Columnists

Gummin’ It

Issue 47.13

The American Dental Association reports that 47 million people in the United States wear a removable denture of some type.   After extensively questioning hundreds of dentists, it was determined that approximately 17 of those people are happy with their denture. 

Well, maybe that last bit was an exaggeration.  But the fact remains that the basic denture hasn’t changed much in a hundred years.  Yep, one hundred years.  Dentures are the technological equivalent of a peg leg.  There is only so much that can be achieved with a few ounces of acrylic.

We live in a time where hearing can be restored, laser surgery corrects eyesight and legless athletes have prosthetics so advanced that they can compete at the Olympic level.  Isn’t it strange then, that dental cripples often think the only option available is outdated denture technology.

So if you are one of the millions of Americans who have simply been “putting up with” a denture, what are your options?

1. Gummin’ it.  This isn’t the dentist recommended option, but thousands of people are having dinner right now without a single tooth in their head.  Their dentures sit politely wrapped up in a napkin while they tuck into a bowl of mac and cheese.

2. Adhesive.  The most common improvement for a denture is to use denture cream or adhesive. Dentists are frequently asked which adhesive is the best.  The answer is – the one that works for you. The big companies spend millions on marketing hype, but the adhesive that will work best for you depends on the texture of your gums, the type of your saliva, the amount of saliva you produce, and your eating habits.  Most people need to try several different types before they find the brand that works best for them.

3. Implants with a denture   A dental implant is an artificial tooth root.  It is placed in the jawbone in the same position as a natural tooth root. They can be used to secure a denture so it no longer moves during chewing. Sometimes this is referred to as a “snap-in” or “mini implant” denture.  It is much better than having a denture that just flops around.

4. Implants to replace a denture  In many patients, a denture can be completely replaced with a porcelain bridge held in by implants.  This is the same type of bridge or crown that many people refer to as “caps”.  It stays in the mouth permanently and does not come in and out.  The implant bridge looks and feels very natural.  There is absolutely no material covering the roof of the mouth and denture sores are a thing of the past.  At this time, this is the closest dentistry can come to giving you your teeth back.   And it is very, very close to having natural teeth.

We occasionally see news articles about growing new teeth from stem cells. That is a very exciting area of research.   Some day we may just walk into the dental office, get a little shot in the gums and wait for our brand new teeth to grow.  Until that time, know that there are options that can improve your life today. 

Please contact us for a free consultation at 435 688-2772 to discuss the best option for your situation.

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