I have had a partial denture for quite awhile now. I’m considering making the switch to dental implants. But, I’m not quite sure it’s worth the investment. I have three missing teeth. Two of them show when I smile. My partial denture is annoying. I’m not confident in how it looks and I really don’t even like taking it out at night because it makes me feel self-conscious. It’s always in the back of my mind if people can tell I’m wearing it when I’m talking with them. It’s gotten to the point where it’s affecting my social life. I have started canceling plans to dinner and out with friends because I’m embarrassed about the way it looks.
It is possible I’m overthinking things and it really looks fine. But, it’s really starting to get to me. The problem is, I’ve looked into the price of dental implants and I’m just not sure I can justify such a huge expense on myself. My biggest question is, will dental implants still look fake? If I’m going to end up dealing with the same insecurities after having made such a large investment, I’m not sure it really is worth it in the long run.
-Jackie in Texas
Thank you for your question. I wish I could tell you how much you will love dental implants, and that it is absolutely the right thing for you. But the fact of the matter is that there is no way to tell how you will personally feel about them after making the switch. If you deal with any kind of anxiety, there is always a possibility that you will have those feelings even with dental implants.
However, there are many benefits when choosing dental implants over a removable partial denture. Hopefully, if you decide to move forward with treatment, you’ll be able to start socializing again and feel much more confident about how you look and feel.
First off, dental implants are not removable. They are a permanent solution to replace missing teeth. They look, feel and function just like natural teeth. So, even though you may have hesitations, from a conversational distance, no one will be able to tell you have had any dental work done. Many denture wearers are nervous about them coming out while talking or while eating during a meal. Also, they complain about food getting stuck or trapped or even damaging the denture. You don’t have to be concerned about any of those things with dental implants.
Another thing worth considering is that when people lose teeth, they actually start losing bone density in the area where the tooth used to be. This bone resportion takes place because the body doesn’t think those minerals are required any longer to support the tooth, so they are resorbed and used elsewhere in the body. Over time, the condition can worsen due to the bone loss, which is known as facial collapse. Sufferers of facial collapse often look much older than they are and their facial features appear to be sunken in. But, the good news is taht dental implants prevent facial collapse because they are implanted directly into the bone. This tells the body that the bone is still needed at the site and the implants prevent bone loss in those areas. So, overall you will maintain a more youthful appearance with dental implants compared to any type of denture appliance.
In regard to appearance, dental implants can be made to blend in perfectly with the surrounding teeth. The porcelain crowns are attached to the implant and the porcelain mimics the natural tooth structure very closely with translucency and coloration, just like a normal tooth. Dentures are usually comprised of acrylic or some other type of plastic. So, they don’t appear as lifelike or natural as the porcelain restoration material.
Overall, you will likely be much happier replacing your missing teeth with dental implants. A cosmetic dentist who places dental implants would be your best fit. Just be sure to take a close look at their credentials and ask to see example of other cases that are similar to yours. Not just any dentist can create beautiful dental implants. It requires extensive training and experience beyond dental school. So, it would be good to have multiple consultations until you can find an implant dentist you are comfortable with in your area.
Best of luck to you in making your decision. Thank you for reaching out.
This post is sponsored by Petaluma dentist Dr. Rick Lane.