Whilst wearing dentures is not the only choice left to individuals who have lost teeth, (refer to implants and bridges), they are a practical solution for many millions of people worldwide, especially where there has been an extensive loss of teeth.
If you have been wearing dentures for more than three years, it is likely that you have already suffered some bone resorption (bone loss). This is quite normal, but will have resulted in a change of facial shape, resulting in an older, more lined facial appearance. As this is a slow process, you may not have realised that this has occurred and you may feel that your older appearance is just part of getting older. However, your denture may be making you look a lot older than you actually are.
It is recommended that you have your dentures “relined”, usually every three to five years. Whilst your denture may feel quite comfortable, your muscles are actually tightening around your dentures as your bone support falls away. This process actually accelerates the bone resorption rate, gums soften, and the muscles will gradually take over the task of supporting the denture.
Unfortunately, there comes a time when your muscles can no longer support your denture. A new denture can be made, but it can take months for the extremely soft and unstable tissue to settle. Extreme cases may even require oral surgery to remove the soft tissue and tighten the remaining tissue over the gums.
Dentures should preferably be checked on a yearly basis to ensure constant fit and good oral health. Your dentist will also do a routine cancer check which is more important than ever as you age.
You will be surprised at how much difference a well fitting denture makes not only to how well you can eat, but also to how good you can look!
Advances in Denture Technology
In an effort to delay bone resorption, which is an unwanted but inevitable result of tooth loss, your dentist may suggest that you try to save some tooth roots with root canal treatment, or have some implants placed. Magnets can then be placed inside these roots or implants. These remaining roots or dental implants act as anchors to secure the denture in place. Even several tooth roots can drastically minimise bone resorption, leading to statistically, a much longer and healthier lifestyle.
Neuromuscular Dentistry is another discipline of dentistry open to denture wearers. This is useful to those patients who suffer TMJ/TMD problems such as headache, jaw pain, and neck pain. We have had fantastic results doing neuromuscular work-ups on denture patients, with patients telling us that not only are they getting relief from long term TMD symptoms, but that their new dentures are the best fitting ones they have ever had.