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Phone: 989-773-3560

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Dentures 101

Dentures 101

In this month’s first blog, we talked about some of the pros and cons involved with replacing all or most of your teeth with dentures. For this second March blog, let’s get into this long-time solution for replacing teeth, and let’s cover Dr. Egger’s favorite modern improvement — supporting dentures with implants.

A little history

Dentures are nothing new. They’ve been around as long as people have been losing their teeth due to decay. Their first use is traced back to the 7th century B.C. when the Etruscans made partial dentures out of human or animal teeth and tied them together with gold bands. The Romans made even better dentures. The Japanese invented wooden dentures in the 16th century.

Surely the most famous denture wearer was George Washington, although he didn’t wear wooden dentures, as the wives’ tale claims. Instead Georgie’s chompers were made with ivory from hippos and elephants, gold rivets, spiral springs, and real human teeth.

If you have good teeth, you’ll be surprised to hear that one quarter of U.S people over 65 have lost most or all of their teeth! Even more surprisingly, many of those people have opted not to replace their missing teeth with dentures or a boatload of implants. Instead, they don’t eat many types of foods, have speech issues, and, most critically, lose bone mass in their jawbone leading to a collapse of their lower face.

But it doesn’t have to be that way — dentures, whether full or partial, can give you back a beautiful, functional smile. At Dr. Egger’s, we offer full dentures, partial dentures, and implant-retained dentures. Although fully replacing teeth with implants is preferable, dentures can surely be a cost-effective alternative.

The benefits of dentures

Dentures can:

  • Improve your ability to chew and bite properly and make it easier to eat a healthy diet rich in crunchy fruits and vegetables.
  • Help you look more youthful with the restoration of your gums, teeth, and jawbone.
  • Improve your self-esteem. You can smile and laugh without feeling embarrassed about the way you look.
  • Make it easier to communicate and speak clearly.

Partial or full?

This decision depends, of course, on if you have any remaining teeth. Partial dentures are preferred because we can use any remaining teeth as anchors. With partial dentures, crowns are put on top of the remaining natural teeth, serving as anchors for the artificial teeth in between. Partial dentures fill the spaces created by the missing teeth and also prevent the remaining teeth from moving into those open spaces. Partial dentures can be removable or permanent, depending on the number of remaining teeth.

Full dentures replace all of your teeth. To prepare for the full dentures, any remaining badly decayed teeth are removed. Instead of anchors, full dentures are held in place through pressure provided by the tongue and cheeks, and suction. Adhesive can be used to add stability. That’s why Dr. Egger spends a good deal of time getting the fit of your dentures exactly right.

Implants + dentures

A better solution, even if you’ve lost all of your teeth, is using dental implants to anchor your dentures. Implants are titanium posts that are inserted into the former tooth sockets. The jawbone is allowed to grow back around the implants, making them similar to natural tooth roots. The dentures attach to those implants, which are placed at various necessary support positions in the upper and lower jaw. Implant-supported dentures have several advantages:

  • Dentures don’t move, rub, and cause irritation because they are anchored in place by the implants.
  • The dentures don’t slip when speaking, biting, or chewing.
  • Because they don’t slip, food debris doesn’t get stuck under the dentures while eating.
  • The risk for bone loss is reduced, as implants maintain the normal downward pressure that stimulates the jawbone.
  • Lower jaw dentures are more stable compared to traditional prosthetics.

Now you know everything to know about dentures. Question is, what are you going to do with your missing teeth? Call Dr. Egger at (989) 773-3560, and let’s discuss getting your smile back with partial or full dentures.