Dental Implants – A Better Choice Than Dentures?

April 29, 2024
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Why so many patients of Blake Dental are opting to have teeth implants rather than wearing dentures.

There was a time, not so long ago, that losing a tooth or teeth meant one of two things. Either the person affected would simply put up with the gap in their smile, or dentures would be used to replace the missing tooth. Sometimes, a bridge might also be used though fitting these sometimes requires otherwise healthy teeth to be shaped and prepared as adjacent supports. Understandably, this is something that people would generally rather avoid.

Dentures have certainly been around for a very long time and have also improved both aesthetically and from a comfort point of view thanks to advances that have been made. They often have a reputation for instability though and there is one very good reason for this which we will now discuss.

The ‘root’ of the problem

When a tooth is lost, it is not only the visible crown part that is no longer present, but the root of the tooth as well. When dentures are used to replace the missing tooth, it is only the crown part that is replaced. From a visual perspective, this is an acceptable substitution for many people, but it is the lack of a tooth root that sometimes causes instability.

The other issue with replacing the crown only is that when a tooth is lost, the bone in that area of the jaw no longer has to hold the tooth root in place. In turn the body then utilises the minerals elsewhere, causing the jawbone in that area to degrade. This can slightly change the shape of the face (and more so if several teeth are lost), another reason why dentures sometimes move around, causing problems with eating and even speech.

What is a dental implant?

The dental implant itself is actually the replacement root part of a tooth. It is placed into the jawbone and is allowed to fuse with the bone. This process, known as ‘osseointegration’ usually takes around three months for an individual tooth. Once the implant is firmly secured into the bone, an abutment is added and the dental crown then  finally attached to that. This provides a natural looking and very strong replacement tooth that can last for twenty years or more if looked after correctly.

Placing an implant

The simple explanation above may have indicated the fact that this is an invasive procedure, and the idea of having something placed into the jawbone may seem a worrying prospect for the more nervous patients of our Witham dentist.

This is understandable but something that can be overcome by our friendly dental team who will take good care of you throughout the process. With modern local anaesthetics and the experience of our implant team, you should feel no more discomfort than you would expect from any other dental procedures. We also offer sedation for very nervous patients and we can discuss this with you during your consultation with us.

The many benefits of dental implants

Why go through all of the trouble of this procedure, you might be asking yourself. The reality is that many denture wearers find them inconvenient and sometimes uncomfortable too. If your dentures move around, they will cause friction with the gums which can result in soreness and discomfort. Instability means that you might worry about them moving visibly in your mouth when you speak to people. This can even cause some wearers to minimise social situations.

Eating can also be problematic and some patients opt to avoid certain foods that might be more difficult to eat while wearing dentures. Finally, cleaning dentures requires removing them from the mouth for brushing. This is one of the most common reasons for breakages caused by dropping them in the sink during the cleaning process. Finally, they need to be soaked overnight as well and not everyone wants to wake up and the first thing that they see is a set of dentures in a glass of water at their bedside!

If you have dental implants placed; yes, the initial procedure is more invasive and requires a little patience. Once the osseointegration process is complete though and the crown is attached, you essentially have a new tooth. This new tooth will have a replacement root which holds it firmly in place and will look entirely natural. You will be able to eat whatever you want and cleaning your new dental implant is done in the same way that you should clean your natural teeth, with good quality brushing and flossing.

It is important that patients understand that while an implant can’t decay as a natural tooth can, gum disease, and especially periodontitis or peri-implantitis can be a problem and may even cause implant failure. With good brushing, the use of floss and regular six monthly cleaning by our hygienist, this isn’t something you should have to worry about.

If you have a missing tooth, or a number of missing teeth, why not consider having dental implants placed at our Witham dentist? We feel that you will be delighted with the results if you do! To take the first step along this path, please call us to arrange your ‘no obligation’ initial consultation where we can discuss the procedure with you and allow you to ask any questions about the treatment that you might have. You can arrange your appointment with our implant dentist by calling Blake Dental today on 01376 501688.

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