Problems with Dentures
Surveys show that most people with removable dentures are unhappy with them. There is good reason for this dissatisfaction. Chewing efficiency is seriously reduced when your teeth are no longer anchored in your jawbone. There is also rubbing against the soft tissues of the mouth which can cause denture sores. And sometimes they cause embarrassment by coming loose at the wrong time. Few people want others to know that their teeth are removable.
And there is one particular problem that can become very serious, and that is shrinkage of your jawbone. Once you have no more natural teeth, your body begins to dissolve away your jawbone, thinking it is no longer needed. This causes facial collapse. After ten or fifteen years, this facial collapse can be so advanced that you become a dental cripple, with your face sunken in and no longer able to wear any denture at all.
On the other side of these issues is the matter of cost. For many people, while they would like a better option, they simply don’t have the money to afford optimal treatment. If this is the case, you can trust Dr. Thein to respect your choice. He won’t try to pressure you into a treatment that you don’t want or that you have decided is too expensive for you.
The Problem with Dentures
Here are some of the problems people have:
- They slip and slide around. The uppers are held in place by suction and are generally more stable than the lowers. The lowers simply rest on the lower jawbone and are held in place by your cheeks and your tongue. They “float.” You need to train your muscles to keep them in place. And when you chew or speak, both uppers and lowers will move—the lowers more than the uppers. You can’t avoid that, because they rest on movable tissue.
- They are removable, which means they can come out. There can be embarrassing accidents if they come out at the wrong time. In the first few years, they tend to be more stable, but as the years go by it can become quite a challenge to keep them in place. And even when they do stay in place, in the back of your mind there is always the thought that they could slip, which affects your confidence.
- To keep them from sliding around and coming loose at the wrong times, you will likely end up using denture adhesives. These adhesives are messy and uncomfortable.
- Chewing efficiency is always reduced. With a well-fitting complete denture, it may only be cut in half. And it goes down from there. With poorly-fitting dentures, some people can barely chew at all, and may even have to completely restrict their diet to soft foods, which seriously affects their health and can shorten their lifespans. Nursing homes are filled with people who keep their teeth in a drawer by their bed.
- They can cause sores in your mouth. Early on, if your denture is well-fitting, this isn’t as much of a problem. But when you’ve been wearing dentures for ten or more years and your jawbone has shrunk and become less supportive, this can become a serious problem. Often, all that will be left in the lower jaw will be a sharp ridge that tends to develop sore spots easily no matter how well your denture is made.
- But the worst problem with removable complete dentures is shrinkage of your jawbone. When your body senses that you have no teeth left, it begins to resorb that bone in order to use the minerals elsewhere in your body. This not only causes your face to gradually shrivel into the classic “aged look,” but as time goes on it gets more and more difficult to wear a complete denture. In time, you become a dental cripple, and it is difficult or impossible to wear a denture that will actually stay in, or to eat normally. This condition is called “facial collapse.”
Dental Implants and Dentures
Having your dentures rest on dental implants solves the above problems. If you are missing all your teeth, come in and discuss your problems with Dr. Thein. There are many options available to you, and a solution can be tailored to your budget. One affordable option would be to have two dental implants placed in your jaw and an overdenture made to snap on to these. Mini implants are another option that may be even more affordable. Or, if you’re interested in maximum stability and are willing to spend more money, a number of dental implants can be placed, one for each missing tooth.
The diagram on the right shows a basic snap-on denture. To see photographs of a case treated by Dr. Thein, please visit our snap-on dentures page.
Another option would be mini implants. Since the surgery is simpler and the healing is faster, you can save up to half the cost with mini implants.
Please understand, however, that the only way to give an accurate estimate of costs as it applies to your situation is with a thorough examination. Please give us a call or visit our request an appointment page.