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September 2008 
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People often comment that someone's smile is one of the first things they notice and/or remember about a person. Well, first impressions can be very important, and no one wants to be remembered for a cracked or missing tooth. Maintaining good oral hygiene is the first and most important step to having healthy teeth and a beautiful smile, but many people pursue cosmetic dentistry for aesthetic improvements or to correct more serious dental problems. Today's most popular and effective choices for tooth replacement are dentures and dental implants, but which option provides the most comfortable, natural, and long-lasting solution?

The Importance of Tooth Replacement

As we age, tooth enamel deteriorates and weakens, making it easier for teeth to fall out or become damaged. Whether you've lost a tooth as a result of decay, gum disease, or due to a minor accident, replacing the tooth without delay is highly recommended. In addition to subsequent embarrassment and eating difficulties, missing teeth can cause other teeth to shift out of place and create further complications. In the worst case, missing teeth initiate a process called resorption, where the jawbone deteriorates due to the bone tissue's lack of tooth stimulation. While dentures have been the top tooth replacement option for many years now, dental implant procedures are on the rise because of their permanence and reportedly increased comfort.

Which One Packs the Better Bite?


Dentures are usually the less expensive option, and they also provide a quick fix because they're easy to assemble and can be worn right away. Patients can select full upper or lower dentures to cover prevalent tooth loss and decay, or use partial dentures to replace the loss of one or two teeth.

The downsides to dentures usually include: an unnatural feel, occasional inhibition of patients' chewing and talking, and discomfort due to an improper fit or irritation to the mouth. For many denture wearers, the upkeep alone is enough to make them fed up. Dentures must be cleaned consistently, they often require the use of gum or gel adhesives to keep them in place, they usually need to be replaced several times due to changes in the teeth surfaces and gum tissues, and everyone dreads having a denture come loose or detach during a social situation.

Dental Implants

Dental implants, on the other hand, are permanent dental replacements that are used to replace a single tooth or a full row of teeth. The implant is essentially a titanium post that serves as a new root structure. Once the post is implanted into the jawbone, the bone grows around it and then a crown, bridge, or over-denture is attached.

In the case of dental implants, cost and recovery time are usually patients' main concerns. Surgical costs depend on individual needs and the region the surgery is performed in. Recovery times differ from patient to patient, but 4-6 months is the average. For many people, lengthy recovery times and sizable surgical costs are definitely worth the long-term, natural, and effective results they can only attain with dental implants.

The implant replacements look and feel very natural, and they typically require no more maintenance than is needed with real teeth. Implants also create no difficulties when it comes to eating, as they can comfortably exert the same amount of bite force natural teeth do.

Determining the best option for dental replacements will depend a lot on the patient's individual circumstances. Dentures win points for immediate gratification, but in terms of long-term comfort, function, and appearance, dental implants must be named the winner.

To find out more about dental implants, and to locate a cosmetic dentist offering the surgery in your area, feel free to check out cosmetic dentistry resources at Signature Forum or our sister site, Healthy Smile Forum. Or contact us directly online or by phone at 866-355-7162.

Until Next Time,
The SignatureForum Staff

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