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The loss of one’s adult teeth can be sometimes embarrassing and uncomfortable to deal with. Having missing teeth can lead to problems with eating, speaking, drinking and confidence levels. The most popular artificial tooth replacement options are dental implants, dentures and bridges. Though there are a few different options out there for tooth replacement, it is important to discuss which procedure is best for you.

Dental implants are natural looking and have recently become a very popular procedure to help recover the smiles of patients with missing teeth. This procedure has been known to have a long recovery but some of the best results. Considered a cosmetic procedure, dental implants are an option that a patient can choose in order to obtain a beautiful smile that functions just as a normal set of adult teeth would.  The process generally takes one consultation visit followed by an actual procedural visit to install your new set of implant tooth anchors.  After a ‘healing period’, the implant procedure is finalized.

Missing Teeth: Dental Implants | Before & After

The Procedure

The dental implantation procedure takes place in a few steps. First, an x-ray and oral exam need to be completed by a dentist or oral surgeon. It is at this time that some patients find that they are not a valid candidate for this procedure because they have jawbone damage that inhibits the jaw from being able to support the implants. If you are approved for the procedure, a date will be set.

On the day of the first surgery you will be sedated and an implant, or multiple implants if you have multiple missing teeth, will be placed at the site of the missing tooth and rooted into the jawbone.

Occasionally, one implant can act as an anchor for many implants as a result of the implant being attached to the jawbone. Implants are usually made of titanium and act as a root. After this procedure, the patient must allow the implants to heal for around 4 months. During these four months the titanium root implant will fuse with the jawbone, creating a strong enough base for the artificial teeth to be attached. After the healing process is over, a minor surgery will be performed to expose the top of the titanium root implant. After the implant is exposed, a post is attached.

Next, an oral health professional will make an impression of the mouth and the implanting teeth are attached. The teeth that are connected to the posts of the anchor are natural looking and will be as strong as real teeth. Foods that cannot be typically eaten by other prosthetic teeth wearers, such as apples, are again available as the patient begins regaining bite strength and becomes more comfortable with chewing.

These implants can then be treated as if they are real teeth, and require a twice daily brushing and flossing as regular teeth do. These implants can last 15-20 years, or even a lifetime if they are maintained with care.

Although the dental implant procedure is a bit more costly, in the long run it pays itself off with strength, endurance, visual appeasement, and reduced risk of needing another implant procedure.

Missing Teeth: Dental Implants | Before & After
Before
Missing Teeth: Dental Implants | Before & After
After

How Do Dental Implants Compare To Dentures

Dentures, unlike dental implants, are removable. As a result, they require a significantly larger amount of care than dental implants. Dangers of losing the dentures and breaking or wearing them down are increased because of their need to be physically removed from your mouth from time to time.  Dentures are secured by a paste, which can become a burden to the patient who has to apply it. Since paste is not as reliable as surgical implants, dentures can slip around in the mouth, which is not only frustrating for the one wearing the dentures but can cause problems for them. This paste also needs to be cleaned off every evening by removing the dentures entirely, thus resulting in longer time spent worrying about your oral health and care.

Slipping dentures can cause issues with eating, drinking or speaking. Dentures have also been known to cause gum irritation and sores in the mouth, due to slipping and removal. Some have even reported that while wearing dentures during eating, tasting their food can be difficult. Though recent technologies have made dentures more comfortable for the wearer, they have not been said to be more comfortable and inconspicuous as dental implants.

Dentures are a cheaper option when it comes to artificial tooth replacement, because no surgeries are usually required. Dentures can also come in full or partial sets, depending on the patients need. However, even though they are less expensive than dental implant surgery, dentures typically need replacement every 5 years or so, which makes them a less cost effective option. It should also be noted that often times dealing with dental insurance policies can be an additional headache to the overall concern.

How Do Dental Implants Compare To Bridges

A fixed dental bridge is a non-removable prosthetic tooth that is attached to the remaining teeth around it. The name “bridge” comes from the artificial tooth bridging the gap between the remaining teeth. Like dental implants, they are non-removable, but they are still at risk of certain problems that dental implants are not. Bridge’s used to be the best option for those who have missing teeth, however recent advancements in dental implant strength have made bridges slightly less reliable. Recently it has become apparent that bridge’s can cause several issues for the surrounding teeth that they are attached to. In order for the bridge to be applied, the surrounding teeth must be filed, or they will not accept the appliance.

Bridges have been known to cause unusual plaque buildup, decay, periodontal disease, and a possible need for a root canal in the future. Meanwhile, dental implants have not been known to show any of these symptoms as time passes. Although a cheaper option than dental implants, bridges sometimes need replacements after a few years of wear-and-tear.  As a result, bridges have proven to be just as costly, if not more than dental implants.

Dental Implants appear to be the best option for those who are missing teeth, but not everyone is a candidate for them. If it so happens that you are not, the other methods for tooth replacement are satisfactory and can be lived with comfortably when accompanied by a bit of persistence and responsibility.

If you have any questions regarding dental implants or any other artificial tooth replacement technique, contact Greenspoint Dental today! Greenspoint Dental is located in Houston, Texas and offers many different dental procedures, such as dental implantation surgery. The office can be reached at 281-823-9987 or appointments can be made through this website.