How Dentures Can Improve Your Oral Health
If you’re among the millions of Americans who’ve lost teeth, dentures can improve your oral health in several ways, as well as enhancing your appearance. Whether you’re missing some or all of your teeth, dentures will not only restore your smile but also allow you to eat and speak properly.
Thanks to technological progress, dentures are now far more comfortable and fit better than ever. This means you’re able to express yourself clearly and resume a healthy, balanced diet to get all the nutrients your body needs.
The artificial teeth of dentures are crafted to replicate the function, color, shape, and size of natural teeth.
Full dentures are used if all your teeth are missing. A “conventional” full denture is fitted two or three months after your teeth have been taken out. “Immediate” dentures are placed as soon as teeth are extracted, to provide you with temporary synthetic teeth during the healing process.
Partial dentures are used when you still have some teeth and typically consist of artificial teeth on a base attached to the natural teeth. Partial dentures can also help to maintain the health of your remaining natural teeth.
Why It’s Vital to Replace Missing Teeth
Tooth decay and gum disease take a heavy toll in the U.S. More than 35 million have lost all their lower or upper teeth, or both rows. Twenty-five percent of people aged 65 or over are missing all their teeth.
One of the ways that dentures improve your health is down to the importance of teeth in preserving the structure of your mouth. Because teeth are such a critical component of our anatomy, leaving gaps after tooth loss can have serious consequences.
If some of your teeth are missing, this can lead to a change in your bite force onto your remaining teeth, which over time can shift into the spaces left by the absent teeth. Partial dentures can improve your bite function and prevent remaining teeth from becoming crooked or tilted.
The spaces left by tooth loss may also provide a breeding ground for harmful bacteria and a build-up of plaque, which can cause gum disease (periodontitis) resulting in the loss of more teeth.
The loss of even a single tooth can impair the function of your mouth. If you’ve lost multiple teeth, the effects can be much more serious.
Dentures can improve your oral health by maintaining your jaw alignment and avoiding the debilitating effects of all of the above problems.
How Dentures Improve Your Diet
Dentures enable you to eat a much wider variety of foods than would otherwise be possible – essential for both your oral health and overall wellbeing.
Without replacement teeth, it can be extremely difficult or even impossible to eat a nutritious, balanced diet that helps to keep your gums healthy.
Once you’ve had time to adjust to your dentures, you should be able to eat just about anything as long you’re careful.
You’ll certainly be able to enjoy healthy foods such as lean meats and fresh fruit and vegetables. Other gum-friendly foods that you should be able to manage with dentures include:
- Cheese, which neutralizes acids in your mouth.
- Onions (in soups and stews) to fight bacteria.
- Peppers (in salads) for high levels of vitamin C.
In enabling you to chew effectively, dentures will also improve your digestion.
How Dentures Allow You to Speak Clearly
Although most of us take speech for granted, it’s a complex process involving your lips, tongue, jaw, vocal cords and teeth.
The way you pronounce words is a result of interaction between your teeth and tongue and pressing or curling your lips against your teeth. In the absence of teeth, words will not leave your mouth correctly, resulting in speech impediments such as mumbling and/or slurring.
While dentures solve this problem as functional replacement teeth, they also support your lips and cheeks, which prevents sagging facial muscles that can make it difficult to speak properly.
To get used to speaking with dentures, it may help if you:
- Use a denture adhesive – look for the American Dental Association1 (ADA) Seal of Acceptance.
- Bite and swallow before speaking.
- Practice reading aloud.
How Implant-Retained Dentures Can Prevent Bone Loss
Dental implants and dentures can be combined to provide a permanent, highly-effective solution to tooth loss, particularly in preserving the structure of your jaw. One problem with tooth loss is that the section of underlying, supporting jaw bone can begin to deteriorate.
Like muscle, bone will atrophy without exercise. In the absence of stimulation from a tooth root, your body will perceive the bone as redundant and begin a process of bone resorption –breaking down the tissue and transferring calcium to the bloodstream.
A dental implant creates an artificial tooth root as the biocompatible titanium in the implant fuses with the bone to become a permanent part of your jaw. Dentures anchored by dental implants provide up to 80 percent of normal biting pressure and play a major role in preventing bone loss.
Another benefit of implant-retained dentures2 is that they are often more affordable than individual implants throughout your mouth.
Implant-supported dentures are often used in the front of the mouth, where there tends to be more bone. If you have insufficient quality bone to support an implant, a bone graft may be able to overcome the problem.
Benefits of Dentures in the Digital Age
Dentures have changed dramatically with cutting-edge technology that’s increased the effectiveness of the oral health benefits of dentures – especially the introduction of digital X-rays.
Digital radiography exposes patients to far less radiation and provides higher-quality images to help customize your dentures for the best possible fit.
Even so, it can take some time to adjust to dentures, but once you’ve become used to them you can enjoy all the health improvements they bring, including:
- Eating a balanced diet.
- Being able to speak clearly.
If you have some teeth remaining, a partial denture can also help to stop them from shifting out of place, to optimize your bite function. Implant-supported dentures provide a further benefit in maintaining your oral health by preventing jaw bone loss. As well as improving your oral health, dentures can also boost your self-regard by allowing you to smile, eat and talk with confidence.
Looking After Your Dentures
To make the most of the oral benefits of dentures, you need to take care of them properly by:
- Removing your dentures for daily brushing.
- Cleaning your mouth after taking out your dentures.
- Rinsing your dentures before putting them back in your mouth.
- Removing and rinsing your dentures after eating.
- Soaking your dentures overnight.
- Handling your dentures with care.
- Scheduling regular dental checkups.
- Consulting your dentist if your dentures become loose.
When cleaning your dentures, it’s a good idea to avoid:
- Abrasive cleaning materials.
- Bleaching products.
- Hot water.
When considering to get dentures it is best to meet with a dentist that is experienced in making dentures. Come to Fine Dentistry of Downtown Orlando and meet with our cosmetic dentist, Dr. Trivedi and start on your path to get the smile you have always wanted.