Although the cost difference can certainly steer you towards dentures rather than dental implants when replacing missing teeth, it is very important that you consider the long-term drawbacks of dentures. The money you save now can be easily spent in the future if your dentures start to affect your overall health.
How would dentures impact anything other than your mouth? One of the major disadvantages of choosing dentures rather than dental implants is the reduced chewing efficiency that most patients encounter. Compromised eating means compromised nutrition, which will most definitely start to affect your overall health.
Denture wearers have dietary restrictions. In order to chew comfortably and effectively, patients have to change the way they eat as well as what they eat. Many patients gravitate towards softer foods that are easier to chew. Unfortunately, this often means a more calorie dense diet full of carbohydrates and lacking in fiber-rich fruits and vegetables. These fiber-rich foods are a vital part of the diet, as they contain preventative anti-oxidants. Furthermore, if dentures are causing you to overload on more calorie-dense foods, you may be putting yourself at a greater risk for diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.
Why do you have to change your eating habits in dentures? Natural teeth have roots that are surrounded by bone, which allows for pressure up to 250 pounds per square inch (psi) during a strong bite and about 45 to 75 psi during normal chewing. However, dentures reduce the average chewing pressure to less than 20 psi, and this number gradually decreases the longer you wear dentures. To account for this loss of chewing pressure, patients must adjust the way they eat by cutting their food up in very small pieces or eliminating certain foods. In addition, they typically battle with a constantly shifting lower denture while they eat.
Among other eating related problems that denture wearers face is the compromised enjoyment of food. Many patients complain that the taste, temperature and texture of food is different. This is not surprising considering that the palate of the mouth is covered with plastic when you wear dentures. Adding extra salt and seasoning to accommodate for this reduced flavor will only add to future health complications.
Dental implants remain the leading choice for those that wish to replace missing teeth without putting their overall health at risk. Implants are the only solution that allows you to eat naturally and maintain a healthy diet. Studies indicate that after two months of having implant-supported replacement teeth, patients were able to increase their maximal biting force by 85%. After three years, the average chewing force increased 300% compared to before implant placement.