QUESTION RECENTLY ASKED OF DR. ATKINSON CONCERNING REPLACING EXISTING TEETH WITH A DENTURE:Dentures seem much easier than taking care of my teeth. I’m already missing some upper and lower teeth, so shouldn’t I have the rest pulled and wear a denture?”
ANSWERED BY DR. ATKINSON, PERIODONTIST, HOT SPRINGS, ARKANSAS: Probably the best people to answer your question are long-term denture wearers who come to us for help. Their complaints are typically the same, such as:
Denture movement – Eating comfortably and speaking confidently depends on teeth that are stable and secure. Strong, stable teeth are anchored by tooth roots held by the upper or lower jaw. While dentures must depend on the contour of the gum ridge and adhesives for a secure fit, any denture wearer will tell you that movement does occur. This movement tends to rub sore spots on gum tissue, which is not only uncomfortable; it increases your risk of gum disease. Bacteria from the mouth can penetrate these tears, entering the bloodstream. This enables the bacteria to travel to other parts of the body, jeopardizing the well being of your overall health. Research has linked this bacteria to heart disease, diabetes, memory loss, lung disease, and stroke. Also, being able to eat a healthy diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, along with protein rich meats and grains, is necessary for good, overall health. Denture wearers often change their diet to soft foods that dissolve easily in the mouth. These people frequently develop health problems associated with a diet lacking in adequate vitamins, minerals, and protein. Denture wearers tend to have more gastrointestinal problems and take more medications than those who have their natural teeth.
Inconvenience – While popping a denture into your mouth seems easier than brushing and flossing your teeth, please remember that a healthy mouth and fresh breath depends on good oral care, regardless of whether you have your natural teeth. Denture wearers must deal with much more than a toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss. There are adhesives, powders, pastes, soaking periods, and frequent rinsing that is necessary to keep a denture clean and your mouth fresh. Denture wearers tell us that adhesives are dependable for several hours, at most, before the hold begins to loosen. Hot beverages make some adhesives melt, which adds an unpleasant taste to your mouth in addition to a less-secure grip. Dentures also have a surface that provides a breeding ground for microorganisms that emit a constant odor, no matter how often you clean your denture. This creates a never-ending challenge to keep your breath fresh.
Embarrassment – Denture wearers share many “horror stories” with us. They tell us about embarrassing slips and clicks when speaking or laughing with others. Many also have had moments that were publicly humiliating when eating out. Eventually, many begin to turn down social invitations that include meals. Since many outings with others include food, this severely crimps the social activities, which add greatly to our quality of life. We also hear from people who “hide” in the bathroom so their mate will not see them without teeth. They claim they feel less appealing because of their dentures and even sleep in them because of this. Unfortunately, those who wear their dentures day and night tend to accelerate the rate of jawbone shrinkage, which is the reason why the fit of dentures changes more frequently.
Denture wearers endure a vicious cycle of problems that only get worse with time. If you have natural teeth remaining, you may be able to prevent further tooth loss and restore a stable, secure bite. You can replace those missing with Dental Implants, which are designed to last your lifetime, making your investment one that will give you years of confident smiles.
Before you make an irreversible decision, please look into other alternatives for replacing your teeth. Call 501-262-4010 to learn more about today’s options for lasting, healthy smiles.
Dr. Ross Atkinson
2633 Malvern Avenue, Hot Springs, AR 71901
(501) 262-4010 or (501) 922-9211
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