Ipswich specialist prosthodontist, Hiten Pabari, looks at why some patients are increasingly ‘ditching the dentures’.
Dentures, whether partial or full, are currently the most common method used to replace lost or missing teeth. This has long been the case, and the quality of modern dentures is certainly superior to older types. Even with the many advances in denture production though, they aren’t for everyone, and some people do experience a number of issues with them.
Despite this, a lot of people tend to stick with their dentures, finding a way to deal with the sometimes unstable moments and perhaps taking painkillers to deal with the sore gums that can occur from time to time, especially when the dentures no longer fit as comfortably as they should.
Time for a decision
Even for those who have become used to their dentures, there comes a time when it just feels right to consider either replacing them with a new set, or looking at another tooth replacement alternative altogether. There are a number of possible reasons that might trigger this line of thinking, including:
Sore gums – Loose fitting dentures will move around the mouth slightly, causing friction between dentures and gums, which often leads to soreness and irritation.
Speech or eating problems – Dentures that no longer fit correctly can cause speech impediments and difficulty in eating certain foods.
Headaches, neck pain and earache – Although these can be caused by other conditions, such as a virus, if these symptoms persistently occur, it may well be due to your poorly fitting false teeth.
Discolouration and smell – Dentists generally suggest that dentures have an expected lifespan of between five and ten years. Eventually, even the most expensive dentures are likely to show signs of wear and discolouration, and may also start to give off an unpleasant odor.
When some, or all of these issues arise, it is time to consider the various options available to you at the Foxhall Dental Practice in Ipswich.
New dentures or an alternative?
The most obvious course for a regular denture wearer is simply to replace them. This has its attraction for some. Dentures are a relatively inexpensive means of replacing lost teeth, and also require no invasive dental surgery. This has a special appeal for those who suffer from dental phobia. Modern dentures also look more realistic and offer improvements on older types. Despite this though, dentures do not replace the root of a tooth and simply sit on top of the gums. This means that they are more likely to be unstable and move around a little at times.
Another option, which does offer some additional stability is the use of a bridge. To do this, two crowns, which support a false tooth, or teeth, are attached to the natural teeth either side of the gap. Whilst this is a more stable method, it does require reshaping of the natural teeth, and, understandably, some patients are reluctant for healthy teeth to be prepared in this way.
A newer stable smile
Increasingly, those who take the decision to ‘ditch the dentures’ are turning to dental implants for an answer to a practical and realistic looking solution. Whilst this treatment does require minor surgery to place them, it is a one off treatment, with the implants lasting for around 20 years (and often many more), providing that they are looked after correctly.
Dental implants not only look realistic, but they will not move around in the mouth as dentures have a tendency to. The reason for this is that implants don’t just replace the visible part of the tooth, but also the root which is hidden below the gum-line.
These new ‘roots’ are usually made from titanium and are placed into the jawbone below the gums. They are then left to fuse with the bone in a process known as osseointegration, for a period of around three months. After this time, they offer a very secure ‘root’ onto which a crown can be attached.
Implants can be placed either for individual tooth replacement or multiple teeth. In some cases, where multiple teeth are missing, a treatment known as ‘same day implants’ or ‘teeth in a day’ can be used. Depending on individual circumstances, these can be placed, and the replacement teeth often fitted on the same day. This is due to a special type of implant and placement technique used in these cases.
If your dentures are causing you problems and generally being a ‘pain in the mouth’, maybe now is the time to consider your options, including the use of dental implants. If you are curious to find out more about this treatment, we will be pleased to discuss them with you. Simply make an appointment for an initial consultation at the Foxhall Dental Practice in Ipswich, by calling us on 01473 258396.
Dr Hiten Pabari – Specialist Prosthodontist at the Foxhall Dental Practice (GDC 82505)