Tooth loss is a very common problem. Despite our best efforts to take good care of our teeth, over time they can become decayed and damaged – sometimes to the extent that they cannot be saved and they either fall out of their own accord or must be removed by your dentist. If you need to have the majority of your teeth in either your upper or lower arch removed, you may be offered dentures to replace them
Dentures are prosthetic teeth that are attached to an acrylic mold. This mold sits over the top of your gums, replacing your natural teeth. It is held in place using special adhesive, which should prevent it from slipping and moving around when you use your newly-restored smile. Although dentures have had something of a bad reputation in the past, modern dentures are much more secure and comfortable than earlier models.
Benefits of dentures
Conventional dentures offer patients a variety of different benefits. These include the following:
- A way of restoring an entire arch of teeth without the need for invasive and extensive treatment.
- A variety of options available. Dentures can be supplied as partial, to replace a few missing teeth or full, to replace an entire arch.
- Improved quality of life for you. By restoring your teeth to their former glory, you can enjoy all of the benefits of having a complete set of teeth. This means eating the foods that you like, speaking properly and having a smile that you are happy to share.
- Boosted confidence and self-esteem. Patients to have their teeth restored using dentures report a positive effect on their confidence in both their professional and personal lives.
- A fairly long-lasting solution. With proper care and attention, a set of dentures could last you for as long as a decade. Considering you wear them every day, this represents great value in your investment.
Despite their benefits, dentures aren’t necessarily the best or most suitable solution for every patient. Fortunately, that doesn’t mean that you have to live with the effects of tooth loss. There are a few alternative tooth loss solutions that can fully restore your ability to use and feel confident in your smile. These include the following:
Dental implants are fast becoming the preferred way of replacing missing teeth. This is because they use a revolutionary new technique that secures prosthetic teeth onto titanium posts that have been pre-inserted into the jaw. This makes them very different from other solutions which rely either on other natural teeth or artificial adhesive to support them.
By placing the titanium posts into the jaw, the trauma triggers the bone to heal around it, securing it permanently in place. This process, called osseointegration, creates a virtually unbreakable bond that ensures the strength and durability of your prosthetic teeth.
Dental implants can be used to replace single missing teeth or to support a partial or full denture. In the case of dentures, it is usually possible to place the arch onto fewer than one implant post per prosthetic tooth. For example, partial dentures can usually be placed onto two or three implant posts, while it is possible to support an entire arch of false teeth on between four and eight posts.
Overdentures are very similar to implant-supported dentures except that they are removable and either attached to underlying tooth structures or dental implant posts. They are generally considered superior to regular dentures in terms of function and retention since conventional dentures can become unstable over time and require refitting. Overdentures, like implants, help to preserve existing bone in the jaw so that it does not deteriorate and shrink.
If you just a few teeth missing that are close together, you may be a suitable candidate for a dental bridge. This device has several prosthetic teeth attached to one another, with crowns built in either side. These crowns are used to anchor the bridge onto healthy, neighboring teeth. Whilst this process makes sense and it very successful, many patients find that over time, it places stress on their supporting teeth, putting them at risk of damage.