If you're missing more than a few teeth, it's probably time for you to start thinking about tooth replacement. You may need a partial denture or--depending on the health of your remaining teeth--you may opt to have all of your teeth removed and a full set of dentures made instead. You could also opt for dental implants. There are arguments to be made for both dentures and dental implants, but it's important to consider that dental implants may be better not just for your mouth, but for your overall health. Take a look at a few reasons why that might be.
Dentures may look like teeth, but functionally, they are not the best replacement out there for your regular teeth. You probably don't think about it much, but it takes some strength to eat most of the foods that you consume. With your natural teeth, you have about 200-250 pounds of bite force. With dentures, that drops to about 50 pounds of bite force. That means you're going to have a significantly more difficult time eating everything from apples and carrots to beef and pork.
You'll most likely find yourself eating different foods or taking much longer to eat your regular choices. You may also swallow without chewing as thoroughly as you should, and food may become less appealing altogether because eating is so difficult. This kind of limitation on your diet is almost certain to have an effect on your health.
For example, if your food is not well-chewed, you may end up with food fragments that are too big to be digested properly. This can lead to indigestion and bacteria growth. If you switch to only soft foods, you may miss out on important nutrients that you were getting when you had a more varied diet. If food loses its appeal entirely, then you could become underweight or malnourished due to not eating enough.
But with dental implants, you retain your original amount of bite power. Dental implants have titanium posts that take the place of the tooth root, and these bond to the bone in your jaw. Because they're actually attached to the jaw bone, they allow you to chew the same way that you did with your natural teeth in. This helps you avoid the negative effects of a diet limited by dentures. You don't have to alter your diet, and you can chew your food properly.
One important consequence of losing teeth is that once you start losing teeth, you also begin to lose bone. The bone in your jaw needs frequent stimulation, and without it, you begin to lose bone density. Normally, you get the stimulation you need from your teeth. They connect with each other frequently throughout the day – when you chew, when you talk, and even while you sleep. These connections stimulate the bone and allow it to rebuild itself as needed. But when you lose teeth, the bone begins to deteriorate in those areas.
Dentures don't do anything to help you rebuild lost bone density. They sit on top of your gums, and do not come in contact with the bone, so even if your upper and lower dentures come in contact with each other, it doesn't provide the jaw bone with any stimulation.
On the other hand, if you have dental implants, they do in fact help stimulate bone growth. Remember, dental implants include a titanium root replacement that bonds with your jawbone. That means that when your implants connect with your other teeth or implants, your bone is getting the stimulation that it needs to rebuild and stay strong and healthy.
Dentures may replace your teeth, but only dental implants can help you maintain a healthy diet and proper bone growth in your jaw. If you're in need of replacement teeth, discuss the option of dental implants with your dentist, someone like John P Poovey DMD PC, to find out if they're the right choice for you.