Missing teeth can be uncomfortable, both physically and emotionally. Aside from the difficulty chewing, missing teeth can cause confidence issues, which takes the enjoyment out of our laughter and smiling. If you are missing teeth, you should know that it is not uncommon at all. An estimated 120 million people in the U.S. are missing at least one of their original adult teeth. Luckily, specialty dental care advances have made replacing teeth less expensive, more comfortable, and longer-lasting over the last few decades.
Many people suffering from the discomfort and embarrassment of missing teeth have renewed confidence with dental implants. While the process takes longer than traditional dentures, most find the results more natural, more comfortable, and longer-lasting.
Dental implants, approved by the FDA, and fitted by a certified dental specialist, can be used when patients have one, several, or all of their natural teeth missing. The entire process from start to finish takes approximately three to six months. After an initial consultation with your dentist, you may decide to move forward in replacing your missing tooth or teeth with dental implants.
From there, you will schedule an appointment for the first step in the implant process. Although considered surgery, the implantation of the titanium post is a relatively simple procedure. A small hole drilled into the bone beneath the gap in your teeth allows for a titanium anchor’s insertion. Afterward, your gum covers the anchor, and the healing process begins.
During the three to six months of healing, osseointegration occurs. That’s just a fancy way of saying that the post fuses to your jaw bone, creating a strong bond. This bond will allow for a secure and comfortable fit for your new porcelain crown. Your second visit will entail another minimally invasive surgery when the fully integrated post is uncovered and fit with a connector. This connector will serve as a permanent base for the porcelain crown, which, in most cases, will last for twenty or more years.
For various reasons, patients choose to go a more traditional route to replace missing teeth. Partial and complete dentures offered as a more practical option for some with missing teeth, provide patients with a quicker solution. Dentures allow people that have been missing teeth for some time to have almost immediate results. If the extraction of teeth is necessary, dentures are fitted. Then the gums are allowed to heal before denture use is optimal. Ideally, the gums will take about 8 to 12 weeks for complete healing.
Immediate dentures are available, however, primarily as a temporary fix. As part of the healing process, your gums and bone will shrink, causing the immediate dentures to become ill-fitting and uncomfortable.
Unfortunately, there is a cost disparity between dental implants and dentures. Initially, dentures may seem like the way to go based solely on cost, but there are some downsides.
First and foremost, dentures are prone to cracking and breakage. While implants will last upwards of 20 years, it is unlikely that a set of dentures will last more than a quarter of that time. Second, despite impressive advances in the last few years, dentures can’t offer dental implants’ natural feel.
The Right Choice For You
For many reasons, missing teeth cause patients discomfort. At Lovett Dental West U in Houston, TX, we offer a variety of specialty dental services. We offer a one-stop-shop for all of your dental needs, including dentures and dental implants. If you have missing teeth or teeth that need to be extracted, we are here to offer expert care and guidance. If you are ready to get your smile and confidence back, reach out to us 832.500.8119 to schedule a consultation today.