Do You Need Dentures?
FALSE teeth, often the target of jokes, are not funny to many wearers. If you have all your natural teeth in good condition, the question of dentures may not seem important to you. But even if you never need to face that issue, what is said in this article may help you to appreciate the blessing of sound, healthy teeth and make you determined to keep them that way—at least as far as it depends on you.
But why do many people who thought they were conscientious in their dental care one day discover that their teeth are loosening? Ask any dentist. Once people pass the age of 30, the greatest cause of loss of teeth is diseased gums (periodontal disease). However, a person may also lose teeth because of accident or tooth decay.
But do you really need dentures if you have lost some or all your teeth?* Why do some people seem to get along without them? Are dentures simply another commercial product foisted on the public?
To answer these questions, let’s look at the functions of our teeth. They do more than affect our appearance. When we chew our food, it is shredded so that digestive juices can mix with the fine pieces, allowing the body to absorb the nutrients. But if we have few or no teeth, our food will not be sufficiently broken down. Even the bony ridges of very firm gums will not adequately do this. That is why people without teeth who try to wash down food with coffee, tea, or some other beverage may have digestive problems. When even a few teeth are missing, diet is restricted because hard or fibrous foods that require extra chewing are usually avoided.
Teeth also help us talk, a benefit we seldom think of until some are missing. They assist the tongue and lips to form speech sounds essential to understanding. For example, speech sounds such as consonant stops cannot be properly made without the presence of teeth. You have likely noticed this if you have ever heard a toothless person speak. Thus, a person with artificial teeth has to get his tongue adapted to them to get the sounds right again. Although this may take some time, the results are usually better than when there are no teeth.
What about singing or playing certain musical instruments when one has dentures? These activities can usually be done effectively by modifying the dentures in various ways. Singers, some actors, wind-instrument players, ministers, and some photographer’s models would find their jobs very difficult, if not impossible, to perform without teeth.
Personal appearance is also affected by the absence of teeth. There is a bunching up of the soft tissues around the mouth and the drawing together of the nose and chin, making a person look older than he actually is. This can affect one’s self-confidence and may even cause a psychological disturbance for some.
The loss of a tooth may lead to collapse of the dental arch. Our teeth are interdependent, like stones in a Roman arch. Thus, loss of a “neighbor” will allow the other teeth to drift. This movement causes spaces to form between the remaining teeth and may allow food particles to pack into the gum areas, and this often leads to gum inflammation. Tooth movement may also spoil the alignment of the teeth, causing chewing problems.
How They Compare
The essential difference between natural and artificial teeth is that the natural ones are firmly rooted in the bone of the jaws. This makes it possible for them more effectively to incise, tear, and grind our food into very fine pieces. The lower teeth move across the upper teeth with a strong grinding and shearing action.
Complete dentures, on the other hand, merely rest on the gums or ridges thereof. They are held in place only by weak forces produced by the tongue, the cheeks, and adhesion. Since dentures are not anchored like natural teeth, they can easily be dislodged.
So the effectiveness of dentures varies from person to person. No dentures have the efficiency of natural teeth. Shape and size of jaws, types of tissue, and even the mental attitude of the wearer, along with the ability to learn to use them, are all determining factors as to how effective dentures are. Their main limitation is their lack of stability. However, when it comes to appearance, artificial teeth can be made indistinguishable from natural teeth.
Sometimes, unfortunately, it takes the wearing of dentures to impress a person with the wisdom, design, and practicality of natural teeth. Humans can weakly copy the original but never attain the same degree of marvelous efficiency.
Your situation may make it necessary for you to give serious thought to whether you need dentures, either full or partial ones. The decision, of course, is your own, but it does seem wise to consider their advantages. They may help you prevent possible digestive problems, help you get adequate nutrition, and improve your speaking ability. And they really can improve personal appearance.
Indeed, although denture wearers usually lament the loss of their real teeth, the development of artificial teeth has contributed to a measure of personal contentment and a sense of well-being to millions of persons worldwide.
In this article, the word “dentures” refers to custom-made appliances that replace lost teeth. If all natural teeth are missing, then a complete denture is indicated. However, if some teeth remain, a partial denture may be used. This article focuses on complete dentures and on removable partial dentures.
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Taking a Bite Out Of Your Dental Bill
A VISIT to a dentist or an orthodontist often results in quite a hefty bill. You may be encouraged, however, by some findings that may help with your children.
“The high incidence of displaced teeth and misshapen jaws among Americans,” reports The New York Times, “may be the consequence of our highly refined diet.” The theory is that a diet requiring vigorous chewing “stimulates jaw growth (resulting in a space large enough to house the teeth without crowding), guides proper eruption of permanent teeth and coordinates the growth of the face and oral cavity.”
Scientists endeavored to confirm this theory by feeding hard and soft diets to monkeys. The results? Those on the hard diet had far fewer “orthodontic abnormalities.” So it may very well be that a diet that requires your child to chew vigorously will prove to be one way to take a bite out of your dental bill. Another way to do so is to help your children form the habit of regularly brushing and flossing their teeth.
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Our teeth are interdependent. Without “neighbors” to help keep them in place, teeth soon drift and adversely affect other teeth