Dentures are prosthetic devices designed to replace missing teeth in the upper or lower jaws. They are supported by the surrounding soft and hard tissues in the mouth. In order to understand the difference between dentures and dental implants we must first understand what is a denture. Most dentures are removable dentures made of acrylic and can be full or partial design depending on the number of teeth that are being replaced. There are different types of dentures, some made of different materials including cobalt chrome metal or flexible acrylic. Dentures have been used for many hundreds of years, early reports that the romans used human and animal teeth fused together with gold bands for teeth replacement. The Japanese later improved their designs and made wooden dentures within the 16th Century.
Dental implants have been in use now for over 30 years. Their use has become more popular as now there is a an alternative to removable dentures. Dental implants are placed into the jaw bone and function like artificial tooth roots. Dental implants can be used to replace a single tooth, multiple teeth or even a complete full arch. Implants are made of titanium alloy, the small screw is inserted into the jaw bone during a small operation that can be carried out under local anaesthetic or intravenous sedation. The technique of placing dental implants has improved over the years and today it is a highly effective and successful option for patients with missing teeth. The survival rates of dental implants after a 5 year period is around 90%.
Where patients are missing a full arch of upper or lower teeth dental implants offer certain advantages. Implants can provide support for a fixed implant bridge. A minimum of 4 dental implants are required for a teeth on 4 solution. The fixed implant bridge is screwed onto the implants and is very similar to natural teeth. The roof of the mouth is not covered hence it is more comfortable and does not affect the taste of food. A fixed bridge supported on dental implants is stronger and can exert greater pressures during eating when compared to removable dentures. A dental bridge does not move hence there are less issues with sore spots during function like there can be with dentures. With the improvement of newer dental materials available it is possible to make beautiful highly aesthetic restorations on dental implants. Acrylic, composites, porcelains and zirconia have all made big improvements over time and offer excellent choices of materials that can mimic natural teeth.
Dental implants require a minimum amount of bone volume in order to be placed correctly. The surgery although highly predictable needs be carried out by an experienced dental implant surgeon. Patients need to be in good health and have good oral hygiene for implants to be successful. As with natural teeth dental implants require maintenance with daily brushing and flossing and regular visits (6-12months) to the dentist and hygienist. Dental implants can last many years if they are well maintained and looked after. For more information about the differences of dentures and dental implants treatments please visit out website www.brightonimplantclinic.co.uk