Anyone who is missing some or all of their teeth will probably need to find some solution that supplies replacement teeth, so you can once again enjoy all the normal functionality of eating and speaking. Traditional dentures have the reputation of rubbing against the gum line, and causing discomfort, while also potentially slipping around inside the mouth when eating. Nowadays, there are some very good alternatives to traditional dentures, even though the alternative has many of the same features as original dentures.
The big difference is that implant-supported dentures provide a much more solid foundation for your dentures, so they automatically eliminate issues like slipping, which conventional dentures are prone to. This can give the wearer a great deal more confidence, knowing that almost any foods can be efficiently handled without embarrassing incidents in public.
In this discussion, we’ll take a look at traditional dentures and implant-supported dentures, and we’ll consider the advantages and disadvantages of each. If you’ve been considering one of these two strategies, you will thus be better informed, and have more of the information you need to make a good decision that fits your personal circumstances.
What exactly are traditional dentures?
You might be surprised to learn that traditional dentures have actually been the treatment of choice for patients who are missing a number of teeth for quite a few centuries. Dentures first appear in history as early as the seventh century BC, where they are referred to in ancient literature. Fast forward to civilizations of the early 1800s, and you find that dentures are commonplace, especially for upper class citizens who can afford them. By the time of the 20th century, technology had advanced to the point where denture costs had been reduced significantly, and they looked and fit patients mouths much better.
Nowadays, still-improving technology can create dentures that are very realistic-looking, and they can be enhanced significantly for better chewing and speaking capability. They still hold strong appeal, because they are one of the most affordable options for missing teeth. However, even with advanced technology, there are some drawbacks to traditional dentures that might cause you to consider other alternatives. For instance, the only real security for these dentures is provided by an adhesive between the dental appliance and the gum line, which means they basically rest on your gums.
Upper dentures tend to be a little more stable than lower dentures, since they are equipped with an acrylic plate that adheres by suction to the roof of your mouth. Unfortunately, that same acrylic plate interferes with the taste of food, as well as how it feels in your mouth. Another notable drawback of traditional dentures is that they don’t do anything to prevent resorption, which is the ongoing jaw bone loss resulting from tooth loss.
When there’s nothing in place to stimulate the jaw bone, resorption begins to take place, and jaw bone mass will steadily diminish. This in turn, sometimes leads to the development of wrinkles or other aging signs, and it may also require some adjustment of your dentures.
What are implant-supported dentures?
Almost all of the drawbacks and limitations of traditional dentures are overcome by implant-supported dentures. Instead of just resting on the gums and rubbing against them, implant-supported are actually anchored firmly into the jaw bone by titanium posts, which get physically installed during surgery. These titanium posts fuse with the jaw bone through a process known as osseointegration, and become a permanent part of your jaw bone. This provides tremendous support and stability for the dentures which get installed over the implants. It also significantly reduces the potential for jaw bone loss, because the implants do stimulate the jaw bone, and prevent resorption to a large degree.
Which is better?
From the information above, you might think that it’s a slam-dunk in favor of implant-supported dentures, and that traditional dentures might no longer have a place in the catalog of dental solutions. However, this is simply not the case. Traditional dentures continue to be a very popular option for tooth replacement, even in the highly advanced modern world of dentistry. The reason for this is that traditional dentures are by far the most affordable option for replacing some or all of the missing teeth in your mouth.
Many patients are unable to afford dental insurance, and can’t afford to enroll in payment plans that may be offered by their dental practitioner. When cost is of primary concern, it generally tips the scales toward traditional dentures as being a more attainable dental solution. Traditional dentures have made tremendous improvements in technology over the years, allowing them to be much better looking than they originally were, and much more effective as well.
Some of the drawbacks of traditional dentures can be overcome by undergoing periodic maintenance with your dentist. The degree and frequency of slippage can be reduced, and friction between the appliance and the gum line can be minimized. When you’re really conscious about maintenance of your traditional dentures, they can remain a viable solution for missing teeth for a very long time. Even if your traditional dentures need to be replaced at some point, they may still end up being a more affordable option than implant-supported or all-on-4 implants.
When you’re a dental patient faced with the need to choose between alternatives for tooth replacement, you should keep all this information in mind, so that you’re able to reach a decision that is in sync with your personal circumstances. You may have heard a great deal of discussion about the pros and cons of the various dental solutions available to people who have lost several teeth.
However, keep in mind that all this discussion revolves around whether it’s more favorable for other patients, not for you specifically. The solution you choose for yourself should be one that best fits your own circumstances, and which has nothing to do with what might be beneficial for other patients. When you reach a decision on this basis, you can be sure that whatever the decision is, it’s the best fit for you personally, whether or not it’s best for anyone else.
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