That’s a great question and I am glad that you asked it. Before we answer that, let’s talk about life before implants. Our natural teeth are anchored into bone in our mouths. This bone holds the teeth tightly and is surrounded by pink gum to aid in protecting the bone from harmful bacteria which could cause infection and destroy the bone. The same way that our skin protects whats in side the body from the environment, our gums protect our bone in the mouth which support the teeth from damage from external sources.
Once we lose our teeth, we need something to replace them to allow us to eat the proper foods and reduce the load on our digestive system. If we can’t chew, then the stomach and the rest of the digestive system would have to break down foods in their entirety to obtain the nutrients that they contain. This puts a lot of strain on these organs and is not the way they are intended to work.
I used the phrase “lose our teeth”. There are two common reasons for tooth loss. The first is cavities and the second is gum disease and the associated bone loss.
If teeth are lost due to decay, then the bone is essentially intact. If we have gum disease leading to tooth loss, then the supporting bone around the teeth is gone. It has been destroyed, Now let’s fast forward to a denture. A denture is not glued or attached to your gum and underlying bone. It rest on the bone and gums. The more bone that is present, potentially gives more stability to the dentures. If they are more stable, then they become more efficient during chewing. This does not mean that they may not move, but it means that there is less movement. This allows you to control them better with your cheeks and tongue. All this translates into the ability to chew better.
If teeth are lost due to gum disease, the underlying bone is minimal or almost non-existent. This greatly reduces the stability of the denture and you need much more effort to chew your foods. This is because you are also trying to stabilize a loose denture. Even if you loose teeth due to tooth decay, the bone eventually shrinks and you may transition from dentures that once fit well to a sloppy fit.
This is where implants fit in. Dental implants allow your denture to be held more securely to the jaw and reduces or eliminates movement. You can now concentrate on chewing rather than expending your energy trying to balance the denture. So the short answer to the question is that everyone can benefit from a more stable denture. Implants, depending on the amount and placement, will give you various degrees of stability. This will range from minimal to totally stable depending upon the techniques used and number of implant. However, for some people, living with a denture is not a hardship and implants are just the icing on the cake.
When I see a patient for a consultation regarding dentures. I tell them oftentimes that first we will make their denture and assess the need for implants. The implants can always be added to help anchor a new or existing denture. So my patients do not have to worry about making a decision from the beginning regarding implants unless they desire to do that. Whether we make a digital denture, conventional or even our newest custom denture which is more affordable to some, implants can be added after the fact.
If you are struggling with your denture or are contemplating moving to a set of dentures, let me advise you on what is best for your situation. You will always see me and not worry about seeing a different dentist at different appointments. I will follow you through from start to finish and be there after all is completed to take care of you. As my patient told me yesterday, “: I am impressed with you level of dedication to me” I just smiled and said “thank you” because I am committed to you. Call me at 440.951.7856 and make an appointment for a free consultation.