When you think of dentures, do you picture the classic children’s wind-up toy of chattering teeth? If so, then perhaps you need a quick primer on the many advances in these prosthetics. Although dentures have always been a careful equation of function and form, today’s dentures may leave you guessing whether a family or friend’s teeth are real or not, and that’s precisely the point.
The purpose of getting dentures has always been about replacing missing teeth, thereby restoring the ability to eat and chew properly and smile confidently. But today’s dentures offer variations that were unimaginable in years past. Yes, these prosthetics have come a long way and are definitely not your grandpa’s dentures.
Haidy Messih, DDS and Basma Armanious, DMD of Loudoun Family and Cosmetic Dentistry in Leesburg, VA, offer their insights on the nuances of today’s dentures.
If you’re one of the more than 120 million Americans who are missing at least one tooth or among the 36 million who don’t have any teeth, you know that tooth loss can take a huge toll not only on your ego and confidence, but it can also have a dramatic effect on the foods you can eat.
The fear of ill-fitting dentures slipping or falling out has kept many denture wearers from enjoying life to its fullest. Fortunately, great strides in both function and form have taken place. The material for the teeth in today’s dentures more closely match the natural look and luster of tooth enamel. In fact, dentures are so much like the real thing that your friends won’t know the difference unless you tell them.
Years ago, the basic choice in dentures was whether you were getting partials or full dentures. A partial replaces at least one missing tooth in your upper or lower jaw, and full dentures replace all of your natural teeth.
Now there are more choices. You can decide if you want your dentures to be removable like traditional dentures or permanently fixed in your mouth, more closely mirroring how your teeth once were.
Perhaps the most dramatic change in dentures happened with the advent of “fixed” or implant-retained dentures. With this variation, patients can choose to have their dentures anchored to implants that are permanently installed in their jawbone, making the fear of slipping dentures a thing of the past.
Instead of having a prosthetic that you remove each night and put back in your mouth the next day, implant-retained dentures are surgically connected to your jawbone using dental implants as the anchor, mimicking the function of natural tooth roots.
With this treatment option, your jawbone fuses around the implants over time to provide a strong and comfortable foundation for your dentures. Not only will you be able to eat all your favorite foods again, but you can also say goodbye to the typical adjustment period common with traditional dentures. It’s a win-win.
If you’re missing teeth and have been considering dentures, schedule a consultation to discuss your options.