture. Oftentimes, a portion of the healthy support tooth will need to be removed or shaven down in order to do this. Dental implants are the only option that does not do any damage to your existing, healthy teeth. When a dental implant is placed, the surrounding teeth do not need to be altered at all.
Which Looks More Natural: Dentures, Bridges, or Implants?
Your dental hardware will be custom-made to match the shade, size, and shape of your existing teeth. This is to ensure that your artificial teeth appear as natural as possible. With that being said, dental implants tend to look the most natural, as the materials they are composed of closely resemble real tooth enamel.
Which Lasts Longer: Dental Implants or Bridges?
Dental implants are the longest-lasting of all of the artificial tooth options. Dental implants can last up to 25 years, while dental bridges usually last around 5 to 15 years. Dentures have the shortest lifespan, lasting about 5 to 10 years. Whichever dental hardware you receive, maintaining appropriate oral hygiene and having regular visits with your dentist will help preserve them as long as possible.