For centuries, dentures have been a mainstay of health and comfort for people with different oral conditions. It’s a simple concept, which is why it’s been effective for so many years. Even today, dentures are still a viable and recommended solution for oral treatments that require the extraction of many—or even all—teeth. Since the 1970s, however, dentures have been accompanied by a technique that is both an alternative and a complement, and that is the dental implant. But what’s the difference between the two?
Dentures, or “false teeth,” recreate some or all of the teeth in the mouth that need to be replaced for oral health reasons, usually gum disease, tooth decay or injury. Dentures vary widely in cost and materials, but the basic principle is that a customized set of artificial teeth is worn during the day and usually removed at night for mechanical or chemical cleaning. Yes, even artificial teeth can develop plaque and tartar.
Partial dentures can be either permanently fixed, or removable depending on the cost and method used. They rely on the presence of other teeth as well as other factors like surface tension and the clasp itself to remain in the desired position. Complete dentures largely rely on suction generated by placement on the gums to stay in position, a factor which can be affected by a change in the gum structure over time.
Dental implants are attachments, usually made of titanium, that are surgically affixed to the jaw, allowing bone to grow over them as a permanent fixture. They can be used as a permanent solution to replace individual teeth, or, in the case of dentures, used as new “anchor points” to attach and stabilize dentures. It is often a “mini-dental implant”, attached at strategic points in the mouth, that reinforces the attachment of the denture in a way suction alone cannot.
In such cases, dentures can still be removed for nightly cleaning and maintenance. The added benefit of more secure attachment to mouth does requires more dental surgery, but often results in a better, longer lasting fit for comfort and convenience.
As always, if you think you’d like to see into how dental implants can enhance your dentures, you should seek a consultation. If you’re in the Long Island area, Island Dental Associates will be happy to address your questions and needs.
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