If you are looking to replace missing teeth, you have more options than you may think. Fixed dental implants, removable dentures, and snap-in dentures can each be a great fit depending on your specific needs. Find out which is best for you!
If you're missing one or more teeth, read below to learn the three main options you have to replace them.
Fixed dental implants
Implants are the most natural-looking and feeling option, and they can last for decades. They're also the best way to preserve your jawbone and facial appearance.
Advances in digital impressions and construction have made fixed implants extremely predictable and long-lasting. Photogrammetry is a digital impression technique in which a glorified video camera is able to capture all of the implant positions at once. Decades ago, when digital impressions were first introduced, the scanner would only scan one implant position at a time. As the scanner jumped from one area of the mouth to the next, errors were introduced. Since these errors have now been eliminated, the fixed implant zirconia restorations are now constructed with an extremely passive and accurate fit. There is no tension on the parts.
Patients also have to be careful to make sure they do not leave any unhealthy teeth in the mouth, as periodontal disease can spread from ailing teeth to their new implants.
Dentures are the most affordable option, but they're also the least comfortable and durable. They can also put pressure on your gums and jawbone, leading to atrophy – the deterioration of the underlying jawbone.
A removable prosthesis that replaces one or all of your teeth may have different names, including a flipper, a partial denture, or a complete denture.
These types of restorations or prostheses are typically made of acrylic that wear down over time. They also need to be clipped or clasped onto your remaining teeth or gums. In order for them to feel remotely comfortable, you may also need to have a big enough jaw so that the shape of the jaw helps to retain them. This puts a lot of pressure on your gums and jawbone, which can be quite uncomfortable.
While a removable denture may be cheaper in the short run, in the long run, they require frequent replacements about every five years. Moreover, because there are no teeth or implants in the jawbone, the jawbone decays. When this occurs, the removable prosthesis no longer fits and needs to be "relined" or completely replaced.
Transitioning from natural teeth to a removable prosthesis is a big change, and over 50% of people never truly adjust.
Snap-in dentures are a hybrid of implants and dentures. They're more affordable than implants, but they require more maintenance and must be removed at night.
The best option for you depends on your individual needs and budget. Talk to your dentist about the pros and cons of each option to find the best solution for you.
Use our tool below to find a dental implant expert near you:
Dr. John J. Mady is an implant dentist in Maywood, NJ, with over a decade of experience placing and restoring dental implants. He is a New York University College of Dentistry graduate, a Fellow of the American Academy of General Dentistry, and an Associate Fellow of the American Academy of Implant Dentistry. Dr. Mady is passionate about implant dentistry because it can help improve form and function, leading to a healthy smile that can last a lifetime.