The Specialist

Denture alternatives

Many adults wear complete full dentures due to early loss of their natural teeth because of periodontal disease or cavities. Many full denture wearers feel like they are stuck with dentures for the rest of their lives. Well, dental implants can be a game changer for denture wearers.

In this column, I will address full dentures and how dental implants can enhance your comfort, confidence and smile.

A full denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth and surrounding tissues. Two types of dentures are available – complete or partial dentures. Complete dentures are used when all teeth are missing, while partial dentures are used when some natural teeth remain.

Full dentures can be either “conventional” or “immediate”. Conventional dentures are made after the teeth have been removed and the gum tissue is healed. Also, conventional dentures are ready for placement in the mouth about four to eight weeks after the teeth have been removed.

Immediate dentures, on the other hand, are made in advance after an impression of the existing teeth is taken. It is then inserted immediately when the teeth are removed. As a result, the denture wearer does not have to be without teeth during the healing period. Since the bones and gums shrink after teeth removal, the immediate denture must be adjusted and relined as the gums continue to shrink. So, despite the convenience of immediate placement of the immediate denture, the disadvantage as compared with conventional dentures is that they require more adjustments to fit properly. As a result, immediate dentures should only be considered a temporary solution until conventional dentures can be made.

Most common complaints of denture wearers:

• Sore and sometime painful gums, due to adjustments and ill-fitting dentures.

• Bad taste from odors absorbed in the denture.

• Loose dentures, therefore need to use denture glue or paste.

• Poor tasting ability, especially when the palate is covered.

• Inability to take a solid bite of food because the denture rests on gums.

• Dentures need to be taken out of the mouth daily for relief of tissues.

• Speaking challenges for some people.

Dental implants are proven alternatives to combat the challenges of wearing full dentures. Dental implants can be used to support overdentures and bridges thus eliminating the need for conventional dentures. Implants tend to stimulate the bone like natural teeth which causes the structure of the face to remain.

Benefits of dental implants:

• Restores the ability to chew and speak without the feel of artificial teeth.

• Restores cosmetic appearance.

• Helps to keep the jawbone from shrinking due to bone loss.

• Preserves the health of the surrounding bone and gums.

• Helps to keep teeth around the implant stable.

• Improves quality of life and promotes good health.

Dental implants are long term and resilient. In fact, implants can last a lifetime if taken cared of properly.

Unlike dentures, dental implants are not removable, making them very comfortable for everyday activities like eating and speaking. With generally healthy gums, and adequate bone, the majority of persons can benefit from dental implants.

• Dr. Kendal V.O. Major is the founder and CEO of the Center for Specialized Dentistry, which is a comprehensive family dental practice operating in New Providence and Grand Bahama. He is the first Bahamian specialist in gum diseases and dental implants since 1989. He is also a certified fast braces provider. His practice is located at 89 Collins Avenue, New Providence. He can be contacted at (242) 325-5165 or

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