Dentures today; a viable but outdated option?
Dentures are custom-made removable appliances. They are made of metal, acrylic, and even nylon, and their function is to replace the lost teeth of a person, to restore the smile and functionality.
But first of all what are Dentures?
When a person loses one or all of their teeth, they experience many problems that affect their quality of life.
People may lose self-confidence, stop smiling out of embarrassment to show their smiles, and have difficulty speaking and eating.
How many types are there?
Partial: Partial dentures replace only a few missing teeth, preserving the teeth that are in the mouth and using them as support. These can be made of acrylic, metal-acrylic and nylon (valplast or temporary flexible dentures).
Complete prostheses: Contrary to partial dentures, complete prostheses are those that replace all the teeth of a jaw. These are made of acrylic
Full upper: Cover the entire roof of the mouth (top of the mouth) and are often very uncomfortable. The suction created by a skinny layer of saliva between the roof of the mouth and teeth holds the prosthesis in the right place — also, the facial muscles, the tongue help to keep it in the correct position.
Full lower: Are often more challenging to keep in place because the bottom of the mouth moves a lot and the ridge where the denture rests tends to shrink rapidly over time.
They are indicated in edentulous patients or those who have suffered the almost total loss of the teeth of an arch. Although it is the cheapest method, it has major shortcomings.
What are the disadvantages?
Dentures are a current but outdated treatment today. This due to its many drawbacks. These are some of the most annoying
Fit: One of the main disadvantages of this type of dentures is fit. Patients perceive the dentures ‘movement, and many of them never become comfortable with them when they eat.
Irritations: Also, patients may experience occasional irritations in the oral cavity, caused by the prosthesis’s pressure to the roof of the mouth (palate) or gums at the time of chewing.
Difficulty speaking: Many patients who begin to wear these types of dentures have difficulty speaking or pronouncing certain words. These difficulties can usually go away over time.
Need to use adhesives: Also, in some cases, dentures become loose and do not have a good hold, so it is necessary to use adhesives to keep them in place.
Dentures do not stop bone resorption: And perhaps the most crucial downside is that dentures do nothing to stop bone reabsorption in the gums. When losing teeth, the bone that supported the teeth is reabsorbed due to a lack of sensory stimulation or lack of function (atrophy). The result will be a thinner and smaller bone that will affect the face’s structure, giving it an aged appearance.
Need to replace the prosthesis often: In addition, due to the loss of bone in the gums, it will be necessary to replace the dentures so often because it will be bigger than gums.
Limited diet: Lastly, denture wearers cannot eat all kinds of foods. If the food is hard or sticky, they can suffer pain when chewing, so there will be prohibited foods in their diet. Patients have told us that they often feel that they have not restored their smile when they look in the mirror without them.
I don't want to wear dentures
The most common and effective alternatives to dentures are dental implants.
Dental implants are titanium accessories that are surgically inserted into the bone and act as anchors to hold the replacement teeth. (crown, bridge, or over denture). Many people choose implants because they are a more durable and more comfortable option. Moreover, implants can last a lifetime if properly cared for.
In addition, overdentures are held in place by dental implants or remaining teeth, making them much more stable, secure, and very comfortable for everyday activities like eating and talking.
As a result, overdenture does not move while you talk or eat as dentures do. Overdentures are a much more comfortable and attractive option for patients who have lost all of their teeth. And since overdentures are supported on implants embedded and attached to the bone, they stimulate the jaw bone, which slows down and even prevents bone loss or resorption.
Dentures versus dental implants; what decision to make?
Firstly, dental implants are considered the best option if you lost one or all of your teeth. This is due to the way they replicate the roots of natural teeth, which helps preserve the tissue of the jaw and gums and provide the best aesthetics.
Dentures, on the other hand, can be challenging to wear, restrict your food options, must be replaced frequently, and do not prevent bone loss in the jaws.
However, there are situations where dentures are a better option; for example, dentures may be an option for you if:
- If you opposes performing oral surgery
- You cannot stop smoking
- You have a medical condition that significantly increases the risk of implant failures such as uncontrolled diabetes or any disease that compromises your immune system.
- They are also an excellent short-term option (a couple of years) if you currently cannot afford the implants.
Implants may seem expensive at first but have more significant long-term benefits and vast improvements in quality of life.
Comparing dentures and dental implants
- Dentures: Bone loss over time can lead to further deterioration of facial structure
- Dental implants: Helps to stimulate and preservate remaining jawbone to maintain
- Dentures: Sits on gums can slip around and cause discomfort.
- Dental Implants: Fixed to jawbone like natural teeth
Typically last 7 to 15 years.
- Dental Implants:
Long lasting solution
- Dentures: Less expensive, but often less effective.
- Dental Implants: Higher upfront cost, but better value in the long term