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Dealing with Tooth Loss: Implants or Dentures?

As our loved ones age gracefully, they may encounter challenges such as tooth loss, impacting their confidence and daily comfort.

We understand the importance of choosing the right dental solutions, especially when it comes to dentures and implants. Join us as we delve into the world of dentures, exploring the various options available for partial or complete tooth loss, their pros and cons, and why opting for superior solutions like implant-over-dentures can significantly enhance your loved one’s quality of life.

Dealing with tooth loss: Implants or Dentures?

Why are elderly more likely to experience tooth loss?

As we age, our oral health needs evolve, and we become more susceptible to conditions that can lead to tooth loss. Factors contributing to tooth loss in the elderly include:

Over time, inadequate oral hygiene practices can lead to gum disease (periodontal disease), which is a significant cause of tooth loss.

Certain medical conditions such as diabetes or osteoporosis can impact oral health and contribute to tooth loss.

Some medications can have side effects that affect oral tissues and dental health.

Poor nutrition or dietary habits can also play a role in tooth loss.

Tobacco use is strongly linked to gum disease and tooth loss.

Understanding these factors can help in taking proactive measures to maintain oral health and address tooth loss effectively.

What are the denture options for those who are partially toothless?

Partial Dentures

Partial dentures are removable prosthetic devices designed to replace multiple missing teeth in a dental arch. They are customised to fit around existing natural teeth, providing a stable and functional restoration for individuals with partial tooth loss. Partial dentures improve chewing efficiency, maintain oral health, and restore aesthetics by filling gaps and preventing adjacent teeth from shifting.

Most importantly, getting partial dentures promptly is crucial because missing teeth cause neighboring teeth to shift and overerupt, leading to irreversible alignment issues. Delayed replacement can make it significantly harder or even impossible to restore proper dental function.

There are usually two types of partial dentures:

Partial Dentures for Front Teeth

Partial Denture - Front

Partial dentures for front teeth play a crucial role in both aesthetics and functionality. These dentures are designed to replace missing teeth in the anterior (front) region of the mouth, including incisors and canines.

Front teeth are highly visible when smiling, speaking, and eating. Partial dentures restore the natural appearance of the smile, improving facial aesthetics and boosting self-confidence.

Front teeth are essential for proper pronunciation and articulation of words. Partial dentures ensure clear speech and enhance communication skills.

While front teeth are primarily used for biting into food, they also play a role in initial chewing and breaking down food particles. Partial dentures for front teeth facilitate efficient chewing and aid in the digestion process.

Missing front teeth can lead to adjacent teeth shifting or tilting, causing bite alignment issues and potential jaw discomfort. Partial dentures prevent such dental misalignments and maintain the overall integrity of the dental arch.

Partial Dentures for Back Teeth (Molars)

Dealing with tooth loss: Implants or Dentures?

Partial dentures for back teeth, specifically molars, are equally vital for optimal oral function and overall well-being. These dentures replace missing teeth in the posterior (back) region of the mouth and offer several important benefits.

Back teeth, particularly molars, are crucial for chewing tougher foods and breaking them down into smaller pieces. Partial dentures restore chewing efficiency, allowing individuals to enjoy a diverse and nutritious diet.

By distributing chewing forces evenly across all teeth, partial dentures for back teeth reduce the strain on front teeth. This helps prevent premature wear and tear on front teeth and maintains their longevity.

Missing back teeth can lead to an imbalance in the bite, causing stress on remaining teeth and jaw joints. Partial dentures for back teeth restore bite balance, reducing the risk of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders and related discomfort.

When back teeth are missing, front teeth may compensate by taking on more chewing pressure. This can lead to excessive wear, fractures, and sensitivity in front teeth. Partial dentures for back teeth alleviate this strain and protect the integrity of front teeth.

Common issues with partial dentures

Gum pain and irritation from partial dentures

Gum pain and irritation caused by partial dentures can significantly impact a loved one’s comfort and well-being. Persistent discomfort can lead to difficulty eating, speaking, and even affect their mood and quality of life.

It may also discourage them from wearing their dentures regularly, further exacerbating the issue and impacting their confidence in social situations.

Looseness and shaking of partial dentures

The looseness and shaking of partial dentures can be both physically uncomfortable and emotionally distressing for a loved one. It can cause insecurity while eating or speaking, leading to self-consciousness and a reluctance to engage in social activities.

Additionally, the constant movement of loose dentures can cause irritation or sores on the gums, adding to the overall discomfort.

