Wear Dentures? How They Work Against You.

Posted on Jul 25, 2017 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

Contrary to what some adults believe, tooth loss is not a normal part of the aging process. As a matter of fact, your natural teeth are not only designed to last your lifetime, their presence is an advantage to your overall health.

Yet, due to decay, accidents or gum disease, a large percentage of adults are missing natural teeth. As a matter of fact, the National Institute of Dental & Craniofacial Research states that adults over the age of 65 have an average of less than 19 teeth natural remaining and over 27% of this age group have no remaining natural teeth. (https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/DataStatistics/FindDataByTopic/ToothLoss/ToothLossSeniors65andOlder.htm)

For the millions of seniors who are missing teeth, wearing a denture or partial is a common method of tooth replacement. Yet, replacing the presence of teeth is one thing. Restoring one’s ability to eat comfortably and confidently and laugh without worry is another.

A common complaint of long-time denture wearers is the unstable fit. Although a new denture is made to fit securely, over time it will begin to move while eating. This is due to bone loss.

Bone loss causes the fit of the denture to change due to an ever-shrinking jaw bone. This is the result of no longer having natural tooth roots in the jaw bone. Without tooth roots to stimulate the bone, it slowly shrinks, or resorbs.

Dentures may replace the presence of teeth but are hardly a substitute. Although they may seem better than being without teeth, dentures actually contribute to a number of problems. The pressure of wearing dentures speeds up the rate of bone loss and, for those who sleep in their dentures, the 24/7 pace of resorption is nearly double.

Denture wearers can actually see the extent of bone resorption by looking in the mirror without their denture in place. Long-time denture wearers typically see deep wrinkles around the mouth with the corners of their mouth turning downward, even in a smile. Jowls form as facial muscles release from the shrinking jaw. Eventually, the mouth appears to collapse into the face with the chin becoming more pointed (referred to as the ‘granny look’).

Dentures can also make it difficult to eat a healthy diet. Biting and chewing with an ill-fitting denture causes uncomfortable rubbing. Having nuts or seeds become trapped between the gums and denture can painfully pierce tender gum tissues.

To avoid uncomfortable rubbing from ‘wobbly’ dentures, people often move to a diet of soft foods that dissolve easily in the mouth. Unfortunately, these foods tend to be lacking in the protein and fiber needed for good health. It is a fact that denture wearers have more gastrointestinal problems and take more medications than people who still have their natural teeth.

And, dentures can affect more than just what we eat. At every age, being socially active is important for our overall well-being. Because food is often the centerpiece of many social activities, unstable dentures can leave people uneasy about accepting invitations due to fear of embarrassing slips or clicks.

To minimize ‘slippery dentures,’ relines can help on a temporary basis. However, as bone loss continues, denture movement will return. Fortunately, today’s dentistry offers an exceptional alternative that overcomes all the challenges of living with dentures – Dental Implants.

Dental Implants halt bone loss by recreating the presence of natural tooth roots. Additionally, they are supported by the jaw bone, just as the natural teeth you once had. This gives you back stable, secure biting and chewing ability and eliminates the fear of embarrassment while speaking, eating or laughing.

No adhesive or reline 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. And even though the cost is higher, there are no further expenses for repairs, replacement, relines, etc. Too, Dental Implants are designed to last your lifetime!

Today’s implant dentistry offers many options. Learn those that are best for your needs and budget during a consultation. Call (828) 274-9440 to schedule.

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