Over time, the enamel covering and protecting your teeth begins to wear down. While good oral hygiene habits and routine dental care will prevent this from happening for as long as possible, many adults begin to notice a loss in the integrity of their teeth as they age. Aside from aging, there are many reasons you may find yourself needing to have a tooth pulled and replaced with a denture option at any age. Still, dentures are most commonly associated with older adults, leaving some adults dealing with issues longer than necessary and risk making things much worse later.
At Belle Meade Smile Center, we know missing or damaged teeth can significantly affect your self-confidence. Many people avoid social settings because they feel self-conscious about their appearance or ability to eat, drink, or speak. Dr. Shipp and his experienced team can help you replace one or all of your teeth with different denture options to refresh your stunning smile. From our friendly and welcoming environment to our compassionate, patient-focused dental care, you will have many reasons to smile and finally want to with your new dentures!
What are dentures?
You’ve likely seen the commercials for denture cleaning options that often show images of a complete set of teeth soaking in a cup of water-like solution. While those full dentures are the most widely recognized rendition of dentures, a denture is technically just a removable replacement for missing teeth and the surrounding tissue. They consist of artificial teeth that function like regular teeth, providing a natural look and helping you chew and speak better. These artificial teeth are placed in a foundation called a denture base that provides strength and stability to the new teeth while restoring the gum line’s defective soft and hard tissues. There are three types of dentures that can be used in different cases, depending on your needs.
Complete dentures are utilized as a non-invasive option when all the teeth need to be replaced. Once your necessary dental care has restored your dental health, Dr. Shipp will use precise measurements to have your conventional dentures custom-fit specifically to your mouth. Though your dentist or orthodontist may initially instruct you to wear them even when you sleep, complete dentures are meant to be removed at night to allow your gum tissue to rest and normal stimulation and cleansing by the tongue and saliva.
Intermediate dentures are often used in-between the removal of teeth and when your custom dentures are ready to be worn. Using intermediate dentures means you don’t have to be without teeth during your healing and waiting period. Because intermediate dentures are premade, they may require more adjustments to fit properly during the healing process.
Many patients find that they need to have only one or two permanent teeth removed and benefit best from utilizing partial dentures to fill the space left behind. Commonly incorrectly called a dental bridge, this option is an economical choice that does not require extensive preparation or painful dental work to avoid the surrounding teeth’s movements and restore function and aesthetics.
Are bridges, dentures, and implants different?
While dental bridges and partial dentures are commonly interchangeable when discussing replacing one to a few missing teeth, they aren’t quite the same thing. As we discussed, a partial denture is a removable replacement option that will need to be removed nightly for cleaning and to allow the existing gums to heal and be cleaned. Like partial dentures, a dental bridge is used to fill in the space that is left after a tooth decays or is removed, but this option is typically cemented to the remaining surrounding teeth.
On the other hand, a dental implant is much more invasive but is also a permanent option as metal tooth roots are placed into the jawbone, and new bone and gums grow around the implant to hold it in place. Implants function much like your regular teeth and can be brushed and flossed, though they won’t get a cavity like normal teeth. Dental implants are not as popular because they require a more invasive procedure and are typically more expensive.
Who needs dentures?
When it all comes down to it, dentures are an excellent solution for replacing missing teeth to restore your appearance and the function of your teeth, gums, and jaws and prevent bone loss that can arise from no tooth and jaw stimulation. As with any dental solution, there are pros and cons to wearing dentures, and whether or not they will work for you depends largely on your lifestyle and the goals you have for your appearance, including the functionality of your smile.
What leads to damaged or missing teeth?
Generally, the best way to avoid the need for dentures is to ensure that you stay on top of your oral health hygiene routine. Brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste and flossing daily can eliminate a lot of the plaque and bacteria that can lead to gum disease, tooth decay, and even tooth loss. Also, keeping your regularly scheduled dental cleanings and examinations can allow your dentist to catch cavities, gum inflammation, and other problems early before they become reasons for replacing your teeth later.
Besides common oral hygiene deficiencies, the most noted cause of damaged or missing teeth is an impact injury to the mouth and teeth. These injuries are common with high-impact sports but are also prevalent in low/no-contact activities and as a result of an auto accident. Wearing a properly-fitting mouthguard during even solo activities can help to prevent fracturing or displacing teeth.
Belle Meade Smile Center is a reliable solution for replacing teeth!
Our Belle Meade Smile Center team is sensitive to the hardships missing teeth can create. From issues with chewing food, enunciating words, and even just laughing at a funny joke with friends, don’t let another day go by without taking the important steps to regain your confidence and your smile. Dr. Shipp and his team have years of experience replacing missing teeth with dentures in a quick and non-invasive way. Get in touch with us today to see if dentures are the best way to restore your mouth to its total health and beauty.