Difficulty chewing certain foods with partial dentures

Difficulty chewing certain foods due to partial dentures can limit a loved one’s dietary choices and enjoyment of meals. It may lead to frustration during mealtime, impact their nutrition intake, and even affect their overall health if they avoid essential food groups due to chewing challenges.

This can also affect their social interactions, as dining out or sharing meals with others may become more challenging.

Partial dentures’ impact on surrounding teeth

The impact of partial dentures on surrounding teeth, such as pressure or misalignment, can cause discomfort and potential damage to natural teeth. This can lead to increased sensitivity, difficulty in maintaining oral hygiene around the denture, and potential long-term dental issues if not addressed promptly.

Additionally, the presence of partial dentures may alter a loved one’s bite alignment, affecting their overall oral function and comfort.

While regular check-ups and proper maintenance are crucial in addressing these concerns, persistent issues may warrant exploring alternative solutions.

If discomfort or challenges persist despite adjustments and care, it is advisable to consider other alternatives such as implant-supported partial dentures. These advanced options offer enhanced stability, reduced discomfort, and improved functionality, providing a more comfortable and secure fit for individuals with partial tooth loss.

Implant-Supported Partial Denture

Implant-Supported Partial Denture

Implant-supported partial dentures combine the stability of dental implants with the versatility of removable partial dentures. Dental implants are surgically placed in the jawbone to anchor the partial denture securely.

This option offers superior stability, prevents bone resorption, and improves chewing efficiency. Implant-supported partial dentures provide a secure fit, reduce the risk of slippage or discomfort, and enhance overall oral function for patients with partial tooth loss.

Implant-supported partial dentures offer several advantages over regular partial dentures, making them a preferred option for many patients. Here are the key benefits of implant-supported partial dentures compared to regular partial dentures:

Implant-supported partial dentures are anchored to dental implants surgically placed in the jawbone. This provides a secure and stable foundation for the denture, reducing the risk of slippage or movement during eating, speaking, or daily activities. Regular partial dentures, on the other hand, rely solely on clasps or adhesives for stability, which may not always provide a secure fit.

The stability offered by dental implants allows for stronger bite force and improved chewing efficiency. Patients with implant-supported partial dentures can enjoy a wider variety of foods with confidence, including tougher or crunchy textures that may be challenging with regular partial dentures.

Dental implants stimulate the jawbone, preventing bone resorption (shrinkage) that commonly occurs with tooth loss. This helps maintain facial contours and overall oral health, ensuring a more natural and youthful appearance over time. Regular partial dentures do not stimulate the jawbone and may contribute to bone loss in the long term.

Implant-supported partial dentures provide a more natural feel and fit compared to regular partial dentures. They reduce the risk of sore spots, gum irritation, and discomfort often associated with traditional dentures. Patients experience enhanced comfort and confidence in their smile and oral function.

With proper care and maintenance, implant-supported partial dentures can last longer than regular partial dentures. Dental implants provide a sturdy foundation for the denture, reducing the need for frequent adjustments or replacements over time. This leads to cost savings and convenience for the patient.

Unlike regular partial dentures that rely on adjacent natural teeth for support, implant-supported partial dentures do not put additional strain on healthy teeth. This helps preserve the integrity and longevity of adjacent teeth, reducing the risk of dental complications in the future.

Overall, implant-supported partial dentures offer superior stability, functionality, comfort, and oral health benefits compared to regular partial dentures. They provide a long-term solution for individuals with partial tooth loss, restoring confidence, and improving quality of life.

What are the denture options for those who are fully toothless?

Full Denture

Full dentures are removable prosthetic devices designed to replace all natural teeth in either the upper or lower arch, or both. They are custom-made to fit the patient’s gums and provide a functional and aesthetic restoration for those who have lost all of their teeth. Full dentures are a popular and affordable option for restoring a natural-looking smile and improving oral function.

Pros of dentures

Full dentures are generally more budget-friendly compared to implant-supported options. They are a cost-effective solution for patients seeking functional and aesthetic restoration.

They are removable and easy to clean, making maintenance and hygiene routines straightforward. Patients can take out the dentures for cleaning and oral care, promoting oral hygiene and preventing complications.

Full dentures restore a natural-looking smile, enhancing self-confidence and social interactions. They improve facial aesthetics and allow patients to smile and speak with confidence.

Cons of Dentures

Relies on suction or adhesives, which may lead to slipping or shifting while eating or speaking. This can cause discomfort and affect confidence during daily activities.

