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The Problem with Dentures

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What Are Dentures?

Dentures are essentially false teeth, available in two forms: full or partial. Full dentures replace an entire set of upper or lower teeth, and partial dentures replace one or a certain number of teeth. While this area of dentistry has seen many improvements over the last few years, dentures can still feel strange to patients, especially in the beginning. Dentures require adjustments and regular maintenance, and they can affect a patient’s eating, speaking, and sensitivity to temperatures of food and liquids. According to a recent study evaluating the effect of removable partial dentures on periodontal health, the design of the dentures can also affect the health of the mouth; because partial dentures can increase the risk for gum disease, a good fit and careful oral hygiene are essential in protecting against gum disease.

What often makes dentures most difficult is the psychological effect they have on patients. Putting teeth in and out of your mouth on a regular basis can be very hard emotionally: you’re regularly reminded of something abnormal and uncomfortable about yourself. Because of their reputation and history, dentures can also make patients feel old, which is very discouraging and hard to deal with. Plus, dentures are by nature bulky inside the mouth. This is true of even the best dentures, and it’s common for them to cause limitations on what you can eat; however, there can be some improvement with denture adhesive.

Dentures Lead to Bone Resorption

The problem with dentures is that over time as you wear them, the bone resorbs. This happens because healthy teeth are secured in the jawbone, so when a tooth is lost, the bone doesn’t need to be there anymore, and it will gradually resorb or shrink.

Over the years, the dentures need to be made thicker to compensate for the loss, and the more time that goes by, the thicker and thicker the dentures need to be made. Dentures constantly need adjustment.

With dentures, patients are continually losing bone because there is no use for the bone. Dentures are secured with bad-tasting glue that can actually cause a gagging sensation. Implants, on the other hand, mimic the structure of natural teeth and are secured right in the bone. Therefore, implants actually stop the bone from resorbing and definitely help preserve the bone you do have, allowing you to have a younger looking smile.

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