We are assuming that some of you remember taking photographs with cameras that used film. That was before the digital revolution and before every phone had a camera included.
If you look, you could probably still find a film camera, and initially, it would cost considerably less than a digital camera .
When you consider the life of the camera, however, a film camera may become more expensive in the long run. With a digital camera, you can take pictures, save them to a computer, erase the card, and start over.
With film, you have to get the film developed, and you will have to continue to buy more film if you want to continue taking pictures.
Why are we discussing this in a dental blog? It’s because we deal with something similar at Marineland Dental Care. If our patients in and around Kennewick, WA, lose their teeth, they replace them with traditional dentures or with implant dentures.
One saves money up front. The other saves money in the long run.
What Are You Paying For?
You’ve probably figured out that traditional dentures, like a film camera, are the old way of doing things.
They are less expensive than getting dental implants at the front end. There is no denying that. Over time, you may start to wonder what you have.
Traditional dentures do a couple things. They can restore the appearance of a full set of teeth, and they allow you to eat better than you could without any teeth.
Please note, that’s better than you could if you didn’t have teeth. You won’t eat as well as someone who still has his or her teeth. (This will be important to remember later.)
Since these dentures rest over your gums, they don’t provide much stimulation to your jawbone. This matter because your jawbone needs that stimulation to stay healthy and strong.
Without stimulation, the jaw will not create new bone tissue as quickly as it’s old tissue is resorbed. As a result, your jaw can lose mass.
This can change the shape of your jaw, which can change the shape of your mouth. That can change how your dentures fit, which means you may need to replace them.
That’s a cycle that can repeat over and over unless you add something (implants) to provide the stimulation that your jaw needs to make new tissue.
When you still had all your teeth, your roots provided stimulation to your jaw. Your roots pressed into the bone each time you took a bite or chewed on something.
To recreate that effect, you have to replace your roots. That’s exactly what dental implants were designed to do.
When implants are embedded in your jaw, they provide support for your dentures. As you heal from the procedure, you’ll notice that your bite force is stronger, too. It may not be 100 percent of what you had when you still had teeth, but it can get pretty close — close enough that you will still be able to comfortably eat the foods that you enjoy.
That natural process will create new stimulation to your jaw. That will encourage new bone tissue growth, and that will keep you jaw healthy and strong. That makes it much less likely that you will have to have your dentures refitted due to the changing shape of your mouth due to the loss of jawbone density.
It’s also possible that you may start with dentures and decide later than you wished that you had implant-supported dentures instead.
How long you wait makes a difference? Implants can help you maintain the shape of your jaw, but they won’t help you regrow lost tissue.
If you’ve already lost too much, then you may not be able to support standard implants.
That does not mean you have to accept living with traditional dentures, however. You may be able to get mini implants.
Mini dental implants are about half the diameter of standard implants. This means they can fit in places that other implants won’t.
And the good news, mini implants can support dentures, too. As we said earlier, this won’t allow you to replace bone tissue that you’ve already lost, but it can stop your bone tissue loss from getting any worse.
Weighing Your Options
If you are considering getting dentures or upgrading the dentures you already have, then we welcome you to make an appointment at Marineland Dental Care to find out if dental implants or mini implants could help you.