For many years, dentures have been the solution to fix missing teeth, particularly if there are several missing teeth. New technology has brought around implants as well. The challenge with dental implants is that they are not right for everyone.
If you have been told that you’re not a candidate for dental implants based on bone loss, dentures might be a better solution for you. You can wear dentures if you have bone loss. Take a look at this guide with everything that you need to know.
Dentures and Bone Loss
If bone loss is an issue and you can’t get dental implants, dentures are the next solution. There may be ways to help reduce the bone loss and still receive implants, but dentures are also a good choice for replacing missing teeth.
Dentures can be used in both partial and complete status. This means if you just need to fill in for a few teeth, you can get a partial and if you need to fill in for all teeth, you can get complete dentures.
It does take some time to get used to dentures. They won’t just magically feel comfortable the first time that you wear them. There is a healing process that needs to happen with your gums but also the transition to immediate dentures requires time for your gums to get used to the changes.
Some providers will actually give you liners that make wearing the dentures more comfortable as your mouth heals and allows the dentures to conform to the bone and gum shrinkage that often happens.
Will Dentures Cause Bone Loss?
If dentures are worn consistently and properly, you should not experience bone loss from wearing your dentures. In fact, wearing dentures properly can make a significant difference on avoiding bone loss. Bone loss occurs when the gums and the jawbone beneath the gums is not being stimulated.
When your teeth are there, the act of chewing or moving your mouth is what causes the teeth to stimulate the gums. When the tooth is missing, you need some other form of stimulation. With dentures, the dentures will stimulate the bones and the gums.
Essentially jawbone bone loss occurs when you are not using it. It takes you back to the classic phrase “if you don’t use it, you lose it”. We see that present itself as an issue with jawbones quite frequently.
If a tooth has been missing for a long period of time, the jawbone begins resorption.
The challenge with dentures is that while they are applying pressure and stimulation against the gums and the jawbone, there are no nerves, which may not provide enough stimulation.
In some cases, the solution to this is to have implant-supported dentures. Of course, implants might be an ideal solution as well in some cases.
In addition, if you have partial dentures, those can efficiently stimulate the jawbone because the majority of the roots are still intact.
Preventing Bone Loss with Dentures
While dentures won’t completely prevent bone loss, there are certain ways to wear them to help reduce bone loss so it is not as substantial. Over time, you will likely still experience some bone loss, but it will not be as much if you are proactive with how you use your dentures.
Here are some tips for preventing or reducing bone loss with dentures.
If dentures don’t fit properly, they are not benefitting you. Because your mouth changes over time, the fit of your dentures can adjust as well. The bone in your jaw will shrink some. The goal with dentures is to reduce how quickly or hoe much it shrinks. Wearing dentures that fit properly make a huge difference.
You need to use your dentures properly to stimulate the gum and the jawbone beneath it. This includes chewing with the dentures and making sure that they fit properly. It is the improper fit that actually causes additional bone resorption or bone resorption that happens at a faster rate than if the dentures fit correctly and are being used properly.
When proper fit is in place, every time you bite, clench, chew, and so on, you are stimulating your jawbone at least a little bit. With an improper fit, you might cause more irritation than good.
You can also be proactive by forcing yourself to clench and really bite down to apply as much pressure as possible to your gums, so the pressure then stimulates the bone underneath at least slightly. You should also work with your dentist if the dentures start to fit improperly over time.
While using your dentures and stimulating your jawbone as much as possible is important, it’s also important to rest your mouth. Your mouth also needs a break from the dentures for at least a little bit each day. Whether you only wear them when you eat or when you leave the house, or you give you mouth a break at night, this is important.
The reason for this is dentures can also cause irritation to your gums and bone. Allowing your mouth to rest, allows the gums and bones to not experience as much irritation. That intense irritation could cause addition bone resorption if you are not careful.
Finally, one way to reduce bone loss with dentures is to make sure you have good nutrition to support the bone. You should work to maintain a diet that is high in protein and calcium and will support your bones and help to keep the bone density strong.
In some cases, you might need to consider certain vitamin supplements to help keep your bones strong in your mouth as well. Many times, you can be proactive with nutrition as well. One thing that tends to be common is the failure to eat a variety of foods. Many times, it’s harder or even uncomfortable to eat certain foods with dentures but you should continue trying and find ways to enjoy a broad, healthy diet.
Implant Supported Dentures
One alternative to traditional dentures is implant supported dentures. This will allow you to wear dentures but have implant-style additions to support the dentures. They work much the same way as dentures but the permanent dental implant underneath the dentures will help support the bones, even when you are not wearing the dentures.
Rather than resting on the gums, the dentures can be stabilized thanks to the implant support. Dental implants or implant-supported dentures are actually much more efficient at reducing bone resorption and protecting your jaw and your gums from those issues.
If you can be approved as a candidate for dental implants, this is really the better way to go.
If you’ve already experienced bone loss and this makes dental implants not feasible for you, there are still options. The most common way to combat bone loss is a bone graft. If you are in good health, bone grafting might be the best option to correct bone loss and make you a candidate for dental implants.
When a bone graft procedure is used, there is a healing process that will need to occur between the graft being placed and dental implants being placed. The graft will need time to truly attach to and fuse with the jawbone.
If you’ve been wearing dentures and you’re tired of a fit that is improper and always changing, dental implants could still be an option for you. However, you will likely need to go through a bone grafting process.
In some cases, mini implants might be an option as they are quite a bit smaller and will function similarly to a traditional dental implant.
Are Dental Implants Better than Dentures?
If you want something that is long-lasting and far more comfortable, dental implants really is the way to go. Where dentures will not adjust with your mouth or prevent bone resorption, dental implants become a part of your mouth in a permanent way.
Dental implants last much longer, are stable and reliable, and won’t slip around like dentures tend to do.
When it comes down to it, you can wear dentures even if you have experienced bone loss. Your dentures may need to be adjusted once a year in order to maintain the proper fit to your mouth. While dentures might slow bone resorption, they won’t stop it completely so your mouth will still change over time.
Dental implants are a solution that lasts much longer and a great alternative if you are suitable for dental implants.