The difficult truth about dentures

Dentures have often been perceived as a panacea for dental problems, offering a seemingly simple solution to the challenges faced by individuals with missing teeth. However, beneath this common notion lies a deeper understanding of the limitations and hurdles associated with dentures.

While they can provide functional and aesthetic benefits, it’s important to understand the truth about dentures. From bone loss and loose dentures to facial appearance changes and functional difficulties, we’ll explore the various aspects of denture use.

Additionally, we’ll debunk common myths and provide alternative solutions like dental implants, so you can make informed decisions about your dental health and find the best treatment plan for your specific needs.

The difficult truth about dentures

Truth About Dentures

1. Bone Loss due to lack of Jawbone Stimulation

Teeth play a crucial role in maintaining the health and integrity of the jawbone. When natural teeth are present, the forces generated during chewing stimulate the jawbone via the roots, promoting bone density and preventing resorption. This continuous stimulation ensures the preservation of the jawbone’s structure and functionality.

Unfortunately, conventional removable dentures cannot replicate the natural stimulation provided by teeth roots. Over time, this can lead to bone loss in the jaw. This process, known as resorption, results in the shrinkage, deterioration, and re-contouring of the jawbone. As the jawbone changes shape, dentures lose their ideal fit, leading to instability and discomfort.

2. Loose Dentures due to Jawbone Remodeling

Jawbone remodeling significantly affects the fit of dentures. As the jawbone undergoes resorption, the once snug fit of dentures becomes compromised.

The gradual changes in the jawbone’s shape and density cause dentures to become loose, leading to:

  • Difficulties in chewing and speaking.
  • Discomfort and pain while eating certain foods that require vigorous chewing
  • Slippage and movement that makes it difficult to pronounce words clearly

These factors can impact the individual’s confidence and overall communication abilities.

3. Need for Frequent Denture Replacements for Optimal Function

To maintain optimal function, some denture wearers find themselves needing to replace their dentures every few years (usually 7 to 9 years). The changes in the jawbone’s shape and size necessitate adjustments to the denture’s fit. Without these replacements, dentures may become increasingly loose, compromising the wearer’s ability to eat and speak comfortably.

4. Facial Sagging and “Sunken Face” Syndrome

The jawbone plays a crucial role in providing support and structure to the face. It contributes to the contours and shape of the lower face, providing a foundation for the muscles and soft tissues. A healthy jawbone helps maintain a youthful and vibrant appearance.

When the jawbone has undergone significant resorption due to lack of stimulation, it can contribute to facial sagging and a “sunken face” syndrome. The lack of adequate jawbone support leads to a loss of facial volume, resulting in a prematurely aged appearance. This can have a profound impact on an individual’s self-image and self-esteem.

5. Premature Aging and the Impact on Self-Image

The consequences of dentures on facial appearance extend beyond mere aesthetics. Premature aging caused by the loss of jawbone support can affect an individual’s overall well-being. It may lead to feelings of self-consciousness, social withdrawal, and a negative impact on self-image. Understanding these potential changes is crucial for individuals considering dentures as a long-term solution.

Fortunately, this can be resolved by getting implant-supported dentures, since the implant can stimulate the jaw bone, similar to the roots of natural teeth, preventing resorption.

6. Dysfunction

For some individuals, the decision to pursue dentures is driven by the desire to alleviate dental problems. However, it is essential to acknowledge that dentures come with their own set of challenges and limitations.

While dentures aim to restore functionality, they cannot fully replicate the natural dentition. Denture wearers often encounter difficulties in activities that were once taken for granted, such as eating, laughing, chewing, and speaking. The absence of natural teeth and the inherent limitations of dentures may hinder these daily functions.

  • Your sense of taste may change: A large portion of your taste buds in the roof of your mouth are covered up by the dentures. However, you can choose palateless or horseshoe upper dentures that are supported by implants to maintain your sense of taste.
  • Sore spots: Certain illnesses as well as weight loss or gain of more than 10 pounds can result in a change of fit of your dentures. Loose dentures may cause sore gums, requiring you to consider various home remedies.

