Dental Implants Versus Dentures What is There to Compare?

Lady biting in apple with dentures

The media abounds with articles about dental implants and dentures. The internet also contributes to the volume of information accessible to consumers. However, the vast amount of material available can result in information overload and sometimes lead to confusion. Comparisons commonly made about dental implants and dentures may add to the confusion.

In fact, there is no comparison between dental implants and dentures. It is like comparing apples to oranges. With dental implants and dentures, one does not include or exclude the other. Perhaps describing what they are and their purpose in the oral cavity will help to shed some light on the subject.

Dentures are the replacement of one, multiple or all teeth and their supporting structures i.e. the soft tissue (gums) and hard bone. This could be in one arch (jaw) or both arches (upper and lower). A tooth or teeth can be missing for a variety of reasons: decay (cavities), periodontal (gum) disease, injury (sports and other accidents), or congenitally missing (born without). There are different types of dentures fabricated from different materials: dental plastics (acrylics) and/or dental metals. Dentures are further classified into partial (some teeth missing) to complete (all teeth missing) on that arch. Dentures are designed to be removed by the wearer after each meal for cleaning. They are easily removed as they rest on soft tissue with no anchor or they clip to remaining healthy natural teeth as anchors. Dentures ‘sit’ on the soft and hard tissue of the jaw bone.

Dental Implants
Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that are placed into the jawbone usually with minor oral surgery. New cells then grow and fix (integrate) the implant into the jawbone. Dental implants serve as anchors to secure an oral prosthesis such as a crown, bridge, or denture. A natural tooth consists of the root (the part below the surface of the gums) and the crown (the part above the gums). A dental implant replaces the root but it does not include the crown. A dental implant by itself does not replace a tooth or teeth. It is an anchor to which a crown or denture can be made and attached to. A simplistic analogy for dental implants would be to think of them as a house foundation. Houses can be built on the ground when there is solid ground underneath such as bedrock. However, if the ground is soft, then a house is likely to settle and have problems if it isn’t supported by a foundation. The same is true for dentures, especially complete lower dentures. A foundation is a part of a house; it is not a house on its own. A foundation is the anchor/support for the house that is built on top of it. A dental implant is not a complete replacement for a missing tooth. It is an artificial root; it is not a tooth on its own. A dental implant serves as an anchor or foundation for the tooth or teeth that will be fabricated and attached on top of it.

Replacing Missing Teeth
Are you or someone that you know missing a tooth, several or all of the teeth? There are a number of treatment options including dental implants for different situations. Here are three common scenarios.

1. Single Tooth Missing
A simple solution to replace a missing tooth is an acrylic partial denture that is removable by the patient. A fixed bridge is another solution. The teeth adjacent to the missing tooth are prepared to hold the bridge permanently in place. A fixed bridge cannot be removed by the patient. And then there is the implant alternative. A dental implant (artificial root) is placed in the jaw where the tooth is missing. A period of time is allowed for healing and integration of the implant. Afterwards, a single crown the shape, size and colour of the missing tooth is fabricated and fixed to the dental implant. The crown cannot be removed by the patient.

2. Multiple Teeth Missing
Removable partial dentures, an acrylic partial or cast metal partial with wire clasps to retain the denture, are options to replace multiple missing teeth on an arch. Depending on the number of missing teeth and their location, dental implants can be used in different ways to assist tooth replacement. One approach involves the placement of multiple implants and a fixed restoration that is not removable by the patient. Partials on implants that can be removed by the patient are another alternative. These dentures are fabricated to fit over and attach onto dental implants. One or two implants can hold a partial prosthesis securely in place, the denture can be made without clasps.

3. All Teeth Missing
When all the natural teeth are missing a number of options are available.
A conventional acrylic complete denture can be fabricated. The denture sits directly on the gum tissue. However, holding complete dentures in place (retention) can be very challenging for some patients, especially complete lower denture wearers who have lost a lot of bone. Denture adhesive is a common but unfavourable solution. There are different approaches to replacing all the teeth that utilize dental implants. The minimum placement of 2 implants on the lower arch can help to retain a lower denture. The placement of multiple implants (minimum of 3 to 4) allows a more secure and stable approach to retain and support the denture. It is also possible to replace all of the missing teeth with a prosthesis that is fixed onto dental implants and is not removable by the patient. There are pro and cons to all the alternatives for each individual. It is important to seek different opinions in order to decide which option is best for you. With advancements in materials, design and techniques, dental implants have come a long way since their introduction in the late sixties. Dental implants allow the closest possible replacement for natural teeth and the best way to restore your natural smile. Ask your Dental Professional about how dental implants might be the right solution for you.

