Many patients try and fail with dentures and/or bridges before finally realizing that dental implants are the most lasting tooth replacement option. Unlike dentures and bridges, implants can last a lifetime, they support surrounding facial structures, they don’t decay, and they look, feel, and act like your natural teeth. Below are in depth explanations of each type of tooth replacement, what you can expect from them, and the risks involved.
Removable dentures (partial or complete) are false replacement teeth attached to gum-colored bases that are designed by your dentist. Dentures are either attached with devices called precision attachments or with an adhesive. Over time, dentures need to be refitted as the mouth goes through changes, such as the bone and gum ridges receding or shrinking. Poorly fitting dentures can cause sores as they rub on the gum, causing pain and discomfort, so it is imperative to change them as needed. Over time, patients with partial dentures will eventually need complete dentures, which means additional costs and appointments with their general dentist. Even if your denture fits properly, there are several things you should expect:
- Eating- Foods that are extremely sticky or hard should be avoided
- Speaking- You may have some difficulty pronouncing certain words. With time, you will get used to the denture and your speech will improve
- Movement/slipping of dentures- This is common with a lot of movement of the mouth
- Soreness- This is to be expected since the denture naturally rubs against your gums. Remember: The soreness will increase if you continue to wear an ill fitting denture!
- Cleaning- You should use denture cleaner and a soft toothbrush to get any food off of your denture. Using regular toothpaste should be avoided, as it is too harsh and can damage your denture
- Inserting/Removal of Dentures- This will be difficult at first, but with time you will get used to inserting and removing your dentures with more ease
- Use- Dentures only allow you to use 30% of your teeth, so you are still extremely limited in function
Fixed bridges are non-removable prostheses attached to remaining natural teeth. As the name implies, the false tooth or teeth bridge the gap between your natural teeth. This is done by filing the natural teeth lying on either side of the false ones. While this tooth replacement option is more natural looking than dentures, fixed bridges increase the risk of decay, periodontal disease, and plaque accumulation on the filed teeth.
Dental Implants and Bar Attachment Denture
Edentulous or soon-to-be edentulous patients may be deterred from getting dental implants because of the cost of placing an implant for every missing tooth. Bar Attachment Denture uses 4 implants per jaw to support a customized set of teeth. Not only is this less costly, but it is also less time-consuming, since patients can receive all of the implants and a fixed, full-arch prosthesis on the day of their surgery.