Research shows that more than 80 million Americans struggle with the problem of missing teeth. The standard solution to this problem is adhesive dentures. Unfortunately, traditional dentures suffer from a number of drawbacks. That’s why there’s so much talk these days about implant dentures, an innovative new approach which offers the best of both worlds.
Traditional Dentures: An Imperfect Solution
Dentures have existed since ancient times. But only in the past century have they become practical for the average person to use. Modern dentures are comfortable, affordable, and attractive. They have helped millions of people to live fuller, healthier lives.
Traditional adhesive dentures are an imperfect solution however. Their primary drawback is their inherent instability. This is especially true for dentures designed to fit the lower jaw, or arch in dental terms. Denture wearers must use messy adhesives to hold the product in place. Even then, the restoration can still come loose.
Sometimes this happens at the worst possible time, like when the patient is eating in public or attending a social function. In some cases, denture wearers must endure severe dietary or lifestyle restrictions.
Implant Dentures: A Better Solution
Implant dentures were developed to overcome these limitations. Here’s how they work:
- A trained implant dentist embeds a series of small titanium fixtures, called implants, in the patient’s jawbone. These work in much the same way as the roots of healthy natural teeth.
- The implants serve as the anchor for a set of specially designed dentures. Like traditional dentures, the appliance can be removed as needed for cleaning or for tending to personal tasks. Otherwise it remains firmly in place.
- This innovative approach enables the denture wearer to eat a normal diet, engage in exercise and other vigorous activities, and carry on an active social life. For the patient, it’s almost as if their natural teeth have grown back.
As an added benefit, implant dentures help to prevent bone resorption, a condition in which the bones in the jaw gradually degrade. This is the cause for the all-too-common “sunken” look that many denture patients develop over time.
Bone resorption is more than a cosmetic concern. It can contribute to nutritional deficiencies and other serious health problems. It can also cause dentures to fail prematurely or require relining.
Not everyone is a good candidate for implant dentures. People with extensive bone loss beneath the gum line may require bone grafts or other reconstructive surgery first. Maintaining the benefits of implant dentures requires a commitment on the patient’s part to practice good oral hygiene going forward.
This includes brushing and flossing any remaining natural teeth, eating a sensible diet, and avoiding all forms of tobacco. The denture itself should be cleaned and rinsed daily, both for hygienic reasons and for the patient’s physical comfort.
The Final Word
Modern dentistry offers today’s patients a greater range of restorative options than ever before. Talk to your dentist about implant dentures during your next appointment. You’ll soon find yourself with plenty of reasons to smile.
About the Author
Dr. Terry Rigdon has been practicing dentistry for 41 years. Over that time he’s developed a nationwide reputation for excellence. In fact, many of Dr. Rigdon’s patients are dentists themselves! His range of expertise includes standard dental implants and implant dentures. You can reach his office online or by calling (918) 494-8666.