Who Needs Dentures?

Many things have changed in dentistry in the last couple decades. Advances in the areas of cavity prevention and dental implants have armed dentists with tools that simply were not available in the past. They have allowed for the conservation of more of your natural teeth and have changed the way we look at dentistry forever!

I have talked to many patients who tell me that they have ‘bad teeth’ and that they have accepted their fate of wearing a denture for the rest of their life. This does not have to be! With regular dental visits, good eating habits, fluoride, and meticulous oral hygiene, most patients can avoid future cavities and missing teeth and maintain health smiles for the rest of their life!

And even those who already have dentures or partial dentures now have options. With the increased use of dental implants, loose dentures and messy denture adhesives can become a thing of the past. But time is of the essence…

Most people are not aware of the consequences of losing their teeth or the effects of wearing partial or full dentures upon their jaws and bones. When teeth are lost, the surrounding bone immediately begins to shrink [atrophy]. Implant treatment, for tooth replacement therapy, can be the optimal treatment plan.

Here are some important facts from the Academy of General Dentistry to take into consideration:

• At the end of a five-year period, only 40% are still wearing the original partial denture made for them. This is not a great testimonial for value and utility. Those lucky enough to have a functioning partial denture after 5 years are still losing valuable supporting bone.

• Of those patients who wear a partial denture, 50% chew better without it.

• One study showed that after 8 years, 40% of the supporting teeth [abutments] that the partial hooks onto were lost through tooth decay or fracture.

• Patients with natural teeth can bite with about 200 pounds of force. Denture wearers can bite with approximately 50 pounds of force. Those wearing dentures for 15 years or more can bite with only about 6 pounds of force, and their diet and eating habits have had to been modified accordingly.

• The average lower full denture shifts from side to side approximately ? inch during chewing and is a significant problem that new denture wearers must get use to and accept.

• Denture wearers have decreased nutritional intake, a ten year shorter life span, and 30% of denture wearers can only eat soft foods.

• The single tooth implant success rate is above 98%, and unlike a bridge, the teeth adjacent to the implant are no more at risk than if no teeth were missing.

• Implant-supported bridges or dentures have 95% success rates over 10 years without the severe loss of supporting bone.

For bone maintenance, the health of adjacent teeth, the longevity of the restoration and patient comfort, implant therapy is the treatment of choice. Implants can restore chewing function to the equivalent of someone with natural teeth. If you have questions or want to know if you are a good candidate for implant tooth replacement therapy, please call our office and let us help you maintain a healthy smile!


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