Now and again a patient will say, “Maybe I should get all my teeth removed and just get dentures.” All dental office staff have heard a patient say this and most times, it said out of frustration due to dental or financial issues. Although it may be said jokingly, the underlying thought process behind a statement as this appears to be the high expectation that dentures will be a cure all solution to their problem.
I once heard it also said, “Dentures are only better than having no teeth, they aren’t better than no teeth.” Simply put, dentists offer them as a last resort replacement option for people who already have no teeth. They are definitely not a substitute for teeth that can still be restored.
If you look into your mouth, you will notice that the teeth are anchored and supported by elevated bone that is an extension of the jawbone. Dentures sit on top of the gums that cover this bone. When teeth have been removed and replaced with dentures, over time, this part of the jaw bone begins to disappear. It shrinks, deteriorates and re-contours because there are no teeth functionally chewing to keep the bone stimulated.
Unless your dentures are anchored to implants, even the most perfectly fitting dentures become loose over time due to this remodeling and shrinking of the jaw bone. Eventually, chewing and speaking becomes more difficult with dentures that slip and slide around in the mouth. It is especially difficult to keep dentures secure when there is significant shrinkage of the lower jaw. In fact, some people have their dentures re-made every 3-5 years in order to have optimal function.
Your jaw bone gives your face shape and definition and dentures can certainly affect your appearance. Overtime, your face will begin to sag and have a shriveled appearance when there are multiple missing teeth and not enough bone density to support your facial muscles. This often causes people to begin looking prematurely old due to what we call “sunken face” syndrome. Dentists may refer to this as “facial collapse.”
Dentures are a sad facsimile of a person’s normal dentition. There are many things that people with healthy, natural teeth may take for granted. Everyday things like eating, laughing, chewing or even speaking are more difficult for many denture wearers. There is no solution that can improve upon the perfection of natural dentition and provide 100% restoration of dental function and appearance.
For every denture envy patient out there, there’s a denture-wearer who will tell you that you basically trade one set of problems for a whole new set.
Let’s take a look at some of the issues that people with traditional, free standing dentures have to worry about:
- Difficulty biting into hard foods
- Chewing comfortably anything that cannot be cut easily with a fork
- Eating many raw vegetables
- Speaking without one or both dentures moving/falling out.
- Being accustomed to wearing and using dentures – sometimes up to 1 year or more.
- Losing up to 80% of chewing function
- Getting food stuck under their denture
- Getting mouth sores from the dentures rubbing against the gums/bone.
- Change in the fit of their dentures with weight gain/loss
- Having to have their dentures relined to accommodate shrinking bone
- Developing an aging and sunken in look to their face and lips
- May have difficulty pronouncing some words especially those with “F” and “S” sounds
- Cleaning and caring for their dentures as they would their natural teeth
- Losing or misplacing dentures especially in retirement homes and hospitals
The Truth is…
Many people with damaged and decayed teeth assume that the solution to ending their discomfort and dental bills is to remove all their teeth and wear a denture. Ask any denture wearer and most will tell you that it is a misconception to think that removing all of your teeth will end your dental problems.
If you have teeth which can’t be saved, you may be a candidate for dental implants. Implant-supported dentures solve many of the drawbacks of traditional dentures including:
- Expanding the types of foods that you can comfortably eat
- Securing dentures in your mouth while eating and speaking
- Preventing the rubbing of denture on gums/bone
- Minimizing jaw bone shrinking due to missing teeth
- Improving overall health through good nutrition
- Helping you enjoy social gatherings without the fear of loose fitting dentures
- Improving up to 90% of chewing function
Life Long Solution
Quite simply, implants are a great alternative because they are more like your natural teeth than traditional dentures. Over time, patients often forget that they have implant-supported dentures. Not only do dental implants look real, if properly cared for, they are designed to last a very long time.
We understand how frustrating it can be to have teeth that are constantly causing you problems. However, dentures are not the problem-free solution that many non-denture wearers think they are. If you are considering dentures, call us today for a consultation. Because every person is different, we will evaluate your “specific to you”circumstances to determine the best treatment plan for you.