According to some historical sources, humans have been using dentures since 2,500 B.C. They remained incredibly popular to this day and more than 90% of all edentulous people in the U.S. wear them.
And if you get dentures at Dental Group of Chicago, you can rest assured that they will restore your smile to its former glory.
However, while conventional dentures can look good, they’re far from the best solution for missing teeth available today. In fact, even though they give you an appearance of a beautiful smile, they could actually be damaging your jaw bone and accelerating bone loss.
If you don’t take the necessary precautions, you could end up with a severely altered and not-so-desirable facial appearance. Here’s a breakdown of how dentures affect your jaw bone and how to prevent bone loss with dentures.
What Are Dentures and How Do They Accelerate Bone Loss?
Dentures are dental prosthetics that can substitute missing teeth. Once you request a pair from your dentist, they will first cast your teeth. Then, they’ll find the right color, ensuring that it matches your existing teeth and looks natural on you.
Finally, they’ll proceed to make your dentures, typically out of resin. As they’re made to fit your particular jaw shape, they should be held in place with nothing but suction and fit you comfortably.
Be that as it may, they won’t last forever. After about 5 years or so, you’ll need to get a replacement for your dentures, as they will most likely become loose.
The thing is — when you eat, bite, and chew food, your teeth, and their respective roots provide resistance and stimulate your jaw. Without that resistance, i.e., when you don’t have teeth, your body slowly breaks down the bone, causing it to recede. In turn, the surrounding structures shift as well (i.e., sinuses).
Dentures can provide about 10% of the necessary pressure needed to stimulate the bone. Unfortunately, that’s not nearly enough to prevent bone atrophy.
And not just that — some studies suggest dentures increase the rate at which the bone recedes, causing your face to age much faster than it otherwise would.
How You Can Prevent Bone Loss With Dentures
You may not be able to prevent bone loss altogether. Everyone’s case is different and what may work for one person may not work for others. However, there are a few things you can try doing to slow down the resorption of your jaw bone with dentures.
Make Sure The Dentures Fit
First of all, you should opt for an experienced and skilled prosthodontist that will go out of their way to ensure your dentures are the absolute perfect fit.
After all, if they’re too loose, they won’t stand on their own. And if they’re too tight, they will irritate and chafe your jaw, causing the bone to drawback at a fast rate.
Don’t Wear Dentures All the Time
Although you might want to always look your best, you should take it easy with the dentures. Don’t wear them 24/7, especially if they’re not 100% the right fit. That way, you’ll significantly reduce the irritation and slow down the bone loss.
Make it your habit to take the dentures off before bed, or even each time you get home. The more breaks you can take, the better.
Adjust Your Diet
Another important factor in bone loss prevention is proper nutrition. Without it, your bones will be weak and break down much faster. Make sure your diet is balanced and includes plenty of protein, fruit, vegetables, and other nutrient-rich foods.
Support Dentures With Implants
Your dentures will fit much more nicely with teeth to support them. And when you don’t have any left, the best solution is to get dental implants.
Typically made of titanium, implants are posts that are surgically embedded in your jaw in place of the roots. After the healing period, they are topped with crowns, and dentures are added to replace the missing teeth.
Although it is a somewhat invasive procedure, just a few implants are enough to support the whole jaw of artificial teeth.
Implants and implant-supported dentures are superior to traditional dentures in more than a few ways — they give you full mobility and chewing strength, they can’t fall out, and they are much more permanent. More importantly, they will provide resistance for your jaw bone, preventing it from receding.
Unsurprisingly, implants are also a much more expensive solution than dentures. Still, if you can afford them, they’re definitely worth considering. You’re essentially buying yourself peace of mind, which is priceless.
Bone Loss Treatment Solutions
In case you’ve already experienced bone loss after wearing dentures, don’t worry. All is not lost. With the technological and medical advancements we’ve achieved thus far, there’s plenty you can do to improve the functionality of your jaw and touch up your appearance.
For starters, you can get a bone graft to rebuild the bone ridge. Aside from providing a base to put an implant in, the graft also stimulates the jaw bone to regrow.
In some severe cases of jaw bone loss, the sinuses will expand, leaving the bone ridge thin and fragile. Thankfully, nowadays, you can also get a sinus lift alongside a bone graft and restore your smile no matter how bad of a state it’s in.
Dentures can be a good solution as far as aesthetics are concerned. However, they can cause chafing and speed up bone loss. Provided that you have the resources for it, your best bet is to get implants first. Not only will they be more long-lasting but they’ll also prevent the bone from receding and altering your facial features.
In addition, to preserve your jaw structure, you should also take breaks from wearing dentures, and replace them immediately if they start feeling loose or uncomfortable.
Finally, consider improving your diet to strengthen your bones. And in case bone loss does happen, you might be able to correct its effects with bone graft surgery.