For most dentists, their top priority is ensuring that their patients keep as many of their natural teeth as possible, for as long as is technologically achievable. As a patient though, you need to be prepared for the eventuality that saving one or more of your teeth may one day cease to be an option. When that day comes, knowing more about dental prostheses, including implants and dentures, can help to soften the blow and reduce your anxiety about the decision.
What They Have in Common
Regardless of the nature of the dental prostheses you choose, they all have a few things in common. Knowing what the unavoidable factors are will help you eliminate them as influences on your final decision of how to proceed. Of these, the most noteworthy is the extraction of any teeth which can't be saved through conventional means.
The mass exodus of teeth is both emotionally and physically jarring, but in every case you can choose to have a temporary prosthesis fitted during the healing process. This will help you to cope with the change to your body, and will ensure that you're able to return to normal eating habits faster. Healing from an extraction can take several weeks, after which your permanent dental prosthesis can be fitted and put in place.
The major differences between implants and dentures begin almost as soon as your natural teeth are extracted. This is because some implant specialists prefer to mount your implants in recent extraction sites to improve integration. However, if the bone density in your jaw is not adequate, or your sinus cavities might be damaged during the implant procedure, augmentation procedures may be required at this time instead.
Once your implants have been placed there will be a lengthy healing period before permanent caps can be mounted. In some cases, this can correspond to the time you spend recovering from your extractions, greatly reducing the time spent recuperating. Finally, the biggest difference between implants and dentures is the distribution of bite force, which dentures apply to the gum tissue directly and distribute through the bone secondarily. Implants act as artificial dental roots, distributing bite force through the bone directly, which can help preserve bone mass.
There's nothing easy about choosing how to replace your teeth, so it's critical that you receive the most information possible about all your options. Inquire with your regular dentist first, but seek out professional evaluations from implant specialists, cosmetic dentists, oral surgeons or prosthodontists, so you can form a complete understanding of the procedures involved.
To learn more about dental implants, contact an office like Michels & Gauquie Cosmetic and Family Dentistry.