Of all the discoveries in dentistry throughout the centuries, many such as anesthetic have revolutionized oral care. The ability to conduct dental procedures without the associated distress on the part of the patient made it possible for dentists to do with in less time with a comfortable patient, and therefore less stressful conditions for all of those involved.
The invention of modern dentures also had a profound impact on the dental industry, offering patients increased ability to speak clearly and enjoy a diverse range of foods which were not possible to consume without them. Still, dentures remain an imperfect solution to the problem of lost teeth.
Common Denture Complaints
For many, dentures seem like they must be the perfect solution to the issue of tooth loss. In fact, some of us have even heard people remark that they look forward to old age when they can do away with their teeth-related problems by having them all removed and wearing dentures instead. While this may seem a simple solution, the truth is that the denture issue is much more complex than that.
Nutrition needs remain a source of concern for many denture wearers, as maintaining a comfortable fit even with modern dentures continues to be a challenge for many. Even when fit is acceptable, learning to eat with dentures can be challenging. You may not notice it, but your natural teeth have a natural ability to flex and feel the food in your mouth that makes it easy to manoeuvre food for efficient chewing. With dentures, this sensation is lost, and if you have a denture that includes a full palate you are in for more challenges.
The lack of ability for your food to be contacted by your natural palate impedes your ability to taste food and sense its temperature. Add to this that dentures act differently when chewing and require that small portions of food are distributed evenly across both sides of the mouth in order to be processed enough to swallow comfortably. Because of this, many elderly patients eventually lose interest in eating and begin to eliminate items from their diet until they are often eating only soft foods – which can lead to nutritional deficiencies.
The adhesives used to retain dentures in the mouth can fail and result in an unstable denture as well as clicking or popping when speaking. This can be difficult in social situations and lead to frustration or isolation from group interactions.
A good fit is difficult to achieve with dentures and becomes more difficult over time as changes in the structure of the jaw occurs. Bone resorption is a natural consequence of having teeth removed, and results in changes in the shape and structure of the jaw over time – which is hard for your dentures to keep pace with.
Natural teeth are responsible for keeping your jawbone strong and healthy by stimulating the bone tissue with bite force every time you eat. This stimulation lets your jaw know that you need nutritional resources sent to reinforce it and keep it strong. Without stimulation from the roots of natural teeth, the jaw assumes that these resources aren’t needed to the same degree as they once were, and nutrients are diverted away. This results in bone loss and changes to the appearance in the lower half of the face. This process begins as little as 6 months after extraction of your natural teeth and continues to change the jaw over time, leading to a need for numerous changes in the fit of your dentures.
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Dental Implants for the Win
Dental implants are the first reliable solution to bone loss, offering 30 years of protection or more if well maintained. Dental implants involve screwing a titanium screw into the jawbone and allowing it to bond with the bone for a period of several months before an abutment and false tooth can be placed. Dental implants offer 80% or more of the bone stimulation of natural teeth, compared to estimates as low as 10% from dentures.
The cost of dental implants is substantially higher than the cost of dentures and should be considered a long-term investment in your health. Individual implant costs in Alberta are estimated at $3000.00 but could be as high as $97 000.00 for a full set of implant-supported dentures (also referred to as all-on-four dentures). In this case, four implants are placed along the upper and lower arches and used to secure a full set of dentures. Implants are strong and durable and can be relied upon to handle all the bite force required to eat an array of foods required for a healthy diet. To determine whether you are a candidate for dental implants, talk to your dentist. If you have questions about this or other services offered by our general dentists, contact our clinic today.