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Dental Implants: A Guide for Seniors

If you are a senior considering dental implants, you may have to worry about issues other dental patients don't have to think about. For example, you may need more time to recover after receiving your implants. My name is Jodi, and I've been working with seniors for years. I decided to create this blog to help the seniors I can't meet in person. In this space, I'm going to post entries on everything related to dental implants and seniors. From tips on flossing implants after arthritis has claimed some of your dexterity, to guiding you through the implants-vs-dentures debate, this blog is designed for you. Thanks for reading. I hope you find what you need!



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Dental Implants: A Guide for Seniors

Acrylic Dental Restorations: Are They Worth It?

by Jimmy Carter

When you need a dental restoration such as a crown, or an inlay/onlay (which is essentially a partial dental crown), it's because the surface of your tooth has deteriorated to the point that it needs to be manually restored. The restoration becomes the new surface of the tooth (either partially or totally), acting as a type of artificial dental enamel. Your dentist will tell you what type of restoration you need and why you need it. Then you will need to have a discussion about the materials on offer. There's one specific material that warrants some thought before you proceed.

Types of Materials on Offer

Most dental restorations are made of porcelain or ceramic, but these are not the only choices. Metal restorations are also a possibility, as are acrylic restorations. You might find the prospect of an acrylic restoration appealing, if only because it's going to be considerably less expensive than porcelain, ceramic, or metal. But is this lower price a case of buyer beware?

In Your Best Interests

It might be that your dentist encourages you to proceed with a porcelain or ceramic restoration. This is not some drive to create extra revenue for their dental practice and is more about what's in your best interests as a patient. While an acrylic dental restoration will be perfectly functional and will get the job done, it arguably doesn't do the job as well (or for as long) as other restoration materials.

The Test of Time

Acrylic restorations ultimately lack the durability of their porcelain or ceramic equivalents. This is fairly logical, since acrylic is technically plastic. Any dental restoration will eventually need to be replaced, and an acrylic restoration won't stand the test of time as well as its porcelain or ceramic counterpart.

The Aesthetics of Your Smile

There's also a question of aesthetics. Porcelain and ceramic are preferable because they mimic the natural translucency of dental enamel, whereas acrylic does not. This isn't necessarily a factor unless the restoration is placed in your so-called smile zone (the teeth that are prominent when you smile). An acrylic restoration placed on a rear tooth won't automatically stand out.

If price is the primary factor guiding your decision, you could certainly receive an acrylic restoration, if only to give you sufficient time to budget for a ceramic or porcelain replacement (even if this is several years down the road). But if it's within your means, a ceramic or porcelain restoration is worth the price.

Talk to a dentist to discuss your dental restoration.