No matter how often you brushed your teeth while growing-up and growing older, dental problems catch-up with all of us as we age. As discouraging as it may be, gum disease, tooth loss, dentures, dental implants and jaw bone deterioration are all common occurrences for people who are entering their Golden Years. And while these things can’t be avoided, they can be corrected.
Fortunately, the dental profession has made incredible advancements during the past few years that are eliminating the pain, embarrassment and overall dissatisfaction seniors often experience when it comes to their dental health. The days of uncomfortable, poor fitting dentures are gone, as are the problems associated with deteriorating jaw bones and gum disease. The key is making sure you’re finding the right solution for your dental health problems.
While there are a number of corrective dentistry options available to seniors, the advancements taking place with dentures and tooth implants are proving to be two of the best options modern dentistry has to offer:
The 21st Century Denture
One of the most common complaints from denture wearers is the “false teeth” look, causing them to be self conscious about their dentures. This complaint is usually accompanied by shortcomings in the ability to chew and the overall discomfort they experience. Fortunately, major advancements have been made in the craftsmanship of dentures and today dentures are designed and handcrafted specifically to complement a person’s age, sex, physical appearance and even their personality. Dentures can be customized by dentists today in the same way a tailor customizes a new suit.
For example, when looking at someone with a beautiful smile comprised entirely of their natural teeth, one will notice that each tooth is not precisely aligned with its neighboring teeth. Instead, the placement of the teeth varies slightly to create a beautiful and natural smile line. Modern dentures account for this natural irregularity by handsetting teeth in dentures to make sure this same “look” occurs in the denture. This eliminates the “piano key” appearance denture wearers despise.
In addition to appearance, dentures are also being designed to improve chewing function. Because they’re specifically customized to perfectly fit a person’s mouth and jaw structure, chewing food is no longer a struggle.
The Implant Option
Even with the advancements with dentures, they may not be suitable – or necessary – for everyone. For many years, people who lost their teeth had only one choice for replacing them: dentures. Many denture wearers chose false teeth because they wanted to put an end to their tooth problems. They didn’t realize that a whole new set of problems were beginning. Poor fitting dentures can cause pain during eating leading to poor nutrition. Dentures can cause additional problems, which can be intensified if they do not fit well. Long-term denture wearers can lose jawbone which causes the classic collapsed, wrinkled face common to many denture wearers.
For the first time, the replacement for missing teeth can be as strong or stronger than the original. Like teeth, dental implants are embedded in the jawbone. The bone actually bonds to the implants. This allows the teeth to be replaced without placing any pressure on the gums, thus eliminating the pain normally associated with dentures. Using dental implants, the upper teeth can be replaced without covering the roof of the mouth. By exposing the roof of the mouth, the former denture wearer can enjoy the subtle tastes and textures of food and drink that they have been missing out on for so many years.
For seniors who are struggling with their dental health, there are many new options and advancements in dental care they should be considering. Now’s as good a time as ever to see your dentist!
Dr. Charles S. Barotz started Barotz Dental in Denver more than 20 years ago. He is continually educating himself and his staff with the newest dental techniques and approaches, in order to provide his patients with advanced, state of the art, comfortable, personalized, and antiseptic dental care.