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What patients are concerned about can generally be classified among the following things:
I have come up with a handy table below explaining how implants matches up with its alternatives.
For those who have lost teeth in the visible, front part of the mouth, the benefit is obvious – you basically get a new man made tooth! And you can finally show off your smile! Implants usually have excellent aesthetics, and it can usually be made to resemble your other teeth in both shape and colour.
Dentures have poorer aesthetics compared to implants. This is because denture teeth are made of plastic and come in fabricated and pre-manufactured shapes, sizes, and colour.
An implant, on the the other hand, is like having your own personalised tooth!
They are made from ceramic, and are also hand-crafted and made from scratch in a dental laboratory. The shape and size will be customized so it matches your neighbouring teeth. While nothing can mimic natural teeth 100%, comes pretty damn close.
Comparable. Bridges are also made of ceramic and can be shaped to closely resemble a tooth Bridges can also achieve excellent aesthetics if indicated correctly. Some nuances may lead to preference of bridges over implants and vice versa, but these are usually small aesthetic details that a cosmetic dentist would iron out, if necessary.
VS doing nothing
You will finally be able to eat properly! Implants, when placed correctly, are able to bear the functioning load of normal teeth. This means that not only does it look good, you can actually use it as well! I know many people who have lost their molars and have been struggling to enjoy their food since then. After having implants, they report that they can finally chew and eat better.
Dentures are much less stable compared to implants. You cannot apply a large force and load without them rocking or causing pain to the underlying tissues and gums.
This means no chewing meat or any harder substances. For those who enjoy nuts, chewing on soft bones etc, dentures suck. Sticky foods like toffee, chocolate and sweets also tend to destabilise the denture.
Implants, on the other hand, are fixed rigidly to bone and are intended to be able to handle the same force as normal teeth. Most patients report that they are able to eat normally after placing implants.
Comparable. If abutment teeth are stable
Avoid drifting teeth
Losing teeth creates gaps.
Over time, adjacent teeth may shift and move, causing further problems in chewing. Sometimes, rotated teeth are difficult to clean, predisposing the patient to bad oral hygiene and gum problems. By placing implants, we can prevent the drifting and movement of teeth.
One of the big disadvantages of dentures are the hassle of having to remove it every day.
They have to be taken out, cleaned, and stored at the end of the day. We discourage patients from wearing it to sleep because it traps dirt easily. Implants are fixed and acts as a normal tooth. Other than maintaining it (brushing and flossing) like you would your other teeth, there is no extra maintenance work needed.
Dentures are usually bigger and bulkier and have to be of a certain thickness in order for it to be stable. If not, it will fracture easily. This thickness causes problems for many. Most patients find dentures foreign and uncomfortable. It also causes problems with speech. Over time, patients eventually get used to it. Still, nothing beats having a normal tooth.
As you know hyperlink here, doing a bridge involves shaving down the adjacent teeth so they can act as anchors for the bridge. Cutting away tooth structure may cause problems in future like tooth sensitivity. As dentists, we try not to remove pristine tooth structure as much as possible. Doing an implant achieves this because we do not need to touch the neighbouring teeth at all! You don’t have to care about the anchoring teeth!
For a bridge to work, the health of the adjacent teeth is important. If the adjacent teeth are shaky and mobile, a bridge cannot be done as it will not be stable. On the other hand, an implant does not depend on the stability of its neighbouring tooth.
Also, what if you are like this patient? The patient has lost his back teeth. As we know, bridges require two anchoring teeth on each side to work.
(Sidenote, there are other types of bridges which only require one anchoring tooth. These are called cantilever bridges, maryland bridges etc. We usually do not recommend using them for posterior teeth as they are not stable)
With only one anchoring teeth, bridges cannot be made. Hence, implants are the only fixed solution for this case. Bridges are difficult to clean. Because they are made of 3 crowns splinted together, you cannot floss through them like normal teeth. You will have to buy a special type of floss called a superfloss, or a floss threader. Implants do away with this hassle as you can treat it like a regular tooth. Just brush and floss as per normal!
That rounds up this post! Now you know why implants are so popular. In carefully planned and managed cases, implants can be a big success.
With advantages also comes its downsides, unfortunately. Click here to find out why implants may NOT be for you.