7. Mental Preparedness

You need to prepare yourself mentally to have a good experience with dentures. Despite advancements in denture technology, dentures cannot provide the same level of dental function and appearance as natural teeth. The compromises made with dentures result in a less-than-ideal solution for individuals seeking complete restoration of their dental health.

It is important to recognize that dentures are not a perfect substitute for natural dentition. Moreover, these false teeth are a foreign object in your mouth, and you may occasionally feel disappointed, frustrated and confused since they don’t feel like your natural teeth.

Remember, it will take commitment, patience and time to learn how to talk and chew with your new false teeth.

Dentures Expectation vs. Reality

a. You can eat any food without difficulty

One common misconception about dentures is that they enable individuals to eat any food without difficulty. In reality, denture wearers may struggle with biting into hard foods or eating items that require excessive force or chewing. Dentures can be less efficient in breaking down tough or sticky foods, limiting the range of foods that can be comfortably enjoyed.

b. False teeth don’t require maintenance

Dentures, though made from durable materials, are subject to wear and tear over time. The constant removal and insertion of your false teeth, as well as exposure to oral conditions, can lead to deterioration and changes in fit. Proper maintenance, such as regular cleaning and professional adjustments, is crucial to prolong the lifespan and ensure optimal performance of dentures.

c. False teeth have a noticeable artificial appearance

Another myth surrounding dentures is the belief that they are instantly recognizable and have a noticeable artificial appearance. In reality, modern dentures can be customized to mimic the natural look of teeth and gums, providing a natural and aesthetically pleasing smile. Skilled dental professionals utilize advanced techniques and materials to create dentures that blend seamlessly with the individual’s features.

d. Regular Dental Visits are not necessary for Denture Wearers

Some denture wearers mistakenly believe that once they have dentures, they no longer need regular dental check-ups. However, routine dental visits remain crucial for denture wearers. Dentists can assess the fit and condition of dentures, identify any oral health issues, and provide professional cleanings to maintain oral hygiene. Regular dental examinations ensure optimal oral health and address any concerns that may arise.

Why opt for Implant-supported Dentures?

Implant-supported dentures are a popular alternative to traditional dentures. They involve the surgical placement of titanium posts into the jawbone, which serve as artificial tooth roots. These posts fuse with the bone through a process called osseointegration, creating a stable and long-lasting foundation for replacement teeth.

Implant-supported dentures offer numerous advantages over traditional dentures:

  • The implants provide exceptional stability, eliminating issues of slippage or movement while eating or speaking.
  • They prevent further bone loss by stimulating the jawbone, preserving facial structure, and reducing the risk of premature aging.

Improved Nutrition

Implant-supported dentures have the ability to restore nearly full chewing function. With the stability provided by dental implants, individuals can confidently eat a wider variety of foods, including tough, crunchy, and sticky items. This enhanced chewing capability improves digestion, nutrition, and overall quality of life.

Preservation of Jawbone and Prevention of Premature Aging

Unlike traditional dentures, dental implants help maintain the integrity of the jawbone. The implants provide the necessary stimulation to the bone, preventing resorption and preserving its volume and density. This preservation of the jawbone contributes to facial support and prevents the sunken appearance often associated with denture wearers, reducing the risk of premature aging.

Long-Term Solution with a Natural Look and Feel

Implant-supported dentures offer a long-term solution for individuals seeking a more permanent and reliable tooth replacement option. They closely mimic the look, feel, and function of natural teeth, providing a higher level of comfort and confidence. With proper care and regular dental check-ups, implant-supported dentures can last for many years, making them a worthwhile investment in oral health.

Final Thoughts

While dentures are a viable option for tooth replacement, it is essential to recognize their inherent limitations and challenges. Understanding the consequences of bone loss, the issues of loose dentures, the impact on facial appearance, and the functional limitations is crucial when considering dentures as a treatment option.

It is advisable to consult with a dental professional who can provide personalized recommendations and explore ways to enhance the treatment with dental implants or mini-implants for dentures. By making informed decisions, you can achieve optimal oral health, functionality, and overall well-being.

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  • Editorial team

    A team comprising oral health care professionals, researchers, and professional Writers, striving to impart you with the knowledge to improve your oral health, and that of your loved ones. 

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