In a matter of moments, an innocent discussion about missing teeth can evolve into a storm of confusing clinical terms and concepts. There are countless benefits to be gained from replacing missing teeth, but there are also several replacement options. Which solution is best, and what are the differences and similarities?
Dental implants and dentures are perhaps the most popular and the most commonly discussed replacement alternatives. Dentures represent a removable set of teeth that are marginally effective for total tooth replacement. Dental implants represent a superior permanent alternative that can effectively replace just one natural tooth. Implant technology can also be configured to replace multiple teeth.
Dentures are designed to rest on the surface of the gums, and must be removed for cleaning and also at night in order to prevent the accumulation of bacteria on the gum tissue. In time, the effectiveness of the denture can decline as the gums and the jaw bone do not respond well to this sort of inconsistent stimulation. The result is jaw bone atrophy and shrinkage. To resolve this issue, a denture must eventually be relined, repaired, reinforced with denture glue, or discarded in favor of a completely new denture.
Dental implants are structured in such a way that they actually extend beyond the gum tissue to connect with the jaw bone. This creates a foundation of greater stability and permanence. Implants remain in place even as they are cleaned, just like regular teeth, and they do not require nightly removal or maintenance. Compared to dentures, implants are certainly easier to maintain, but there is another advantage that is even more significant. Even a single implant can contribute enough constant stimulation to prevent the atrophy and shrinkage of bone that would otherwise be experienced with tooth loss.
For total tooth replacement, a strong foundation can be achieved through the use of four implants, and a full set of teeth can be securely connected using a restorative technique known as All-on-Four implants. This concept effectively marries the full coverage of conventional dentures with the trusted performance of modern dental implants.
To learn more about your tooth replacement choices, contact or downtown Chicago ORA® Oral Surgery & Implant Studio for a consultation today.