Improving Loose Teeth…
In the pantheon of replacing teeth, removable appliances (dentures, partials, flippers, plates, etc.) are generally the least liked and least understood. There’s an old dental school saying that goes, “Removables are not a substitute for missing teeth. Instead, they are a better alternative to having no teeth at all.” In other words, removable teeth have their limitations.
The main advantage removable tooth replacement appliances have is affordability. It is less costly to replace a tooth or multiple missing teeth with an appliance than with dental implants or crown and bridge work. Another nice thing about removables is that they can be taken out and easily cleaned. Esthetics are often acceptable when premium teeth and customized gums are used. Modern techniques and materials are improving these appliances all the time.
The number one complaint we hear in our office regarding removable appliances has to do with their fit. Loose partials and dentures can be uncomfortable and difficult to eat and speak with. Even the best fitting removables can get food under them and need to be rinsed after most every meal. A proper, tight fit is key to making these appliances function correctly.
So…what can be done to a denture or plate to make it fit and function better?
Dentures are supported by gums alone. Partials are supported by gums and remaining teeth. One major problem is that these supports are constantly changing. After teeth are lost, the bone and the gums that cover the bone are constantly eroding away. This means that any surface that rests on these gums will loosen over time. As a result of this phenomena, most appliances benefit from a reline every two to four years. These relines resurface and re-fit the tissue sides of the appliance. They can be done in a dental office or sent by your dentist to a dental lab for processing. The result is a better fitting appliance.
One of the best methods to improve a loose denture or partial denture is to place a couple of dental implants to make the appliance snap into place. This is a common and often painless procedure that makes a huge difference as to how well replacement teeth work. Adding implants and snaps to hold dentures and partials in place often allows you to eat what you want to eat again. Not just what you can eat because of loose, floppy teeth. Special implants have been designed for this very purpose that can be more affordable than traditional implant therapies.
If you’ve got a set of teeth you’re unhappy with, ask your dentist which of these options may be right for you.
Until next week, keep smiling.
-Please send comments to Drs. Parrish at www.ParrishDental.com.