We hope that you keep all your teeth for your entire life, but we encourage you to take a moment to think about what you would do if you lost an entire row of teeth.
Would you try to live without them? Would you get dentures? Should you get implant-supported dentures instead?
Today we want to discuss your different options in case you ever need to make that decision. If you are already missing teeth or have dentures, you also may find this worthwhile.
Our dentists want our patients in and around Modesto, CA, to have the best quality of life possible. It’s the reason we want you to be aware of your options in restorative dentistry.
Living Without Teeth
Let’s assume for a moment that you are missing your bottom teeth. This could affect your physical and emotional well-being.
On the physical side, the most obvious change is in how and what you can eat. Without teeth to bite and chew your food, your options will be more limited. You may love mashed potatoes and soup, but even they can get old after a while.
Losing teeth will change your smile as well. Some people find their lack of teeth amusing (at first), but many people become self-conscious as well. This can make people hesitant to smile or even speak if they are worried about other people noticing that their teeth are missing.
That, in turn, can affect how you are perceived by others, too.
Below your gums, something else is happening, too. Your jaw will be shrinking. Without teeth — or more specifically without roots — to stimulate your jawbone, it will not create new bone tissue to replace old tissue. The result is a jaw that’s getting small, which also explains why many people without teeth look as if their faces are pulling in on themselves.
Living With Dentures
Let’s assume you decide to get dentures. How might this be different than living without teeth?
For starters, you would have something that at the very least looks like teeth in your mouth. Most people need a little time to adjust to wearing dentures, but once you do, you will likely feel more confident smiling and speaking as well.
You will be able to eat more things with dentures than you can without teeth. You also should be aware that this won’t be the same as eating with your natural teeth.
Research has shown that patients with dentures can learn to eat many things effectively. At the same time, you will only have a fraction of the bite force of someone with all of his or her natural teeth.
You may not be able to bite into a fresh, crisp apple for example, but you might be able to eat small pieces at a time. With time and practice, you will learn what you can and can’t eat.
It’s also important to keep in mind that dentures rest outside your gums. Without a direct connection to your jaw, your jawbone may still shrink. That can affect how your dentures fit, and you may need to have them refitted or replaced from time to time.
Living With Implant-Supported Dentures
If this is something you are interested in, our dentists can talk to you about implants.
Dental implants are replacements for the roots of your teeth. A series of implants can be placed in your jawbone by someone with expertise in this procedure. Then a set of dentures can be attached to your implants.
This can make your dentures more stable and secure. Your dentures will still give you the appearance of a full set of teeth, but you will be able to put more force into your bite.
The implants effectively anchor your dentures to your jaw. This also creates the connection needed to stimulate your jaw so it continues to make new bone tissue.
With implant-supported dentures, you may find that you can eat all the foods that you could eat before you lost your teeth.
What Will You Do?
You may never need to make this decision, but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared in case you do. Just call Sierra Dental Care at 209-846-3961 or contact us online with your questions about dentures or any other kind of restorative dentistry.