Missing Teeth – The Impact For Older People

Missing Teeth – The Impact For Older People

If you find dentures uncomfortable or inconvenient, our Ipswich dentists may have the solution

Getting older is a fact of life. Even if we can’t imagine it as children, the reality is that most of us will live to a ripe old age, with the averages in the UK currently 79 for men and around 82 or 83 for women. We might not be able to imagine what it is like being that age or even a bit younger, but the fact that most of us will reach somewhere around there means that it is worth considering how to make the most of your later years.

Naturally, savings and pensions etc are on many people’s minds as they come towards retirement, but health should be a factor too. It is a good time to take stock of what we can do to stay reasonably healthy as we age.

From a dental perspective, many patients of this age, or approaching it, will notice that the strains and stresses that their teeth have been under for many years has started to take its toll. Having a functioning set of teeth is important at this age, not only to enable us to enjoy our food, but also to obtain the nutrition that we need from a balanced diet. One area that we want to look at specifically today is the wearing of dentures and other options that are open to patients of the Foxhall Dental Practice.

The ‘problem’ with dentures

Many older people will have dentures, whether these are partial or a full set. As we gradually start to lose our adult teeth they will need to be replaced so that we can eat properly, and also for aesthetic reasons too. Dentures have long been the most practical and affordable way of doing this, but they are not without their problems.

Although dentures have improved over the years and provide a reasonable experience for many, others find them inconvenient and sometimes limiting regarding what they are able to eat. Part of the reason for this is that dentures sometimes have a tendency to move around in the mouth. Even if this movement is relatively minor, it can cause friction between the dentures and the gums, causing soreness and discomfort. Some foods may also be just too challenging to eat and it is far from unusual for wearers to switch from foods they might want to eat, such as steak, to a softer food such as salmon. Mealtime should be a pleasure and not a chore and dentures can restrict this. Speech problems can be more prominent in denture wearers too, again, often caused by their movement in the mouth.

Finally, dentures can be fiddly to clean and have to be removed from the mouth to do so. Breakages caused by dropping the dentures is not uncommon and, unfortunately, as we grow older, we may suffer from problems such as arthritis which may make cleaning more difficult and breakages more likely.

Why do dentures become loose?

The key reason that dentures may fit perfectly well when you have them fitted but feel looser as time goes by is not the fault of the dentures in most cases, but stems from the fact that when you lose a tooth, the bone in the jaw starts to vanish and small facial shape changes occur. This happens as it no longer has a tooth root to support and the body utilises the minerals in other parts of the body instead.

Whether you replace missing teeth with dentures or a bridge, the end result will be the same as neither provide a replacement tooth root and replace the crown section only, potentially leading to instability and movement at some point.

Dental implant solutions

Too many people, perhaps, consider teeth implants to be for younger people only, but older people can really benefit from them too. They do require minor surgical treatment but the benefits can be very significant and can enable you to eat better again if you have been limiting your choices due to ill fitting dentures.

Dental implants don’t just replace the visible crown part of the tooth, but crucially, replace the root section too. This is very important as it is this factor that prevents bone loss in the jaw.

An implant is placed, using precision equipment, into the jawbone of the patient. This might seem a little scary but the local anaesthetic means that you should feel only minimal discomfort. Once it has been placed, it will gradually fuse solidly with the jawbone, thereby providing a strong and secure replacement tooth root. Once this has become established, the crown section will be added and your new tooth will be ready to use. In cases where multiple teeth are missing, you don’t have to have each one replaced individually and implants can be strategically placed to secure a bridge, or even to stabilise dentures.

Once you have replaced your missing teeth in this way or have switched from your dentures to dental implants, we feel sure that you will be delighted with the results. You can forget about your teeth moving around in your mouth and will be able to choose whatever you want to eat without considering whether your teeth can ‘handle’ it. Even the stickiest of sticky toffee pudding will be no match for your new dental implants!

You don’t have to put up with ill fitting dentures that stop you from living the life you should be doing, whatever your age. If you would like to find out more about dental implants or wish to discuss the possibility of having them with one of our friendly Ipswich team, please call the Foxhall Dental Practice today on 01473 258396.