One of the first things people will tell you when you lose a set of teeth is to get a denture as fast as possible, since not getting one could lead to bone loss and other health related issues, well, the truth is a little more complex than that. Dentures and partial dentures can actually cause a bigger bone loss than having no teeth, which eventually lead to loose dentures, and a change in your bone structure that makes you look older.
This was the result of a research conducted in 1970 by Dr. Josefowicz, the study showed that out 1012 sample patients, those who wore denture had a bigger bone loss that those that didn´t replace their teeth. Why is that you may ask?, well, the most commonly accepted explanation is twofold, first, patients without teeth which had or didn´t have denture, showed signs of bone loss, this is a natural process as the unused parts of the body are reabsorbed by the organism. Now, the extra bone loss from the patients with dentures comes from the excessive pressure these instruments exerted over the gums, leading to a quicker degradation of the bones. Similar results came from the descriptive longitudinal study conducted by Dr. Tallgren in Denmark, which uncovered some very interesting facts:
- First year bone loss is 10 times quicker in patients with dentures.
- The lower jaw bone degrades 4 times faster than upper jaw bones.
- Bone loss is a continual and almost irreversible process.
Leaving that aside for a minute, recent studies have also shown that 88% of people with dentures have speech difficulties, 50% avoid at least one kind of food they like and 29% only eat soft foods. At this point, going without dentures might seem like a stellar idea, but here is the caveat, due to the dietary changes that involve not having a full set of teeth, a toothless person tends to live at least 10 years less than the average human, and either with our without denture you can expect your face to shrink as your bones disappear.
Now, the good news is that studies have also shown that dental implants can pretty much stop the bone loss process completely, especially modern one like All-on-4s. The implants distribute the pressure along the jaw line just like a regular tooth crown does, minimizing the impact and pretty much preventing bone degradation. So if you have a denture it might a good time to explore new alternatives that could improve you health and your life.