Aging can affect your overall health. There is no turning back once you start to hit the age when you are no longer considered young. Most seniors are experiencing different problems that are related to the deterioration of their health. Oral health is one aspect that is not free from any effect of aging.
According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, seventy percent of those 65 and older have already experienced tooth loss. It is a common part of aging. Seniors over age 65 have an average of 18.90 remaining teeth.
Just as your health, body, and mind decline as you get older, so do your teeth and gums. However, there is no need to worry because there are different options you can take when you experience tooth loss due to getting older. You can choose from dentures or dental implants.
What are Dentures?
When you talk about dentures, you refer to the removable appliances that are used to replace missing teeth. These are usually composed of a pink gum that is made from an acrylic base, which serves as a support for the denture teeth.
For other dentures, they have a lightweight metal framework. This is installed to ensure the strength of the whole thing. You can choose between complete or partial dentures.
What are Dental Implants?
With dental implants, you can expect a titanium post to be inserted into the jawbone. This permanent solution in replacing missing teeth replicates the natural tooth. They may last for a lifetime, and when you have them, they are similar to your natural teeth.
Dentures Vs Implants - Pros & Cons
Here are several things to consider when you weigh the differences between dentures and implants.
- Dentures are less expensive than dental implants
One of the most common reasons people choose dentures is that are less expensive than dental implants. If you are looking at your budget as one of your considerations, you can consider dentures. However, dentures do not last as long as implants and can be damaged more easily. Over time, an implant could become more affordable.
- Maintaining a Natural Appearance
Today's dentures look and feel similar to natural teeth and support your cheeks and lips, allowing you to chew and speak normally. Dentures can help maintain your facial structure. Although denture technology has improved dramatically over the years, many people still say dentures do not look or feel as natural as implants.
The main purpose of a denture is to make sure that the face structure is maintained. However, dentures are considered a temporary solution for teeth loss.
Implants are a permanent solution for teeth loss, and they look and feel like natural teeth.
Just like regular teeth, you can chew normally with dentures. They are sturdy, and most people do not have an issue when chewing most foods. However, certain foods and drinks may be unsuitable for dentures. Speak with your dentist about your specific situation.
With implants, you can eat and chew normally without concern.
- Feeling Comfortable in Your Mouth
Most people will say that dental implants will feel more like your natural teeth and therefore feel comfortable in your mouth. However, today's dentures use high-quality materials and are custom-fitted just for you. Dentures are more comfortable today than they were decades ago. The problem for some people is dentures can often take time to get used to when you start wearing them. Many people report that they feel uncomfortable at the beginning, especially for the first week or so.
Implants are very comfortable in your mouth. The titanium post holds everything together. You can be sure that dental implants are secure and stable. You can chew, smile, laugh out loud and talk without worrying that it may fall out of your mouth. It is permanently there, and you will undoubtedly be confident with an implant.
- Dentures Can Be Inconvenient
Those who wear dentures for the first time will often experience some discomfort and inconvenience. You may have a hard time talking, and you may also observe an increase in your saliva production.
Plus, it is recommended to clean your dentures at least once a day. Some people find this a bigger chore than just brushing their teeth.
Since implants are permanently attached to your jawbone, you care for them like regular teeth. Implants are brushed like natural teeth, ideally at least twice a day.
- Unhealthy or Receded Gums Can Pose Problems with Implants
One of the challenges with dental implants is that those with unhealthy gums may not support the use of implants. Dental implants require healthy bones and gums to anchor to your jaw correctly for the titanium post to be installed successfully. In some cases, a dentist may recommend bone and tissue grafts in order for you to qualify for an implant.
Since dentures are not permanently attached to your gums, this would not be a concern.
Dentures are less expensive than dental implants. Dentures give you the freedom to remove them for any reason. Implants are more like natural teeth and are permanent; however, they are more expensive.
Depending on your health and budget, your dentist can review your options to find the best one for you.
Don’t Ignore Oral Health
Remember, good dental health is not something to ignore. Studies have found that those with poor oral hygiene or gum disease can be at higher risk of developing Alzheimer's than those with healthy teeth.
Once you have problems with your teeth, be proactive with your oral health. The longer you wait, the fewer options you may have. Plus, since your dental health impacts your overall health, you want to address problems before they cannot be reversed.
About the Author
Mike Khorev earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery Degree, as well as a Master of Science, from the University of Toronto. He provides exceptional patient care by investing time in getting to know his patients, easing their concerns, and providing practical ways for improving their dental health.
Mike Khorev, DDS
Contributor since August 16th, 2021
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