Losing a tooth can be a traumatic experience, both physically and emotionally. Not only is there the immediate pain and discomfort, but often there is the added stress of social anxiety and low self-esteem. This can make it difficult to eat, speak, and smile with confidence.
A study has shown that tooth loss leads to depression and as more teeth are lost, the level of depression increases. A 2022 study found that in older adults, loss of teeth is associated with cognitive decline. The more teeth are lost, the greater the decline.
In younger adults, the loss of confidence brought about by tooth loss can lead to diminished career choices. It can also lead to a poor social life In general, it leads to a lower quality of life.
There are two main choices that your dentist will offer to replace missing teeth: dentures or dental implants. This article will discuss both and show you how dental implants can make your life better.
Causes of Tooth Loss
There are many reasons why someone might lose a tooth. The most common cause is gum disease, also called periodontitis. This starts with gingivitis.
Gingivitis is when the gums get inflamed and bleed easily. If it is not treated, it can progress to periodontitis. Periodontitis is when the gum tissue pulls away from the teeth and forms pockets of infection. The bones and connective tissues that support the teeth can be destroyed, causing the teeth to become loose and eventually fall out.
Gingivitis develops when plaque is not removed from the teeth. Plaque is sticky bacteria that forms on the teeth. If it is not removed, it turns into tartar or calculus. Tartar can only be removed by a professional cleaning at the dentist. When plaque and tartar are not removed, they cause inflammation of the gums.
Other causes of tooth loss include:
- Teeth grinding or bruxism
- Decay or cavities
- Trauma to the mouth
- Eating disorders
Pros and Cons of Dentures
Dentures have been used for centuries to replace missing teeth. They are false teeth that are removable. Today, they are made of artificial teeth set in a plastic or metal base.
Dentures can be partial or complete. Partial dentures can be substitutes for a few lost teeth, while complete dentures replace all teeth. They are removable and must be taken out at night.
Dentures have some advantages. They are generally less expensive than dental implants and can be made quickly. They are also easy to care for and do not require any special cleaning solutions.
However, dentures have many disadvantages. Because they are not anchored in the jaw, they feel unnatural and can distort your speech. They also make clicking sounds while you are talking. Furthermore, dentures can move and even slip off when you eat or speak. This can cause discomfort and embarrassment.
Additionally, you cannot eat certain food when wearing dentures. Some food you can no longer enjoy are sticky foods, hard candy, and popcorn. Also, you have to be careful when biting into apples and other crunchy fruits and vegetables. You may also have difficulty chewing steak.
When dentures are not fitted well, they can cause irritation and pain. If not cleaned properly, they can cause tooth decay. Dentures also need to be replaced every five to seven years due to wear and tear. And, over time, they can cause the jawbone to deteriorate because it lacks stimulation.
Pros and Cons of Dental Implants
Dental implants are the other main option for replacing missing teeth. They are artificial roots that are surgically implanted into the jawbone to support a replacement tooth. The implant is made of titanium, which is a strong and biocompatible metal. Once the implant has healed and bonded with the bone, a replacement tooth called a crown is attached to it.
Dental implants have many advantages over dentures. Because they are anchored in the jawbone, there will be no bone deterioration over time. They feel more natural and do not cause any distortion of speech. There is also no risk of them slipping off while you are eating or talking. Additionally, because dental implants look and function like natural teeth, you can eat all the foods you enjoy without any difficulty.
Furthermore, dental implants do not require special cleaning solutions and can be cared for just like natural teeth. And, unlike dentures, dental implants do not need to be replaced every five to seven years.
However, dental implants are more expensive than dentures and require surgery. Additionally, there is a risk of implant failure and infection. The success of dental implants also depends on having enough healthy bone in the jaw.
Despite the risks, dental implants offer many advantages over dentures. If you are considering replacing missing teeth, be sure to discuss your options with your dentist to find the best solution for you.