Adult tooth loss is common. In fact, an estimated 178 million Americans are missing at least one tooth, and 30 percent of adults between 65-74 years old have lost all of their natural teeth. If you have missing teeth or are facing tooth loss soon, then you have two common choices for replacement: dentures or dental implants.

While both dentures and implants can effectively restore your smile, it is important to do your research before deciding which treatment is right for you. Talking to your dentist is the best way to find out which solution would best serve your tooth replacement needs and goals. In the meantime, here’s a look at some benefits of implants and dentures, and why you may prefer one treatment over the other for tooth loss.

What are dentures?
Dentures have come a long way over the years thanks to advancements in dental technology. Today’s dentures are crafted from high-quality materials that are uniquely fitted for each patient’s mouth. This ensures that the appliance doesn’t slip or cause difficulty with speech. Dentures are designed to replicate the function of real teeth and look more natural.

Many patients prefer dentures because they are a simple, painless and cost-effective way to replace complete arches of teeth compared to other cosmetic and restorative dentistry options. Dentures are also an excellent option when unhealthy jaws or gums cannot support dental implants.

As with anything, there are some drawbacks to dentures. Dentures do require some maintenance, such as adhesives and special cleaning solutions. Because they are not permanent, dentures also need to be removed at night to relieve pressure on the gums and keep the gums healthy.

What are implants?
A dental implant is a medical-grade titanium screw. It is inserted into the jawbone to replicate a natural tooth root. Over a course of three to six months, the bone gradually fills allowing the implant to integrate. Once this process is complete, your dentist will place a crown or bridge on top of the implant.

Dental implants are an ideal treatment for tooth loss when patients desire a permanent solution that looks and feels like their natural teeth. Unlike dentures, dental implants do not require removal, special cleaning or the use of adhesives. Durable implants can last a lifetime with proper care.

Like dentures, there are unique disadvantages to dental implants. For instance, the process for receiving implants is more time intensive, as patients must undergo minor oral surgery to place the implant within an adequate area of jawbone. While very reliable, an implant procedure is also more expensive than other teeth replacement options.

Don’t Wait to Replace Missing Teeth
Whether you are missing a few teeth or all of your teeth, it is time to consider a tooth replacement option, such as dentures or implants. It’s important to act quickly as permanent tooth loss leads to deterioration of surrounding bone, drifting of adjacent teeth and problems with biting and chewing. The sooner you seek treatment, the quicker you can restore healthy teeth and smile with confidence again. Talk to your dentist to learn more about which option is right for you.

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