Dentures have been used successfully throughout history and continue to be a reliable and satisfactory option for tooth loss. However, despite advances in denture technology and materials, they have now become a secondary option to dental implants.
Firstly, there are issues with retention — dentures tend to flop around, especially lower ones. This is primarily because they’re not anchored to your jaw. Saliva is an important component in creating a suction effect for denture retention. With age, medications and medical conditions, the salivary flow or quality is compromised and could further reduce denture retention. Therefore, they are recommended to be removed each night before sleeping.
One of the other issues is dentures reduce your ability to chew efficiently when they’re not anchored. There are so many restrictions on the type of food you can eat, and it makes it a little difficult to enjoy life when you can’t enjoy the simple pleasure of good food.
A big issue is their contribution to that sunken-in look of a client’s mouth. This is due to that loss of bone. You’ve lost your teeth there, so the bone does not get used — and therefore the bone slowly starts to resolve and you get that sunken-in look.
Clients can have difficulty adapting to dentures — it’s understandable when you’ve had teeth all your life. Dentures are very different from teeth. And psychologically, dentures are associated with old age. So those are the issues or the drawbacks with dentures.
These days we create dentures using CAD CAM technology that allows for precision fit and improved denture aesthetics. However, those issues with dentures I’ve described still remain.
Dental implants as an option for older patients
Nowadays, dental implants have a strong record of success and have become the treatment of choice. Most of the clients I see opt for dental implants. Although they cost more than dentures initially, there are so many benefits.
You lose less bone because, through the crown, the implant distributes load like your normal teeth to the bone. This helps you avoid that sunken-in look.
Maintenance remains the same — you can brush your teeth in the same way. An implant is fixed so you don’t need to take it out or put it in. There’s a big psychological negative involved in taking those dentures out each night and having bare gums in your mouth.
You can taste your food better because there’s no denture there. Also, the other issue with wires holding dentures in place is that they can cause problems for surrounding teeth as well.
With implants, you’re getting a more natural feel for your teeth. Compared with dentures, they will feel like you’ve got normal teeth because they’re fixed. You feel like you haven’t lost your teeth. It’s the gold standard nowadays in tooth replacement really.
At our practice, we handle dental implant reconstructions from start to finish — from 3D scans to dental implant placements to crown restorations using our in-house ceramics lab headed by Ms Chloe Park.
Many clients fear that the placement of implants is painful. Let me reassure you that it’s not. Treatment is usually done in the chair under local anesthesia, and you don’t feel a thing other than a slight vibration. Most clients go back to work the next day. Furthermore, using CAD CAM technology and 3D guides for surgery, we have been doing keyhole surgery for implants for years. This gives us optimum success and minimal discomfort to the client.
I think it’s important that you speak to your dentist about what the options might be for you because there are many factors involved — cost, the time it takes, the amount of bone you’ve got and your general health. We put together all these things to work out if implants are going to be possible.
Want to know more about your implant options? Click here to go to our Dental and Tooth Implant page