Nothing beats enjoying a good meal with friends and family, but it’s harder with dentures and partials. Both of these dental pieces make eating difficult and uncomfortable, even when they fit properly.
If you’re frustrated with your dentures or partial, and you’d like to start enjoying meals again, you should look into getting dental implants.
What are dental implants?
A dental implant is essentially a fake tooth that gets attached more permanently than dentures and partials. Dental implants consist of three parts: the implant, the abutment, and the crown.
A dental implant begins by implanting a titanium screw into the jaw bone. This is a permanent implantation and serves as the root for a new, prosthetic tooth.
When patients require a full set of prosthetic teeth, four individual implants are used per jaw and a full set of teeth are connected together.
Dental implants are usually inserted the same way by different dentists, but it’s always a good idea to ask your dentist before the procedure so that you get a better idea of what’s going to happen.
An abutment is a permanent connector that holds a single tooth or multiple teeth together. Although it’s permanent, it can be removed by a doctor.
A crown is the prosthetic tooth. Crowns are generally made from zirconium or porcelain and are shaped to look exactly like a real tooth.
What’s wrong with dentures?
Dentures served an important purpose before implant technology advanced to where they are today. While they’re still used by many people, they’re not ideal.
The main problem with dentures is they’re often too large to feel comfortable. Right after getting new dentures, people say their dentures make them gag and they’re unable to eat or drink. It’s just too painful.
There are several more strikes against dentures. Spicy food can create major gum irritation when trapped between the denture and your gums. Holding any kind of liquid in your mouth can loosen your bottom dentures, and it’s hard to judge the temperature of hot foods.
Dentures take time to get used to; however, this problem doesn’t go away for everyone. Some people stop wearing their dentures completely and resign themselves to eating soft foods.
New denture wearers are actually advised to start eating soft foods with their dentures.
What’s wrong with partials?
Like dentures, partials were a decent solution before dental implants came around. Although partials are less intrusive than dentures, they’re still not comfortable.
There are five main types of partials, but only three are removable.
Removable partials include cast metal, acrylic clasp, and flexible partials.
Cast metal partials are most common. A metal framework holds the teeth and it usually just snaps into place.
Acrylic clasp partials, also called stay plates, are similar, but are fully acrylic and don’t have a metal frame. However, they sometimes have a metal clasp that holds it in place.
Flexible partials are more expensive, but they’re better than the acrylic partials because they are softer and less likely to break.
The biggest detriment is that most partials will break if you don’t keep them submerged in liquid while you’re not wearing them, and bumping silverware and drinking glasses into them can cause the tooth to break off.
In addition to the discomfort, having dentures or a partial can lead to mouth inflammation, especially on the roof of your mouth for uppers.
Why are dental implants the better choice?
Dental implants solve nearly all of the problems you’ll have with dentures and partials. For example, once implants have properly healed, you won’t feel pain when eating the foods you love.
Since implants are fastened directly to your jawbone with a titanium ‘root,’ you won’t have to deal with the inflammation that comes from having plastic material covering your gums and a large portion of the roof of your mouth.
While eating with dentures isn’t that risky, many dentists tell their patients not to eat with their partials because it will eventually cause them to break. Partials are meant to be temporary, not permanent.
With dental implants, you’ll enjoy life again
When food is central to how you enjoy life, the best reason to choose dental implants is the ability to eat. You can eat with implants and you’ll never have to worry about pain from getting food caught between your prosthetic teeth and your gums.
You also won’t have to be embarrassed by removing a partial at the dinner table or at a restaurant with your friends. Best of all, with proper dental hygiene and care, implants can last a lifetime.