Most of us invest a significant amount of time and energy into retaining our natural teeth for as long as possible. Daily brushing, flossing and regularly visiting our dentist for check-ups and professional cleanings all go a long way towards keeping our teeth healthy and functioning as they should. Nevertheless, tooth loss is an extremely common issue. More than 36 million Americans do not have any teeth at all and this number is expected to increase over the coming decade.
Living without teeth can be frustrating and difficult. Not only are you forced to deal with the effects that tooth loss has on your appearance – with many patients with missing teeth feeling extremely self-conscious and experiencing social anxiety as a result of their lack of a complete smile – but they may also find their ability to eat and even speak compromised. Fortunately, there is a solution that can restore the look and function of your teeth. If you are missing three or more teeth in either your upper or lower arch, you may be recommended to consider a denture-based solution. There are now two types of dentures to choose from – conventional or implant-supported. Our experience and knowledgeable dental team, based at our offices in Clearwater, FL will be happy to discuss both options with you and help you decide which is right for you.
There is no getting around the fact that dentures haven’t always had the best reputation. In the past, the prospect of a set of dentures would conjure up images of poorly designed and fitting, obviously-false teeth sitting in a glass of water at an elderly relative’s house. Fortunately, the design of modern dentures has evolved considerably, and today’s varieties are much more natural and comfortable than ever before.
A denture is a full arch of prosthetic teeth that is attached to an acrylic mold that sits over the top of your gums and is attached using special adhesive. It is custom-designed specifically for your mouth and with teeth in size, shape, and shade that match any existing teeth you have remaining so that it looks as natural as possible.
Dentures are usually ready to be placed around eight to twelve weeks after any remaining teeth have been removed. They need to be carefully looked after as they are fairly fragile, and they need to be both brushed gently and placed in water with a cleansing tablet overnight. The condition of your dentures will be checked when you attend your regular check-ups and with proper care, it is reasonable to expect them to last upwards of a decade.
Implant-supported dentures are a new, innovative solution that combines the design of conventional dentures with the benefits of implant-technology. What this means is that instead of being secured to your gums using adhesive, these dentures are attached to titanium posts that have been implanted into your jaw at pre-determined locations. It is usually possible to secure an entire arch of prosthetic teeth on as few as six or eight implant posts. Implant-supported dentures tend to be used on the lower arch since conventional dentures are less secure here due to the movement of the jaw. However, they can be utilized on both the upper and lower jaw arches.
Although the process of implanting the posts is invasive, which can make the process less appealing than opting for regular dentures, there are some distinct benefits of choosing implant-supported dentures instead. These include:
- The dentures do not rest on the gums. This makes them more comfortable to wear since they will not rub and cause soreness that is often associated with regular dentures.
- They are more secure. One of the primary reasons patients choose implant-supported dentures is because they notice that the adhesive used in conventional varieties isn’t always that secure and their false teeth can slip and move around – something which can be noticeable and embarrassing.
- Reinforcement of the jaw bone. Tooth loss can lead to the bone in the jaw deteriorating. Eventually, this can cause the shape of the jaw to change and can even mean that existing dentures don’t fit as well as they once did, causing you to purchase a new set. However, dental implant posts actually continually stimulate healthy bone growth, keeping the jaw defined and protecting against future bone loss.
- Stronger biting force. Implant-supported dentures can withstand 3 x the biting force of conventional dentures.
If you are considering dentures to replace your missing teeth and would like more information on either of these options, or if you would like to schedule a consultation to discuss which is right for you, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our knowledgeable and experienced dentistry team by calling our offices in Clearwater, FL today.