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The importance of taking care of our teeth is something that most of us are taught from a young age. Daily tooth brushing is one of the most common habits in the world today, and something that can go a long way to protecting our teeth from decay and damage.
Nevertheless, despite our best efforts to maintain our dental health, the truth is that tooth loss is a real and common problem. So much so, in fact, that most of us will have lost at least one permanent tooth by the time we reach our mid-thirties, and at least half or more once we reach 60 years of age.
Living with missing teeth is far from enjoyable. While it may be possible to hide one gap at the back of your smile, when you have multiple missing teeth their function and your appearance can be compromised. Eating may become more difficult than it should be, and you may end up changing the way in which you pronounce some words. You might also find that you feel ashamed or embarrassed about the way your smile looks and try to hide your teeth as much as possible.
Dentures have long been known as the gold-standard solution for patients who are missing a large number of teeth in either their upper or lower jaw. While history shows that rudimentary forms of denture were used as far back as 700BC, fortunately the design and materials used in their creation has continued to evolve over the years, resulting in the various denture options we have today.
Conventional dentures are the most basic of design but can still be highly successful. They comprise of replacement teeth which are attached to a pink or gum-colored plastic base. This sits over the top of your gums and is secured in place using special denture adhesive. In some cases, additional metal framework may be used to hold the denture securely in place.
Conventional dentures must be removed daily for cleaning and handled with care as they are extremely fragile. While you can eat some foods while wearing dentures, many patients who want to enjoy something particularly tough, sticky, or chewy choose to remove their denture while they eat.
A very popular alternative to conventional dentures is the implant-supported variety. This is because they combine the benefits of dental implant technology with the design of regular dentures. However, instead of being held in place using adhesive, in this style of denture the device is held in place by being snapped on to dental implant posts. These are small, titanium posts that are fused to the jaw bone and gum and can act as anchors for prosthetic teeth.
Implant-supported dentures are much more secure and robust than conventional varieties, while still being able to be removed if needed.
You may not have heard of the Hader bar, which is a variation on regular implant-supported dentures. The Hader bar is a plastic splint that helps further support the implant posts, creating greater precision in guiding the dentures into the right position and providing more even distribution of the force placed on implant posts.
In most other types of denture, the prosthetic teeth are made from acrylic. While this is very durable and successful, a newer alternative is now available – zirconia. Studies have found that zirconia is the premier material available for creating prosthetic teeth and it is significantly stronger and more stain resistant than acrylic.
A zirconia implant bridge is the name given to a partial denture that is created using zirconia for the replacement teeth.
The good news is that you don’t need to be missing an entire upper or lower arch of teeth to benefit from dentures. Most styles are now available as full or partial designs, enabling you to enjoy the benefits of the solution even if you only a few gaps in your dental arch.
If you are unsure which denture solution is right for you, our experienced and knowledgeable dentist, Dr. Greg Manning, would be delighted to assess your teeth and make a personalized recommendation. Contact our office today to schedule your appointment at 480-405-1300.