Call Teresa for a consultation.

Did You Know?

Our Barrier Free Facility

Did you know that May 28 – June 3, 2017 is National AccessAbility Week? It is a week for Canadians to promote inclusion and accessibility in our communities and workplaces, to celebrate our progress and to be inspired to further break down accessibility barriers. I challenge Brantford to lead the nation in this wonderful initiative.

We need to change the way we think, talk and act about barriers to participation and accessibility and we need to do it right from the start, not as an afterthought.An inclusive Brantford is one where all citizens can participate and have anequal opportunity to succeed in their workplaces and community.

National AccessAbility Week aims to bring this perspective to the forefront for Canadians, and highlight some of the important initiatives the government and its partners are undertaking to bring about this change.

I am very proud to say that last week NancyTomkins and Associates Implant & Denture Clinic was a recipient of Brantford’s 2017 Accessibility Award presented at City Hall. I would also like to congratulate the other recipients of this award at this event; Action Medical Home Health, Grand River Council of Aging Age for their Friendly Neighborhood ChampionsProject,The Brantford Flying Club, FreshCo (50 Market Street),M & M Food Market (North End Brantford), Raymond Knight– Founder, Pathways: Adult Recreation Therapy Centre, Dr. Raza Khan, Physician & Medical Clinic, The Children’s Safety Village, President Dr. Leo Vos.

Eight years ago I moved my clinic three blocks west on Charing Cross Street to provide barrier free services. Although Ontario legislation does not require businesses to be barrier free until 2025 I found this timeline unacceptable and decided to act.I purchased the professional building from the CAA in July 2008.After nine months of extensive renovations,our automatic doors opened to our barrier free clinic.

Whether you arrive by way of your own vehicle, Brantford Lift or taxi you can drive right in front of the entrance.There areno ramps or stairs.The automatic door permits the outside door and the foyer door to open on a relay system.You aregreeted with a warm welcoming smile from Office Manager, Teresa. Her reception desk is designed to accommodatewheelchairs, scooters or walkers. A comfortable ergonomic area is available to fill out dental/medical forms, makeappointments,payments or share stories and laughs with her.

The treatment rooms are designed spaciously enough to accommodate large scooters, wheelchairs and baby buggies.

These rooms are also large enough to treat those who are unable to move from their wheelchairs/scooters into a dentalchair for treatment.For those able to move into a dental chair the clinic is equipped with special knee-break dental chairs,which permit the patient to sit the same easy way they would in any armchair.Once seated this specially designed chairautomatically lifts the legs gently into a comfortable position to support the legs,back and neck while dental proceduresare performed.

Often buildings have barrier-free entrances but not barrier-free public washrooms. This is critical and is one room in this clinic that was specifically designed by a consultant who also uses a wheelchair. This is an essential service that provides dignity to the patients.

It is not just about wheelchairs, scooters,walkers and baby buggies it is also about those people who have other mobilityconcerns such as knee or hip replacements and who find it difficult to raise their legs on steps.People that have diseasesthat play havoc on muscle control such as Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis and those who have suffered from Strokes canalso benefit from barrier free access.

Having doors wide enough to assist those needing an arm from a family member or my staff to steady them or for thosewhose eyesight is impaired and need help getting in, is also important.

It is amazing how quickly eight years has past. It has been a positive, rewarding move to welcome familiar and new smilesof all ages to our barrier free clinic.

A Warm and Welcoming Environment

Nancy Tomkins Denture Clinic in Brantford is conveniently located at the corner of Charing Cross Street and St.Paul Avenue in a bright, fully wheelchair accessible clinic with ample free parking.

Fully certified and equipped with state-of-the-art technologies, we pride ourselves in offering our patients the absolute best in precision denture solutions in a warm and friendly environment.

No dentist referral necessary.