Tooth loss has many frustrations. When lost teeth are replaced by dentures or partial dentures, many people are surprised to learn that they can cause these frustrations to worsen over time.
Dentures can contribute to discomfort, reduced confidence, decreased ability to chew and enjoy foods, embarrassment and a daily inconvenience. This is all attributed to the declining mass of the jaw bone.
When tooth roots are missing from the upper or lower jaw, the bone begins to shrink, or resorb. This process continues and is even accelerated by the pressure of dentures. An indicator of bone loss is the change in the fit of your denture. Dentures that once fit securely will eventually begin to loosen due to the change in the bone underneath the gum.
As the bone continues to shrink in size, the ridge under the denture is slowly flattening. Over time, a denture has less of a foundation, decreasing one’s ability to bite and chew without uncomfortable rubbing or slips. In addition to discomfort, the ability to properly chew your food is compromised. For example, the biting strength of natural teeth is 250 pounds, a denture wearer bites with approximately 5 to 6 pounds.
The process of resorption can cause other problems as well – those that affect your appearance. Bone loss, over time, contributes to deep wrinkling and a sunken-in appearance around the mouth, a “witches chin”, jowls and a mouth that appears sunken in to the face.
Emotional repercussions are equally as severe. In addition to a decrease in self-esteem and self-confidence, denture wearers tend to unplug from society, don’t look at people in the face, smile and laugh less, don’t leave home often, wear no make-up, and eat out rarely.
Unfortunately, many acknowledge tooth loss as “normal” for adults as they age. They assume that wearing dentures is inevitable in the aging process. This is a misconception that is being changed as a result of dental advancements, particularly in implant dentistry.
Dental Implants recreate the presence of tooth roots, halting bone loss and restoring the strength of your bite. There are many types of implants designed to accommodate individual needs. For those who have lost a great deal of bone depth, there are procedures that can rebuild the bone to a healthy depth.
Additionally, there are particular implant systems designed specifically for placement in minimal bone depth. For example, the All-On-4 dental implant system uses a unique implant design with placement at strategic angles. This helps to distribute the load of biting and chewing sufficiently on only four implants.
Dental Implants are an excellent investment. They are designed to last your lifetime, giving you eating comfort and smiling confidence all your life. When properly selected, placed, and cared for, they will bring you as much satisfaction as natural teeth.