Many people—especially those accustomed to using their natural teeth—dislike the way their dentures feel and look. In years past, people who lost their teeth had few options besides either getting dentures or just doing without. Fortunately, strides in technology have allowed the development of some alternatives to dentures.
What are dentures, anyway?
A common misconception is that dentures replace your teeth. This is actually untrue: dentures are used when you don’t have any teeth. They are essentially false teeth affixed to a plastic plate that fits over the gums. They can be awkward to wear and, depending on how they are built, they can interfere with your ability to enjoy food.
Alternatives to dentures
One alternative to traditional dentures is dentures that snap into place over the gum. This allows the removal of the large plastic “plate” that is traditionally associated with dentures, restoring your ability to taste and speak as you normally would. This can be done by using a few dental implants to act as anchors for the dentures and then affixing the dentures to the implants.
If you want to have more realistic-looking and feeling teeth, you have the option of getting implants that will look, feel, and operate like real teeth. This procedure is a little bit more intensive and does take several visits to accomplish, but the end result is well worth it.
When getting implants, your dentist will first install several metal rods into your gums. He or she will affix temporary teeth to these rods to allow you to eat while the final product is prepared. Later on, your dentist will remove the temporary teeth and install a bridge onto the implanted rods. This bridge will look, feel, and function like a normal set of teeth. Unlike dentures, it does not need to be removed each evening.
The process of getting a full bridge can take 2-3 visits to be completed. While it is more costly than a traditional set of dentures, and installation takes more time, the end result is clearly superior and is virtually indistinguishable from real teeth.