Many Americans lose their teeth, mainly because of cavities and periodontal disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, by age 17, 7 % of people in the United States have lost at least one permanent tooth because of decay.
Among adults from 35 to 44-years-old, 69 % have lost at least one permanent tooth. By age 50, Americans have lost an average of 12 teeth (including wisdom teeth). And among adults 65 to 74, 26 % have lost all their teeth.
Needless to say, the replacement of missing teeth is a major challenge that we face in maintaining our dental health. We strive where possible to replace missing teeth with fixed permanent solutions like implants but in many cases, it is not always possible. For hundreds of years the solution has been to fabricate removable appliances that would serve to replace the missing teeth and restore some degree of functional ability.
In cases where only some teeth are missing the appliance would be a removable partial denture as depicted here. This appliance would be held in place by clasps that hook onto your natural teeth. The advantage is primarily that we can fabricate these appliances for much less than an implant replacement might cost. The disadvantage is that for many people the stress from the supporting clasps on the natural teeth can cause them to be sensitive and uncomfortable.
In cases where all of the teeth have been lost, we will fabricate a full or complete denture. This is one of the most demanding challenges in dentistry as we are called upon to recreate in 3-dimensional space, an appliance that will mimic the teeth that have been lost, maintain phonetic or speech ability, look natural and function well. For every individual the requirements to achieve that goal can be very different. Contact us today to schedule an appointment in Grangeville, Lewiston or McCall, ID.
Here again, Implant technology has offered us many new options in this challenge. Today we are able to fabricate these removable appliances that are all or in-part supported by implants. This tremendously increases both the comfort, cosmetics and functional ability that these appliances can provide. The average person chews for example with about 400-600 PSI (Pounds per Square Inch) of biting pressure with their natural teeth. The average denture wearer only chews with about 50 PSI.
The predictable result is that foods that require greater chewing pressure (Nuts, fresh vegetables) are gradually eliminated from the diet.
Converting conventional dentures to implant supported partial or full dentures, fully restores this capability. In the case of a removable partial denture, we are able to completely eliminate the clasps on the remaining teeth.
The support is now born exclusively by the implants resulting in little to no stress on the underlying gum tissues or the adjacent teeth. The teeth now look natural as there are no silver clasps or wires any longer.
The patient's typical response is that they cannot believe the difference that these partials create in both comfort and looks.
One of the greatest applications of dental implants are in the support of people who have struggled with trying to wear a conventional denture. The lower denture is almost always compromised and challenged by a tongue muscle that is determined to extricate this foreign hunk of plastic. The upper denture is often the source of severe gag reflex problems and for many it results in the loss of significant taste ranges as the roof of the mouth is entirely covered.
The implant supported denture has numerous advantages over a conventional denture. Primarily it provides a stable non-soft tissue supported platform for the denture. This means we can restore the ability to chew with 400-600 PSI. One of the most important advantages is that the placement of implants helps to prevent the ongoing resorption of the jaw bones which happens with regular dentures. That is what causes the squished face look of people that have worn dentures for many years. On an upper denture implants also allow us to eliminate having the roof of the mouth covered which allows for a more normal taste range experience.