Our Wickford dentist asks whether newer alternatives eliminate the need for this traditional tooth replacement method
Dentures have been around for a very long time indeed. In fact, it is believed that the first dentures were made in around the 7th Century BC. These are believed to have been largely ‘cosmetic’ with the replacement teeth being made from animal and human teeth, though where these came from probably doesn’t bear thinking about!
More recently, the precursor to today’s modern dentures were first made by British physician Alexis Duchateau in 1774 and were made from porcelain. Since then, there have been many advances and modern dentures certainly now look and feel more natural and are more comfortable, with some even having the ability to flex with the mouth. Even these advances can’t fully compensate for the loss of the tooth root which means that they can be a little unstable on occasions. This can sometimes cause speech problems and sore gums as they move around.
In many people’s minds, dentures are a thing of the past, and more and more patients of the Cygnet Dental Practice are turning to implants to replace a missing tooth or teeth. Although dental implants do require minor invasive surgery, they provide the patient with a replacement tooth which looks and feels natural and most importantly, is extremely strong and stable. Teeth implants can also last for twenty years or more, with good care, and can be looked after almost like a natural tooth.
Given that it is widely considered that these are superior to dentures, the question arises as to whether dentures still have a role to play in dentistry and who would be likely candidates to use them?
One of the most obvious reasons to choose dentures over dental implants is the cost and there is no disputing that implants require a more significant financial outlay initially. Dentures do offer a cheaper alternative but patients should note that providing you look after your implants correctly, there should be no significant extra expense whereas dentures may need adjusting and repairing throughout their lifespan.
Although implants offer an excellent replacement tooth solution as they are both strong and stable and also long lasting, they do require a procedure that can take a little longer than many others. This can be challenging for most patients but for those who have a fear or phobia of visiting the dentist, especially so. Although we can offer help to our nervous Wickford patients, the fact that dentures often require no invasive surgery means that they are still a popular choice with those who wish to minimise the amount of treatment they receive.
Contact sports such as football, rugby and even cricket carry an increased risk of damage to the teeth following a blow to the mouth, whether that be from an elbow or the ball. For those taking part in contact sports regularly, it might be prudent to continue wearing dentures until you have retired. Whilst implants are strong, any damage to the implant or bone could mean the loss of the dental implant. It is also worth considering wearing a mouth guard to protect your teeth, whether you have teeth implants or not.
Finally, those reaching the later stage of their life may decide that dentures are more appropriate for them. Implants can really make a difference to the quality of life for older people and allow them to eat more easily again, but the combination of an invasive treatment and the potential need for a bone graft where jaw bone density has degraded, may deter them. Good quality dentures can still offer a good eating experience though and we are always happy to discuss the options with patients of any age.
If you aren’t happy with your dentures and would like to find out more about dental implants, we are always happy to help. However, for anyone seeking dentures, you can be sure that those we provide are of excellent quality. For more information on dentures or implants, please call the Cygnet Dental Practice on 01268 733078.