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Learn more about the importance of periodontal dentistry and dental implants.

Dentures, Dental Implants, or Implant-Retained Dentures?

Complications can arise that affect your physical, mental, and emotional health when you’ve lost your natural teeth. Many folks will sometimes be reluctant to share a smile or to laugh freely. In addition, when you lose your natural teeth, your remaining teeth can shift and cause discomfort in your mouth and jaw. This can result in headaches or muscular issues. Options for artificial teeth include dentures, dental implants, and implant-retained dentures. Here is what you need to know before deciding which option might be best for you.

Dentures are removable prosthetic teeth, and they are available in complete or partial sets. They are most popular with people who are missing groups of teeth. Dentures can be adjusted to fit your mouth regardless of the amount of bone you have. Advances in technology have made dentures look more natural than ever before. Dentures are typically cheaper than dental implants and can be removed freely throughout the day for any reason. They are often an ideal choice for those with unhealthy or weak jaws.

Dentures are made by first taking impressions of the upper or lower gums, or both when dentures are required to replace all teeth. Before making dentures, the dentist or specialist also examines the bite and alignment of the upper and lower jaws to ensure denture length for optimal chewing and speech. Temporary dentures are then made in the lab and sent to the dentist. After the dentures are placed in your mouth and necessary adjustments such as tooth alignment and length are made, the final dentures are made.

However, dentures are not for everyone. If the dentures are not fixed with denture adhesive, they may shift when eating or talking. Also, they need to be cleaned regularly and replaced if they are heavily worn. Dentures that do not fit properly can lead to infections and cavities.

Dental Implants
Dental implants are permanent artificial teeth and have become a popular alternative to dentures in recent years. They are more expensive than dentures, but they are more durable and cost-effective over time. Implants are easier to maintain than dentures, meaning fewer visits to the dentist.

With the dental implant, you can talk and laugh in social situations without worrying about the implant falling out. They are also more comfortable than dentures and look natural. If you want to feel like you've never lost a tooth, dental implants are for you. Two types of dental implants are endosteal (in the bone) and subperiosteal (on the bone).

Endosteal dental implants are the most common type of implant. Screws, cylinders, or blades are surgically placed into the jawbone to secure implants.  Each implant holds one or more prosthetic teeth. Patients who are now wearing bridges or removable dentures can explore the option of this type of implant.

Subperiosteal dental implants are placed over the jaw with metal framework posts protruding beyond the gums to hold the implant in place. Subperiosteal implants are typically used in patients who cannot support conventional dentures and do not have the sufficient bone height to hold an endosteal implant.

Implant-retained Dentures
Implant-retained dentures are a middle ground between traditional and dental implants, allowing wearers to experience the best features of both forms of treatment. Placing a few dental implants allows the denture to "snap into place" without the need for sticky adhesives. Implant-retained dentures are held in place by a series of dental implants. It holds well and is functionally stable but can be easily removed for cleaning.

An advantage is that implant-retained dentures are more reliable and perform better than traditional dentures, so you can eat your favorite foods without worrying about losing teeth. Multiple firm fixation points ensure that implant-retained dentures stay in place while eating. You can also have confidence in your smile. Implant-retained dentures look and feel realistic. Implant-retained dentures help maintain function and appearance by maintaining the supporting structures of the oral cavity. Implant-retained dentures offer a more hygienic denture solution for many patients.

Making Your Final Decision
Choosing between dentures and implants should be done carefully in consultation with your dental specialist. Implants are more expensive than dentures but can provide a lifespan of 20 years or more compared to dentures that require occasional adjustments and replacements over the years. Implant-retained dentures are more secure than dentures and can be removed daily. You should be able to carefully evaluate all options for replacing missing teeth, consider your priorities and desired denture goals, and make the final decision with confidence.

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