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8 November 2018

Dentist, Jignesh Patel explains how unstable dentures can be a thing of the past.

Dentures have long been the ‘go to’ solution for replacing missing teeth. They have also long been the butt of many a joke of the type often seen on older style holiday postcards.

Whilst most denture wearers have hopefully avoided them shooting across the room when they sneeze, their stability certainly can be an issue.

As well as the potential embarrassment if they become loose at an inappropriate time, there are a number of other issues associated with loose fitting dentures. These include:

  1. Difficulty in eating certain foods, sometimes leading to the wearer eating a more limited diet.
  2. Digestive problems caused by the inability to chew our food well enough to start the digestive process correctly
  3. Sore and irritated gums, caused by the friction between dentures and gums
  4. Potentially affect speech, sometimes to the degree that it can have an effect on the wearer’s confidence

Of course, these may not apply to all dentures wearers, with many patients of our Surbiton dental practice being perfectly happy with theirs. Some though, may experience one or more of these problems, especially after they have been wearing their dentures for some time, with their facial shape changing due to the bone loss associated with missing teeth. No matter how well your dentures have been made and fitted, changes in their fit over time can lead to problems.

Bone loss?

When a tooth has been lost, the bone that previously held it in position no longer has that role to fulfill. The body being an efficient user of available resources, will then reabsorb the bone material for use in another area of the body.  Although there is no actual physical need for the bone to be retained in the jaw, losing it can have a negative aesthetic effect, especially if a number of teeth are missing. It can also cause subtle changes to the jawbone, meaning that your once well-fitting dentures may no longer be as secure. Denture adhesive may help with this, but it can be messy and is not really a long term solution.

Resolving the problem of unstable dentures

Whilst some denture wearers may eventually become disillusioned and perhaps even stop wearing them, this isn’t an option for most people, especially if the missing teeth are at the front of the mouth and therefore highly visible. For a partial denture with a single tooth or perhaps two, individual dental implants may be the best solution to replace them. Where a larger number of teeth, or where it is a full arch of teeth that are missing,  it is not really a viable option to replace each missing tooth with an individual implant.

All on 4

A popular option at the Confidental Clinic, for replacing a full arch of teeth is to use an All On 4 procedure. This uses usually four, but sometimes six, dental implants strategically placed into the jawbone, and a fixed bridge of teeth is then attached to these. This is an excellent way to provide a strong and secure solution and is one that we find works well for the vast majority of patients in this situation.

It is not the only solution though, and for those who are happy with their dentures, but wish that they were more stable, we can now use dental implants to stabilise your dentures for you.

Working in a similar way to the All On 4 procedure, 2 or 4 dental implants can be placed into the patient’s jawbone. Unlike the All On 4 procedure, where the fixed bridge can often be placed immediately, you will need to allow time for the implants to bond with the jawbone. This usually takes in the region of three months. Once this has taken place, impressions will be made and a new implant retained denture made to be attached to them.

Advantages of this method

The most obvious advantage that our Surbiton patients will notice almost immediately, is that the dentures are now much more stable and are much less likely to move around in your mouth, even when eating. This will allow you to eat a much wider range of food, making eating more enjoyable and less awkward and potentially embarrassing, if you are eating out with friends or work colleagues.

Whereas a fixed bridge using the all on 4 method is cleaned in-situ in the mouth, you will still need to remove stabilised dentures from your mouth for cleaning. This is important, as gum disease and other infections may occur if you don’t.

As with most dental options, there are pros and cons associated with each. To discuss these, we need to arrange an initial consultation for you with our dental team to discuss your own particular situation, budget and requirements. Whilst we may recommend a particular solution that we feel would work best for you, you are under no obligation to accept it and we are always happy to discuss your preferences to find an alternative.

If you have missing teeth, or are unhappy with your unstable dentures, why not book your initial consultation at the Confidental Clinic by calling our Surbiton practice on 020 8399 1291. We’ll be delighted to help you get back on track with a beautiful new, fully functional smile!

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