Even if you’re fastidious about caring for your teeth, you may still get cavities or lose teeth as you age. The issue may come from certain medications, tobacco, even natural gum recession, which can all lead to tooth decay.
“The rate of tooth decay in people over 65 now outpaces that of schoolchildren,” according to Harvard Health.
As you consider how to replace any teeth you’ve lost, dentures have likely come up as a possible solution. After all, they look like natural teeth and can be removed for cleaning. Unfortunately, they also come with their own set of problems, according to Colgate the main issues are:
· Slipping — Because dentures are not attached to your gums the way teeth are, they slip out of place when you speak, laugh, smile, or cough. Dental adhesives help alleviate this problem.
· Difficulty speaking — When you start wearing dentures, speaking can feel awkward. You’ll need to learn to move your tongue in new ways around your teeth to articulate clearly.
· Difficulty eating — Dentures can move out of position when you bite down or chew. Certain foods can also get stuck under dentures.
· Cleaning issues — Dentures must be cleaned daily with a soft-bristled brush and kept moist when not worn to help them keep their shape.
“The most common complaint I hear from patients is the shifting of the denture when they eat,” says Dr. Everett Wu, board-certified periodontist at High Point Perio. “When you put a force on the denture when chewing, it can cause rubbing in certain areas which, in return, creates sore spots.”
Periodontists are dentists who specialize in the treatment of gum disease and placing dental implants. In his line of work, Dr. Wu says he comes across many people who are dissatisfied with their dentures and are looking for a long-term solution.
For example, the pain and instability of dentures could lead to serious problems as you chew less efficiently.
“This creates the larger problem of eating less and going to less social functions, both of which, as people age, become a vital importance,” Dr. Wu says.
The long-term solution people are looking for — and the one that may work for you — is dental implants. Implants have the look and feel of natural teeth. They have posts that connects them to bone, allowing them to function the same as your original teeth.
Implants can replace a single tooth or several. If you need an arch of teeth replaced, a cost-saving option is to have anchor teeth implanted at either end of the arch. Then, the rest of your teeth are mounted to a removable denture arch that attaches to the anchor teeth.
To move forward with the implant procedure, you need to be in good general and oral health, and have enough bone in your jaw to support the implant, according to the American Academy of Periodontology.
The implant process starts with examining whether you have enough available bone for surgery. If not, you can have a grafting procedure to provide enough bone for future implant placement. This takes three to six months, after which your post can be installed. When it heals, the tooth crown is mounted on it.
Although you must be committed to the procedure throughout the months it takes, it’s a small price to pay when you don’t want to wear traditional dentures.
For more information on dental implants, visit High Point Perio online, or call the numbers on the website to make an appointment at its Fairview Park or Green location.