When you’ve lost your teeth you have three choices.
- You can live without your lost teeth.
- You can replace your missing teeth with dentures.
- You can replace your lost teeth with dental implants.
If you live in or near Spring, TX, Dr. Nathan Memmott can explain how these different options could affect your quality of life going forward. We want to help you make the best decision you can for your oral health.
The Purpose Of Teeth
The primary role of your teeth is to help you eat food. You could say that your teeth are where the digestive process begins.
Different teeth have different jobs. Some are meant to grip your food, while others cut or tear away bite-sized pieces. And your molars, the teeth in the back of your mouth, grind the food into smaller parts so they can be broken down more easily.
A healthy person with all of his or her teeth can bite with an average force between 200 and 250 pounds of pressure. That’s more than enough to bite into a crunchy carrot or a crisp apple or to chew a piece of steak.
Teeth have a secondary function as well. They help us form the sounds we make when we speak. You know that children speak differently when they lose their primary teeth. Something similar happens when adults lose their permanent teeth as well.
Living Without Teeth
More than 30 million Americans are missing one or both rows of their teeth. Some of them will try to live without teeth, but is that the life you want to live?
Without teeth to bite and chew, what you can eat is severely limited. Soup and mushy foods like mashed potatoes and applesauce are edible. Yet, no matter how much you may like those things, you probably won’t want to eat them all the time.
And what you eat makes a difference in other ways as well. When your diet is limited, you may not be getting enough of the nutrients you need to stay healthy, which may be an even more important reason to maintain your ability to eat a varied diet.
Without teeth, another problem will be getting worse, too. Your jaw will be shrinking. Your teeth and your jawbone have (or had) a mutual relationship. Your jaw helped to hold your teeth in place, and your teeth created pressure when you ate that caused your jaw to create new bone tissue. Without this pressure, your jaw won’t be making the new tissue it needs to maintain its size and shape.
Living With Dentures
Traditional dentures are an improvement comparing to living without teeth, but it’s still not quite the same as replacing your missing teeth.
Dentures rest outside your gums. They are not held securely in place. This can make them unstable, which can affect how well you can bite and chew.
Don’t get us wrong, you will be able to eat more things with dentures than you can without teeth, but that doesn’t mean you can eat anything that you want. Research has shown that patients with dentures can generate about 50 pounds of force, which is a far cry from what someone who still has their teeth can do.
Denture adhesives can make dentures a little more secure temporarily. The trade-off is that adhesives also may make things you eat taste unappealing.
And dentures don’t solve the problem of your shrinking jawbone. This is why it’s common for dentures wearers to need to have their dentures replaced or refitted from time to time.
Living With Dental Implants
Science has not given humans a way to regrow teeth, but we do have the next best thing with dental implants.
Implants replace the roots of your teeth. They are placed directly into your jawbone to provide a stable foundation to support dentures. You may not get back all your biting force with implant-supported dentures, but many patients restore 90 percent or more of a healthy person’s biting power. From a practical standpoint, that means you have the ability to eat the foods that you want to eat again.
And since implants are embedded directly in your jaw, every bite and chew that you make creates pressure on the bone. That pressure means new bone tissue, which helps your jaw stay healthy and strong, too.
What Will You Decide?
What you do will be your decision, but Texas Dental Group encourages you to consider how each option will affect your daily life for years to come.