Don’t Want Dentures? What Are Your Alternatives?

Although dentures are still widely used, not everybody sees them as a great solution

Implant stabilised denturesDentures have been around for centuries and have become an accepted standard for replacing missing teeth.

Over the years, these have gone from what were pretty basic, and often uncomfortable and unnatural looking replacement teeth, to modern versions which offer a much more acceptable appearance and are generally more comfortable too. So why are people increasingly looking for alternatives?

Today’s Cygnet Dental blog takes a look at why an increasing number of people are turning away from dentures and also looks at alternative solutions that we offer patients of our Wickford dental practice.

What’s ‘wrong’ with dentures?

Dentures aren’t a ‘bad’ thing and many people live quite comfortably with them every day. In many cases though, dentures do mean making compromises in the way that you conduct your daily life. Most of us will have seen cartoons where someone sneezes and their dentures fly across the room. This is obviously an exaggeration but they can be unstable to some degree and may have a tendency to move around in the mouth. Whilst this can be embarrassing on those relatively rare occasions where people notice them moving, more often than not, this instability causes discomfort due to friction against the gums making them sore, or means that wearers choose their foods carefully based more on how difficult they are to eat, than how they taste.

In addition to the above, dentures are also somewhat fiddly to clean and require their removal during sleep.

Can’t you just leave a gap?

Whether you want to leave a gap in your teeth may well depend on where the tooth was lost. Very few people will want to leave a gap where a very visible front tooth was, but it may be more tempting to leave a gap where it is more hidden. Although this might be understandable, the fact is that a gap in the teeth means that the adjacent teeth are likely to encroach into that area which then also creates a new gap that other teeth can move into. This ‘domino effect’ can eventually lead to crooked and uneven teeth.

In addition to this, if it is a rear tooth that we use to grind food that has been lost, we are likely to transfer this action to other teeth that are less suitable for this purpose. This can cause premature wearing down of the tooth enamel and/or breaking of other teeth.

What’s the best alternative?

Other than leaving a gap in the teeth, there are really just 2 options available. The first of these is a bridge. This involves attaching a replacement tooth to two crowns which are then attached to the teeth either side of the gap which have been previously prepared. Although this does offer a reasonably strong solution, many people are understandably very reluctant to have healthy teeth shaped so that the crowns can be fitted.

This then leaves one other option, which in our opinion is an excellent solution, in the form of dental implants. These are unique in tooth replacement procedures as they not only replace the crown section of the tooth that is visible, but the underlying root too. This is important as it is this that makes them so strong and also very stable. Although it does require some dental surgery to place implants, once this has been done and a short period of recovery time has passed, you will be left with replacement teeth that both look and feel incredibly natural and offer a level of strength that matches that of even a healthy natural tooth.

Dental implants can be placed to replace either individual teeth, or multiple teeth where consecutive teeth are missing. This is done by creating a bridge of teeth and instead of using crowns to secure them as mentioned previously, dental implants are used instead. This means that no natural teeth have to be prepared beforehand. This method is also often used for full arch replacement where all, or nearly all, teeth have been lost on the upper or lower jaw.

I’m OK with dentures but would like them not to move around so much

It is a fact that some people have been living with their dentures for many years and may be generally happy with them and how they look. Any instability might be relatively small but still inconvenient from time to time. For those in this situation, it is worth mentioning that it is possible to keep your dentures but have them stabilised using implants. If you would like to know more about this treatment, please talk to one of our Wickford team.

Naturally, we hope that with good care and regular checkups at our dental practice, you will manage to keep all of your own teeth. The reality though is that few people manage to achieve this and even the healthiest of teeth can break in the event of an accident. We are always happy to talk you through the various tooth replacement treatments that we have available at Cygnet Dental and discuss your options with you.

To make an appointment with us, please call our reception team on 01268 733078.