For patients who have lost all of their teeth, it is important to consult a dentist with the expertise to design dentures that will not only provide a secure fit, but will also take into account the shape of the patient’s face and how he or she wants to look.
Complete dentures are the most affordable option. But they do present challenges. Studies have shown that most denture wearers are unhappy with their appliances.
Dr. Azarbal can work with you on a number of alternatives. First, he will do everything possible to help you keep your natural teeth because there are several long-term consequences to having one’s teeth completely removed and replaced with dentures.
Common Problems with Dentures
Dentures are made to rest on top of gum tissue and can slip and slide inside the mouth. This leads to problems for the wearer, including difficulty eating and speaking, and can cause recurring sores in the mouth.
Chewing efficiency is significantly reduced for most denture wearers, with many people reporting a decrease of up to 50 percent of their former chewing capacity.
The most significant problem, however, is the bone loss that occurs with long-term denture use. Because dentures are not rooted in the jawbone, the body recognizes the bone is not in use and begins to leech away the calcium to use elsewhere in the body. Over time, this can lead to facial collapse and the inability of the jaw to support a complete denture.
The best option for patients who have lost all of their teeth or must have teeth extracted is the use of dental implants. This involves a surgical procedure to place a titanium implant in the jaw, which acts as a substitute “root” for the natural-looking false tooth that is then placed on top. Click here to see our page on Dental Implants for more information.
Dental implants preserve the patient’s jawbone, preventing bone loss and facial collapse. Because they are rooted in the jaw, they also preserve chewing function at much the same level as a patient’s natural teeth. The down side to dental implants is they are significantly more expensive than removable dentures. They also require a period of healing after the surgery, both for recovery and to allow the bone to grow around the implant.
One compromise solution is to use a small number of titanium implants to “anchor” a removable denture. In some cases, even a patient’s existing denture can be modified to “snap on” to new implants. While this does not have all of the advantages of replacing each individual tooth with an implant, it does reduce some of the key problems with traditional removable dentures.
Dentures anchored to implants do not slip and slide the way many others do, so they are more stable for chewing, don’t fall out, and preserve the patient’s underlying bone to a certain extent.
If you need dentures, or if you are interested in learning about your options, call us to schedule an appointment, or request an appointment online.