. What are the advantages of dental implants over dentures and bridges?
- A dental implant is pretty much the next best thing to replace a missing tooth – Once dental implants are fully integrated into your jaw, they function just as well as your own natural teeth: you can eat the foods you want and speak with complete confidence. With dentures, eating hard foods such as an apple can be a problem: either the dentures come loose or patients cannot withstand the hard biting forces as this pressure causes pain as the denture pushes into the gum. Irritation and inflammation of the gums is a common problem among denture patients.
- Dental implants protect and keep your jaw bone healthy and as a result keep your face looking younger – Normally, the bone tissue surrounding the root of your tooth is maintained by your body’s natural renewal process. However, if you lose a tooth, you will be left with a hole where your tooth root used to be and the bone around this area will slowly begin to disappear which may change the shape of your jaw. A dental implant placed in this space is the only restorative option that can actually stimulate bone growth and production, preventing loss of valuable bone structure. In some patients where bone loss has already occurred over time, bone augmentation may be required before placing a dental implant. Bone loss is a problem for people who have dentures, and as the shape of the jaw slowly changes, the dentures need to be adjusted or re-made to fit the new shape of the jaw. This bone loss can also make a person look older, as the mouth can sag in this area.
- Dental implants allow you to keep your teeth where they belong – in your mouth. Unlike dentures that should be left out of your mouth for eight hours a day and might slip or fall out, Dental Implants are firmly and permanently attached in your mouth. Think about a picture hanging on a picture hook or flip flops being the equivalent of dentures versus a picture that is bolted to the wall or laced up boots being equivalent to dental implants.
- Improved dental hygiene – Unlike dental bridges and dentures, which require special cleaning instructions and extra attention, dental implants just need regular brushing, flossing and hygiene appointments, just like your natural teeth.
- No need to drill or remove any healthy tooth structure – When replacing missing teeth with dental bridges, the teeth adjacent to the gap need to be prepared and healthy tooth structure is removed to accommodate a crown or bridge abutment to fit over the top of the tooth. In the future, if one of the supporting teeth is damaged, the entire bridge restoration will also be compromised, whereas with an implant, the restoration is independent of any of your other teeth. By replacing lost teeth with dental implants, no support is required of the adjacent teeth, and your natural teeth do not need to be prepared or altered in any way.
- Dental implants just look better – If placed correctly, a dental implant should blend beautifully with your surrounding natural teeth.
- Dental implants are a very predictable way of replacing missing teeth. Dental implants have a track record of reliable, long-term successful outcomes. They are often considered “more predictable” than other treatments to replace missing teeth, compared to dentures or dental bridges.