Many people choose dentures to replace a mouth full of missing teeth, but those appliances often are not permanent solutions. Most patients will find that their dentures need to be replaced after several years.
Dentures lose their fit over time due to a phenomenon known as jawbone resorption. This condition occurs when the roots of the teeth are no longer available to serve as anchors for the jaw, which in turn wears away over time.
We may take the roots of our teeth for granted because we can’t see them, but in reality, that structure is extremely important. It helps to stabilize our smile.
As this process unfolds, the denture will need to be re-lined periodically to keep pace with the jaw’s evolution. Eventually, the shape of the jaw can change so significantly that the original appliance no longer fits with the jaw. When this happens, the dentures will need to be replaced.
However, jawbone resorption is not an unavoidable fate for denture wearers. An oral surgeon can help prevent this outcome.
Dental implants replace the absent root structures and help to hold the jaw in place. A number of dental implants – as few as four in some patients – can be used to secure a denture and simultaneously prevent jawbone atrophy.
With dental implants, the shape of the jaw remains largely constant, and the denture typically does not need to be replaced.
In addition to greater stability, patients who choose implant supported dentures gain other benefits.
Implant supported dentures look and feel more like natural teeth, and they’re more effective at chewing. Furthermore, the dental implants eliminate the need for unpleasant denture adhesives.
If you are trying to decide whether to get conventional dentures or implant-supported ones, consider the outcomes over the rest of your lifetime. Decide whether you want to choose an appliance that will need to be re-fitted eventually, and contact the office of Drs. Steven D. Sherry and John D. Wallace to review the big picture so that you can make a well-informed choice.