A growing number of dental patients are choosing full mouth dental implants over removable dentures. While the upfront cost of dentures is typically lower, the long-term cost savings and benefits of full mouth dental implants are too compelling to ignore. Below is a look at some of the negative effects of removable dentures and some of the many advantages of dental implants.
What are some of the disadvantages of removable dentures?
In large part due to advances in restorative dentistry, there are now more options than ever for people with missing teeth who wish to improve their appearance. In spite of these treatment options, some people still depend on removable dentures to fill gaps in their smile.
In recent years, removable dentures have been linked to a a variety of health complications. Many of these health problems stem from difficulties consuming certain foods while wearing dentures. Here are some of the key disadvantages of removable dentures:
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Decreased bite force
Bite force is a prime indicator of a healthy masticatory system. People with average oral health who are not missing any teeth have an average bite force of 162 pounds per square inch (PSI). Patients without teeth, on the other hand, may have a bite force of 50 PSI or less.
Removable dentures are also associated with decreased bite force – especially if they are worn long-term. People who wear dentures for more than 15 years are especially likely to experience decreased occlusal force. In most cases, this is due to reduced chewing strength and the instability of dentures, which can reduce bite force by another 15% to 20%.
Difficulty chewing healthy foods
Researchers have found that nearly one-half of denture-wearing patients consume far fewer fruits and vegetables, limiting their consumption of fiber and vitamin A. In fact, studies show that approximately 30 percent of patients who wear dentures are limited to mashed or softened foods, eliminating vitamin-rich foods such as carrots, celery, and whole grain foods.
A reduction in bite force can also have a dramatic effect on a person’s food selection. About half of denture wearers reported that they choose not to eat many of the foods they previously enjoyed eating before wearing dentures and only one in five reported improved eating efficiency.
Higher risk of bone loss
“Denture wearers should know that a large amount of denture adhesive will not necessarily address problems with ill-fitting dentures, and prolonged use of ill-fitting dentures may lead to an increase in bone loss.” – United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Ill-fitting removable dentures are a problem for many patients. According to the FDA, prolonged use of ill-fitting dentures may ultimately lead to increased bone loss. Unfortunately, a common response to this issue is to apply greater amounts of adhesive in an effort to achieve the proper fit. Moreover, many patients are not aware that some denture adhesives contain zinc, which has been linked to nerve damage in people who consume large amounts of the mineral.
Increased gastrointestinal distress
Consumption of high-fiber foods is essential to gastrointestinal health and overall well-being. Due to difficulty chewing foods containing fiber, denture-wearing patients were more likely to seek gastrointestinal medical treatments to aid with their digestion. This correlation was especially pronounced among women.
A shorter life expectancy
Years of impaired food intake, malnutrition, bone loss, and gastrointestinal distress can result in a shorter average lifespan for denture-wearing patients. And because people with missing teeth are less likely to be physically active, they are at increased risk for stroke and heart attack. Finally, studies show that wearing dentures while sleeping can double the risk of pneumonia among elderly patients. As pneumonia is a serious mortality risk among the elderly, patients in their later years may need closer monitoring to ensure that they do not inadvertently leave their dentures in overnight.
Strict Maintenance Instructions
The American Dental Association (ADA) advises patients to adhere to the specific instructions provided by their dentists anytime they wear a denture. The ADA also notes that a denture may lose its shape unless it is kept moist. This means that users must take special care to place their dentures in the proper soaking solution at night or run the risk of damaging them. Following these steps is not always easy or convenient.
In addition to daily dental care, dentures require regular ongoing maintenance. An aging pair of dentures can increase a patient’s risk for plaque, gingivitis and tooth loss. And because a mouth tends to shift over time, adjustments should be made to ensure proper fit and avoid sores.
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Dental Implants: An Affordable Alternative to Removable Dentures
Dental implants are an attractive alternative for the majority of patients with tooth loss. But some patients worry that they may not be able to afford implants. As Houston’s most trusted provider of dental implants, Voss Dental is committed to making the dental implant process affordable for people seeking to transform their smile. Here are some of the many payment options available to patients:
- Financing through third-party lenders
- Customized payment plans offered through Omega
- Special credit programs for eligible patients
The exact cost of dental implants will depend on your individual situation and restorative needs. Before providing treatment, the Voss Dental Specialists team will provide a written treatment plan and help you determine whether your insurance provider may offer coverage. If you lack coverage or have already met your maximum cap, we will work with you to determine which of the above payment options will best meet your needs.
Enjoying Life with Dental Implants
The benefits of dental implants are numerous and life-changing. According to the American College of Prosthodontists, dental implants can “last a lifetime and can improve your appearance, your confidence, and your ability to eat the foods you like, and participate in an active lifestyle, without worrying about your teeth.” And because they are made of titanium, you do not have to worry about dental decay.