Problems With Dentures Are A Thing Of The PastProblems With Dentures Are A Thing Of The Past

Often, as Americans get older, they lose their teeth and end up with either full or partial dentures. In fact, studies show that by the age of seventy-four, twenty-six percent of adults have lost all of their permanent teeth. When the solution has been traditional dentures, either full or partial, patients have endured gagging and gum sores, slipping dentures, problems with eating and a shrinking jaw bone that can lead to other problems. Because dentures (especially lower dentures) move around in the mouth, a patient's ability to bite into and chew their food is greatly decreased which affects their diets and impacts their overall health. Now, however, because of the advance of dental technology in the area of dental implants, full or partial dentures can be secured to the jaw bone which prevents all of the above mentioned problems from happening and a patient is able to eat and chew much in the same manner that they could with their natural teeth.

A dental implant is a titanium screw (or cylinder) that is secured in a patient's jaw bone and acts as a 'tooth root' to which a denture can be secured. These implants come as close as possible in replacing the stability and action of normal teeth by securing dentures to the jaw bone, which prevents the dentures from slipping or moving. Implants can be used to secure either upper or lower full dentures or partial dentures. When a partial denture is involved, an implant is a good choice because the teeth adjoining the partial are not used to secure the partial thus preserving the integrity of the surrounding teeth.

Even though they are firmly secured to the jaw bone, implant supported dentures can be easily removed for cleaning, which makes good dental hygiene easy. And implant supported dentures in the upper jaw give the added bonus of being able to have the roof of the mouth open instead of covered the way it is with a traditional upper denture.

The advantages to implant supported dentures are many:

o They look and feel like real teeth
o Because they fit securely, they do not negatively impact a patient's ability to speak clearly
o They are durable and convenient
o Patients offer have improved self-esteem because the implant supported denture looks and feels like natural teeth
o No more slipping, rubbing or dental adhesives
o Eating once again becomes pleasurable
o They are good for a patient's mouth because they help keep the gum and jaw bone healthy and prevent shrinking

Because dental implants require a surgical procedure to place the screw in the jaw bone, good candidates for implant supported dentures are patients who are in good overall health and have gums that are free of periodontal disease. Patients with implants must be willing to maintain a good oral hygiene routine of brushing, flossing and regular dental visits to ensure that the supporting tissues remain free of any infections or diseases. Patients who smoke or who have diseases such as diabetes might not be good candidates for implant supported dentures, but a thorough dental examination will help to determine whether or not an implant procedure would be successful.
by Dr. Susan Wells
References and Bibliography
Susan Wells DMD practicing dentistry in Warrior, Alabama since 1978.  She treats patients for all aspects of general dentistry including preventive dental care oral hygiene instruction and full scale exams and cleanings. To find out more visit her site at http://DrSusanWells.com.
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