Switching to dentures is a big change, and it can have some unexpected consequences. As we loose teeth we also lose bone density, but dentures can help slow or mitigate this bone loss. Our jaws are responsible for supporting and anchoring our teeth, and when removing those teeth it leaves gaps in our jawbones.
The bone that supports our teeth is referred to as the alveolar bone, which loses density when our teeth are lost or extracted. The alveolar bone is a critical part of supporting our dentures, whether they are removable or fixed. When teeth, and their roots, are removed it leaves gaps in our jawbones, which further encourages bone loss. Implant supported dentures are particularly effective at combating bone loss, as the implanted portion of the denture can fill the void in the jaw bone left by tooth loss.
Another way bone loss can be minimized is to preserve as many natural teeth at the back of your mouth as possible and use them to anchor your dentures.
Preventing Bone Loss With Dentures
When you first need dentures your denturist will start with an immediate denture. An immediate denture is usually the first type of denture a patient has and tends to immediately follow either a full extraction (removing all remaining teeth) or partial extraction (removing some remaining teeth). Depending on whether or not the patient has any teeth remaining they will require either partial denture or a complete denture.
Transitioning to an immediate denture can be an uncomfortable process. To help reduce the amount of discomfort Chinook Denture Clinic outfits all of our immediate denture patients with four temporary liners, which are placed in your dentures at 45-day intervals.
The liners need to be replaced because as your mouth heals your bones and gums will shrink, changing the fit of your immediate dentures. Once your mouth has completely healed we then remove the temporary liners and permanently reline your dentures, transforming them into complete dentures.
Because dentures can either supplement remaining teeth or act as a complete substitute they are also able to help slow down the bone loss process. The reason implant supported dentures, in particular, are so effective is because the implant acts as a replacement for the natural tooth’s root, allowing it to exert a similar pressure on the jaw bone and keep the bone from eroding.
The Importance of Properly Fitted Dentures
Properly fitted dentures are key to minimizing bone loss. When our dentures fit properly we are able to chew properly and ensure that we are eating a balanced diet. Dentures that are either too snug or too loose can cause sores and other discomfort and can dictate the foods we eat.
Nutrients such as calcium and Vitamin D are key to reducing and even preventing bone loss, so it is important that we are able to eat foods that contain these nutrients.
Even the act of chewing helps reduce bone loss. A recent study had 93 participants chew gum on one side of their mouth. The study compared the patients dental x-rays before and after the study and found that the side of the mouth used to chew gum maintained a higher bone density than the side that was not used.
Ill-fitted dentures can cause a variety of bone-related problems, including problems related to chewing. By ensuring our dentures are properly fitted we can chew better and more comfortably, reducing bone loss.
The key to making sure your dentures will fit properly is to go to an experienced clinic with expert staff. Chinook Denture Clinic has been serving patients in Calgary since 1992. For more information about dentures, or to book a consultation appointment.