Tooth loss continues to be a common problem in the US. With the media constantly focusing on looks, you would think that tooth loss was a problem of past generations. Not so. The media doesn’t advertise that many public figures have turned to denture alternatives to restore teeth that were failing or lost due to tooth decay, gum disease, or injuries.
Some of these false teeth alternatives have been around for more than 30 years. Technological advances now allow dental restorations to be designed and fabricated by precise computer-driven machinery. These advances make denture alternatives available to the general population at a lower price point than ever before.
Reasons Why You May Need Dentures or False Teeth
What are some common reasons people need dentures, and why are dentures necessary?
Dentures can help you overcome negative effects sustained from tooth loss. When teeth are missing, a number of things affect your activities of daily living:
Your appearance suffers. Subconsciously, the first thing people notice about you is your smile. Like it or not, other people make judgments based on first impressions, which is often a physical attribute.
You have difficulty chewing. You begin to avoid certain foods. Nutrition and digestion suffer, which causes your overall health to decline.
Your facial muscles sag and collapse. Without teeth, your lips and muscles are no longer being supported. This causes you to look prematurely old.
You avoid social interactions. Missing teeth make it hard to eat, speak, laugh, and fully engage in life with confidence.
Dentures allow you to overcome these obstacles and get back to being you once again.
I Don’t Want Dentures. What Are My Options?
Traditional dentures, like the type you have seen soaking in a glass in your great-grandmother’s bathroom, really are a poor substitute for natural teeth. Lower dentures, in particular, are known to slide while talking or chewing. Fortunately, dentistry has evolved. New techniques have been developed that allow real alternatives to dentures.
The best alternative to dentures is multiple dental implants restored with crowns and bridges. Implants are surgically placed in the jawbones to support dental crowns and bridgework. This option gives you a beautiful new smile while supporting your muscles. This support allows you to exude a more vibrant, youthful look.
In addition, implants maintain the jawbone preventing it from melting away after the natural teeth have been removed. Because the implant-supported “teeth” function like natural teeth, your world is opened up to eating all the foods you truly enjoy. And, you can eat them in public with confidence.
The second-best false teeth alternative is dentures that are attached to dental implants. The all-on-four technique is one example of dentures that are secured by dental implants. This option allows traditional dentures or a hybrid Zirconia bridge to replace all of the teeth on a single arch using as few as four implants to support the restoration. The cost of this procedure can be considerably less than implants that support crown and bridgework.
Another denture alternative is over-dentures. Over-dentures allow a few of your natural teeth to be kept to preserve as much supporting jawbone as possible. Dentures are made to fit over the remaining teeth, securing the dentures and preventing them from slipping or sliding. For this alternative to work, you must have some teeth in reasonable condition that can be maintained for the foreseeable future. This method doesn’t work well for patients who have active periodontal (gum) disease.
Additional alternatives to full dentures are partial dentures. By preserving sound natural teeth, it is possible to replace only the teeth that are missing. Natural teeth are used to support the partial, preventing it from moving the way traditional dentures can. In recent years, dentistry has made some significant advances in materials and technology that allow partial dentures to be more flexible and comfortable. Even options for clasps that support the partial to be made from tooth-colored materials make them much less visible than the silver-metal clasps you have seen in the past.
What’s the best option for me?
Traditional dentures are no longer the default as you age. The dental profession really has decided that the key to better restorative outcomes is bone preservation. Whether bone preservation is accomplished with implants that maintain jawbone or by retaining as many sound natural teeth as practical, having adequate bone support allows more tooth replacement options than ever before.
If you are at a crossroads and are faced with taking the next step toward restoring your smile, you do have options. The dental professionals at European Denture Centers will help direct you to the most suitable tooth replacement solution for your unique situation. There really are alternatives to dentures!