Dentures, Bridges, and Implants: Comparing False Teeth Options

False teeth options

Several tooth replacement options are available in modern dental reconstruction, each with its requirements for eligibility and different characteristics. 

Fortunately, dental reconstruction offers several solutions to replace missing teeth: dentures, bridges, and implants. A good way to decide which one is best for you is to comparatively review each one, contrasting factors like the advantages and disadvantages, total cost, materials, and treatment times.

In this blog, we have provided a brief comparison of false teeth options that could equip you with the basic information you need for your future consultation with a dentist trained in dental reconstructive techniques.

Dentures

These removable prosthetic devices that are designed for the sole purpose of replacing missing teeth and the surrounding tissues. Constructed using acrylic resin, they are sometimes combined with metal attachments and are handcrafted with a meticulous hand to fit the patient’s mouth. Two main types of prosthetic dentures are provided in clinics today: complete and partial dentures. The primary use case of complete dentures is when the total number of teeth is missing, while partial dentures are used only when a few natural teeth remain.

The ‘complete dentures’ will rest directly on a patient’s gums and rely on the pressures of suction and the mouth’s structure to garner stability. They can be further classified into conventional and immediate dentures. Conventional dentures are only made after the tooth removal process has ended and the gum tissue has completely healed, which is a process that can even take several months. Immediate dentures are pre-made in advance and can be positioned inside the mouth directly after tooth removal, providing an expedited solution but often requiring mildly irksome adjustments in the future.

Partial dentures, also known as partial dentures that can be removed, consist of replacement teeth attached to a plastic base that mimics the color of the gum, connected by a metal-based framework holding the denture in the mouth. They prevent other teeth from changing position and provide a reconstructive answer for patients not candidates for dental implants or bridges.

Benefits and Considerations

One can glean many benefits from dentures, including affordability (although not a drastic difference compared to the alternatives) and ease of adjustment and cleaning. The kind of patients who would benefit are those who have lost multiple teeth or have significant bone loss. However, as with most dated technologies, there are certain drawbacks. Bulky and uncomfortable, they may even slip or make clicking noises while eating or speaking. Also, they require regular maintenance and adjustments to ensure a comfortable and easy fit, as the shape of the mouth changes over time, so you’re constantly visiting the dentist.

Bridges

These are fixed prosthetic devices called ‘bridges’ as they connect the gap created by one or more missing teeth. Unlike the dentures we formerly talked about, bridges are cemented onto implants or teeth that are already there and can only be removed by the trained hand of the dentist. Several dental bridges exist, including traditional, cantilever, Maryland, and implant-supported bridges.

The most commonly seen type is the traditional bridge, characterized by using one or more artificial teeth called ‘pontics’ placed using the force of dental crowns cemented onto the adjacent teeth. Cantilever bridges, named after the structural element that juts out, extended horizontally with one end lacking any support, are used when adjacent teeth are on one side of the missing individual tooth or teeth. Maryland bridges, sometimes called resin-bonded bridges, also use metal-based or high-quality porcelain frameworks bonded to the backs of adjacent teeth. As the name implies, implant-supported bridges are strongly anchored to dental implants inside the jawbone rather than natural teeth.

Benefits and Considerations

The prize feature of dental bridges is that they are very stable and look almost the same as natural permanent teeth. They can also help restore the ability to chew and speak that could have been lost due to compromised teeth, maintain the contours of the face, and prevent the remaining teeth from morphing out of their proportions, a common occurrence. Bridges generally require a shorter treatment time than implants as they don’t usually require osseointegration (except for implant bridges) and can be more affordable.

However, talking about the limitations of bridges, the preparation process that the adjacent teeth must go through for crowns has a chance to compromise their integrity, increasing the risk of decay and damage. Bridges also require you to maintain excellent and consistent oral hygiene so that gum disease and decay of the supporting teeth can be prevented. Also, they may need to be replaced every 5-15 years, a case-by-case possibility that depends on the type and the patient’s oral care routine.

Dental Implants

Dental implants are scientifically proven to be the absolute gold standard for tooth replacement. They can offer you unparalleled durability, functionality, and natural appearance. Many well-cited studies have proven this time after time, like this one that reports a 95% success rate over 10 years.

An implant is a metal post of titanium surgically placed into the jawbone using specialized drills, acting as an artificial tooth root. Once the implant has formed a strong connection with the bone (a process known as osseointegration where the prosthesis structurally fuses with the bone), a crown, bridge, or denture (structural components of dental implants) can be attached.

Benefits and Considerations

Dental implants can astonishingly mimic the exact appearance of natural teeth, and the difference is almost invisible, except upon closer examination. They help rejuvenate the density of bone because of the constant stimulation that is now provided to the tooth socket and aid in preventing bone loss that typically follows problems like missing teeth. Also, implants don’t usually require the alteration of adjacent teeth, as we saw with bridges, and they are also not very susceptible to decay.

Even so, implants are not quite without their own set of challenges. The procedure requires just the right amount of good bone density and healthy gums, and the surgical process carries some minor inherent risks. Furthermore, the treatment can be costly on your wallet and may take several months due to the time needed for osseointegration.

Another thing to consider is that patient discipline is also a sizable determining factor as to the future success of the implant. Patients need to follow a meticulous, consistent level of oral hygiene interleaved with regular visits to the dentist’s office to ensure they last for a long time. Despite this, many patients who have worn dental implants find that the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks, and they are currently the best option available in clinics. 

Conclusion

This blog discussed the many types of false teeth options, namely dentures, bridges, and implants. We discussed their various specifications regarding cost, treatment times, eligibility, and long-term success rates. 

If you want more information on dental restoration techniques, contact DundasEast Dental in Toronto, Ontario. Our highly skilled staff is well-experienced in false teeth treatments and can help you with an individualized assessment that is handcrafted to your needs. Schedule a consultation today!

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