There is clear evidence that early tooth loss and poor fitting dentures translate to a lower quality of life. In fact, people who lose their teeth early and are compelled to wear dentures, have a lower life expectancy than people who maintain most of their teeth. Poor fitting dentures are far too common among our population. As a result, patients often complain of soreness, ulcerations and limited ability to properly eat their foods.
Three dangers of early tooth and poor fitting dentures:
• Wearing dentures causes accelerated bone loss resulting in the loss of facial support. This causes your face to look sunken, therefore, contributing to you looking older much sooner than expected.
Denture wearers are constantly adjusting their dentures to get that perfect fit. Unfortunately, the reality of a perfect fit usually never happens with dentures. The lower full denture is particularly difficult because it has nothing really to attach it into place. Only the bone and covering gum tissue holds it and the pressure results in bone loss. So, not only does the denture not fit properly, but the facial muscles deteriorate making you look older. The lips then become thinner and finally the nose moves closer to the chin. The final result, is a more prominent nose and chin, while the mouth and cheeks are sunken. The skin responds by appearing wrinkled with deep folds in the corners of the mouth.
• Poorly fitting partial dentures increase your risk of tooth loss and gum disease.
Poor fitting dentures cause pain, suffering and poor nutrition.
Dentures are not natural. They are false teeth. As a result, the underlying bone dissolves faster due to the surrounding uneven pressures on the bone. This pressure is an unnatural pressure. The pressure applied by a natural tooth or implant is a vertical force, which stimulates and strengthens the bone.
Partial dentures need the underlying gums and remaining teeth to stay in the mouth. Many times, the partial dentures have clasps to allow the denture to be retained by the natural teeth. Also, pressure on the gums and bone cause bone loss, like full dentures. Since teeth help with retention, the clasps place more pressure on them. The result is these teeth eventually weaken and becomes loose. Also, the partial sinks as the bone below is lost. It also rubs the gums and underlying bone below the denture causing faster bone loss around the natural teeth.
• Early tooth loss and dentures may reduce your life span.
What foods are you eating now? Do you know what foods to avoid? Often, the foods you avoid are the very foods that you need for proper nutrition. When was the last time you comfortably ate fresh vegetables or whole grains? A consistent serving of fresh fruits and vegetables each day is the exact prescription for cancer and heart disease prevention. Imagine having teeth that feel real that you could actually chew with! These improvements can be life-changing. You would not shy away from those healthy foods again, because you would now be able to enjoy them once again. Saving your teeth goes a long way toward longevity of life.
In my previous column, I spoke to the lifespan of a denture being five years. If dentures are attached to implants, it could last more than 20 years. This is because implants are the closest invention to a natural tooth. The implant stimulates the bone when vertical pressure is applied. That pressure stimulation is a natural force that helps the bone to stay strong and is essential to preserve the underlying bone.
So, enjoy healthy oral and general health by preserving your teeth. If you lose your teeth, replace them with good fitting prosthetics or even better, with implants, to preserve your bone. Healthy teeth and gums guarantee good mastication, which leads to improved nutrition. A healthy mouth adds value to your desire to live a life well lived.
• Dr. Kendal V. O. Major is founder and CEO of Center for Specialized Dentistry, 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 Fastbraces provider. His practice is located at 89 Collins Avenue. He can be reached at telephone (242) 325-5165 or email@example.com.