Due to decay, accidents or periodontal (gum) disease, a sizable percentage of adults are missing natural teeth. According to the National Institute of Dental & Craniofacial Research, adults over the age of 65 have less than 19 natural teeth remaining with more than 27 percent having no remaining natural teeth. (https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/DataStatistics/FindDataByTopic/ToothLoss/ToothLossSeniors65andOlder.htm)
Older adults who have missing natural teeth have, in the past, felt a denture or partial was needed since it was once a common method of replacing teeth. After all, many in the elderly generation grew up with parents and grandparents who wore dentures or partials. For many adults who are now in this age category, seeing a set of dentures soaking in a glass by the bathroom sink wasn’t necessarily an odd sight.
However, with dental implants becoming more common in the U.S., adults are gravitating towards this superior option for tooth replacement.
When it comes to dental implants, I often see patients who have worn dentures for many years. Most are frustrated by the uncomfortable rubbing and inability, especially when trying to eat the foods they love.
Although a denture replaces the appearance of teeth and the ability to speak and chew (somewhat), the true hazards of wearing a denture are camouflaged because the problems that lie ahead are hidden – underneath the gums. A denture or partial does nothing to preserve the bone structure beneath its gum-colored base.
What is not always known to adults who lose teeth is the lifelong need to maintain jaw bone mass. People are generally unaware that the pressure of wearing dentures or partials even speeds up the process of bone loss (known as resorption). Here is what takes place after teeth are removed and a denture is worn:
• Once natural tooth roots are removed, the bone that held them (the upper or lower jaw) no longer receives stimulation that allowed it to maintain a healthy depth. The loss of bone mass begins within a year after removal.
• Bone loss causes the fit of the denture to change due to an ever-shrinking jaw bone. With each passing year, the bone loss continues at an ever-increasing rate.
• Eventually, long-time denture wearers struggle with an unstable fit that makes chewing uncomfortable.
• As eating becomes more of a challenge, denture wearers tend to switch to a diet of soft foods that dissolve easily in the mouth. This type of diet often provides less fiber, nutrients, and protein that is needed for good health.
• Decline in bone mass contributes to changes in facial appearance, such as deep wrinkles around the mouth, a pointed chin, a mouth that appears sunken in, and jowls.
• Being socially active is important for overall well-being at any age. Because food is often the centerpiece of social activities, unstable dentures can cause people to decline invitations, fearing embarrassing slips or clicks when eating or speaking.
• A denture is custom-designed to the contours of the ‘ridge’ (the gum-covered arch where natural tooth roots were once held). As bone loss continues, this arch flattens. Relines can reshape the denture to accommodate some of these changes. However, as the bone continues to decline, the denture’s fit will eventually loosen again.
• To secure the denture to eat, the use of adhesive becomes more frequent. Overuse of denture pastes or adhesives can be toxic.
No adhesives or relines will ever make a denture a practical alternative for missing teeth. For today’s active adult, dental implants are the best way to restore chewing and laughing confidence.
Dental implants not only replace the stability of natural teeth for eating and laughing confidently, they halt the process of bone loss. Dental implants are able to do this because they recreate the presence of natural tooth roots. This restores healthy stimulation to the bone.
Additionally, implants are supported by the jaw bone, just as the natural teeth you once had. This restores stable, secure biting and chewing ability and eliminates the fear of embarrassment while speaking, eating or laughing.
And even though the cost of dental implants seems higher, there are no future expenses for repairs, replacement, relines, etc. Dental implants are also designed to last your lifetime, making them a wise investment!
To eliminate movement or slips, a denture can often be secured with the placement of several dental implants. Using the foundation of the jaw bone, as with natural teeth, the denture stays secure when eating, laughing or even sneezing! You’ll be able to eat the foods you love again and laugh with confidence while socializing with friends and family.
If you’re struggling with a “slippery” denture, your frustrations will never improve regardless of relines or the use of adhesives or pastes. Consider the lasting solution of dental implants. Call 586-739-2155 to schedule a free consultation (virtual consults are also available) or tap here to begin.
During this time, we’ll discuss the procedure, comfort options (including Oral or IV Sedation), and easy payment plans. Our implant patients especially like that we provide all stages of dental implant treatment – from diagnosis to placement to the restoration of your final teeth! A new smile in one comfortable location – backed by our advanced technology and skills – offer optimal comfort in less time for an affordable fee.