Understanding the Challenges of Removable Dentures

Understanding the Challenges of Removable Dentures

This article describes the various challenges and disadvantages of relying upon removable dentures or ‘false teeth’ as a tooth replacement solution.

Remember when your grandfather’s removable dentures were the source of much hilarity amongst you and your brothers and sisters? How the tables have turned! Now, as you enter into your late adulthood, you yourself may be facing the need for a tooth replacement solution, whether it is now or in a few years’ time. In spite of the development of sophisticated dental implant products and surgical placement protocol, many edentulous (not having a single original adult tooth left) and near-edentulous patients still opt for removable dentures. But what few of these patients understand about this rather archaic technology, is that it is an incredibly rudimentary solution to rampant tooth loss and edentulism; one that goes hand-in-hand with a whole suite of challenges and repeated costs. So, if you have been considering a tooth replacement technology, perhaps now is the time to deviate from the footsteps of your grandparents!

Challenges Associated with Removable Dentures

As a tooth replacement technology, removable dentures are primarily meant to enable you to eat properly. And while they may achieve this goal to a certain extent, they also:

  • Impede your ability to taste properly
  • May trigger the gag reflex
  • Harbor food and bacteria, contributing to bad breath
  • Require removal after meals and at nighttime for cleaning

Also, let’s not forget that removable dentures, as the name suggests, are not fixed in the mouth. They are free to shift around and can even fall out. Dentures actually rely upon the underlying gums and jaw bone ridge for support. In other words, all the forces and pressures associated with chewing, grinding and biting are transmitted directly to this soft tissue. As you can imagine, over time, eating and speaking can become acutely painful. The gums can become inflamed and irritated and develop sores that aren’t allowed to heal. This necessitates a constant investment in products such as anesthetic gels (to alleviate the discomfort) and adhesives (to prevent dentures from slipping).

These challenges can certainly take the zeal out of one’s day-to-day activities. Especially when you are forced to plan your meals and social engagements around your teeth. But there is another problem associated with false teeth; one that extends below the gum line. Because dentures do not replace the source of stimulation formerly provided by the tooth roots, the underlying jaw bone begins to atrophy and waste away. Over time, the changing shape of the jaw bone results in that aged and sunken appearance about the mouth we typically associate with the elderly. So you can say goodbye to your youthful facial contours. Moreover, the loss of bone volume requires dentures to be refitted every few years or so, and this costs patients more and more money.

The Smarter Choice

Making that initial choice to have missing and failing teeth replaced with dental implants is a smart investment that will ensure the longevity of your good oral health and youthful facial contours. Dental implants are, in functionality, feel and aesthetics, virtually indistinguishable from your natural adult teeth, so they come with none of the challenges and repeated expenses that dentures do. While they may come at a higher price initially, the benefits they afford in comfort, confidence and quality of life more than compensate. Furthermore, they very seldom require restoration. Dental implants as a replacement solution to multiple missing teeth are definitely the smarter choice!