The first titanium dental implant was installed in 1965, and the science of implantology has evolved greatly in the decades since. Prior to that breakthrough, dentures were the only way to replace a full arch of teeth. Dentures were and remain a relatively fast and affordable solution. Dental implants, however, are a much more effective and longer-lasting alternative.
The benefits associated with dental implants include:
- Natural aesthetic—Dental implant crowns look and feel like an actual tooth. In fact, your dentist will model your dental implant crown based on your particular mouth and remaining teeth.
- Durability—Dental implants are the longest-lasting tooth replacement option available. Dentures must be replaced as often as every seven years. Dental implants can last a lifetime with proper care, and the dental implant crown can last 15 years or even longer.
- Oral hygiene and maintenance—A dental implant crown is cared for just as you would a natural tooth. Denture upkeep can be a hassle in comparison. You have to soak them overnight, rinse them before inserting them in the mouth, and often use a bonding agent to hold them in place.
- Preserve natural tooth health—Partial dentures, dental bridges, and so forth require your natural teeth for support and thus weaken them over time. Dental implants are supported by your jaw just as natural teeth are and thus cause no damage to the nearby teeth and gums.
- Bone loss prevention—A dental implant stimulates your jaw in the same manner a natural tooth does. These micromovements help to maintain the jaw structure. Denture wearers, on the other hand, will often experience atrophy of the jawbone over the years.
The Pros and Cons of Traditional Dentures
Dentures are made from many different materials, including ceramic and acrylic, and are designed to rest atop the gums. Compared to dental implants, dentures have a lower upfront cost. Nevertheless, dentures generally cost more over the years due to the upkeep and replacement required.
Gradual deterioration of the jawbone is a natural consequence of tooth loss. Dentures do not remedy this and will not fit well over time due to these structural changes. This change in fit over time is by far the most common complaint among denture wearers, and it typically requires a denture wearer to have their dentures relined about every two years until the dentist recommends replacement.
The advent of the modern dental implant transformed the way dentists replace missing teeth. The implants mimic a natural tooth root and thus serve as ideal denture anchors. As the science has evolved, many denture wearers have opted to replace their dentures with an implant-retained restoration.
If you opt for this procedure, your implant specialist will surgically insert titanium posts into your jawbone. The number of posts required depends on how many teeth you are missing as well as the unique characteristics of your mouth. Some patients require just two implants per arch, while others need four or even six. Once the implants have healed, a denture can be connected. Unlike a dental implant crown, the denture can be removed for easier cleaning, but unlike a traditional denture, the implant-retained denture will never shift out of place or lose its fit over time.
Permanent Full-Arch Restoration
Some patients prefer being able to remove the prosthesis. Other patients prefer a permanent solution, which is also possible with dental implants. Most patients require four to six dental implants in order to support a full arch. Once that surgery has healed, your dentist can attach a restoration, which can be retained with screws or dental cement. The result is a beautiful, natural, and fixed smile.
Are You a Candidate for Dental Implants?
You generally need to be in good oral health to have dental implants installed. If you have oral health issues, such as gum disease, your dentist may focus on fixing those problems before moving on to the implants. It is also possible that existing medical conditions make you unsuitable. If such a condition is temporary, you may have to wait for it to run its course before having your implants installed.
It is also necessary that you have adequate jawbone density in order to properly support the implants. If you do not, a bone graft or sinus lift may be an option to build the support up to the necessary levels. However, in some cases, the bone loss eliminates a patient as an implant candidate.
Replace Your Missing Teeth
Missing teeth are a dental issue that can affect your overall health, both physically and mentally. Modern dental implants are the most sophisticated and longest-lasting way to overcome this problem. Jeffrey D. Clark, DDS, is among the leading dentists in Scottsdale, and he partners with Dr. Joe Mehranfar to deliver dental implants and restorations of the highest caliber. Call Scottsdale Cosmetic Dentistry Excellence at 480 585 1853 to schedule your dental implant consultation.