With no tooth roots to stimulate the jawbone, bone resorption can occur over time, leading to changes in facial structure and denture fit. Regular check-ups and adjustments may be necessary.

Full dentures may provide reduced chewing efficiency compared to implant-supported options, particularly when eating tougher foods. Patients may need to avoid certain foods or adjust their diet.

Common issues with full dentures

Gum pain and irritation from full dentures

The pressure and friction from full dentures can often lead to gum pain and irritation, causing discomfort and soreness. This can make it challenging for individuals to eat, speak, or wear their dentures comfortably, impacting their daily activities and overall well-being.

 

Loose or shakey full dentures

Full dentures may become loose or shaky over time due to changes in jawbone structure or denture fit. The lack of natural teeth or implants for the dentures to grip onto can contribute to instability, leading to feelings of insecurity and discomfort while eating, speaking, or interacting socially.

Difficulty chewing foods with full dentures

The reduced bite force and stability of full dentures compared to natural teeth can result in difficulty chewing certain foods, especially tough or sticky textures. This can be frustrating and may lead to dietary limitations, impacting the individual’s enjoyment of meals and nutritional intake.

The impact of full dentures on jawbone & facial structures

The absence of natural teeth or implants with full dentures can contribute to bone resorption (jawbone shrinkage) over time. This may affect the fit and stability of the dentures, leading to changes in facial appearance such as sunken cheeks or a collapsed smile. These changes can impact self-perception and confidence.

 

The possible psychological & social impacts of full dentures

The challenges associated with full dentures, including discomfort, looseness, and speech difficulties, can have a psychological and social impact on individuals. It may affect their self-esteem, confidence, and willingness to engage in social activities, leading to feelings of self-consciousness and isolation.

These common issues underscore the importance of understanding and addressing the unique experiences and challenges faced by individuals wearing full dentures. Empathy, support, and professional guidance can play a crucial role in enhancing comfort, confidence, and overall well-being for those with full dentures. Our experienced geriatric dentists are well-equipped to guide your aging loved ones through this process.

Alternatives to full dentures

When traditional full dentures pose challenges such as discomfort, instability, or limited functionality, exploring alternative options becomes crucial. Implant overdentures and All-on-4/All-on-6 dental implants emerge as superior solutions, offering increased functionality and comfort compared to traditional full dentures.

Let’s delve into the pros and cons of these advanced alternatives, highlighting their transformative impact on oral health and quality of life.

Implant Overdenture

Implant overdentures combine the stability of dental implants with the convenience of removable dentures. Dental implants are surgically placed in the jawbone to anchor the overdenture securely. This option offers superior stability, reduces the risk of slippage or discomfort, and prevents bone resorption. Implant overdentures provide a natural feel, improved chewing efficiency, and long-term durability for patients seeking enhanced comfort and functionality.

Pros of implant overdenture

Implant overdentures are anchored to dental implants, providing a secure and stable fit. They offer enhanced stability and reduce the risk of slippage or discomfort.

Implants stimulate the jawbone, preventing bone resorption and maintaining facial structure. This helps preserve oral health and prevents changes in facial appearance.

Reduced risk of slippage or discomfort during eating, speaking, or daily activities. Implant overdentures offer a more natural feel and improve overall comfort.

With proper care, implant overdentures can last longer than traditional dentures, reducing the need for frequent replacements. This can lead to cost savings and improved convenience.

Cons of implant overdenture

Placement of dental implants involves a surgical procedure, which may require a recovery period and additional visits to the dentist. Patients should be prepared for the surgical aspect and follow post-operative instructions carefully.

Implant overdentures typically have a higher initial cost compared to traditional full dentures. Patients should consider their budget and long-term benefits when choosing this option.

Regular hygiene care and professional check-ups are necessary to ensure the longevity and function of implant overdentures. Patients should follow recommended maintenance routines for optimal results.

All-on-4/All-on-6 Dental Implants

All-on-4/All-on-6 dental implants are comprehensive solutions for complete tooth loss. These options involve the placement of multiple implants (four or six, respectively) in the jawbone to support a full set of prosthetic teeth. The number of implants required will be advised by the dentist according to one’s needs and oral health.

Pros of All-on-4/All-on-6 dental implants

More implants offer enhanced stability and durability for the dentures. They provide a sturdy foundation for chewing and speaking.

Provides strong bite force for efficient chewing and eating. Patients can enjoy a wide range of foods with confidence.

Mimics natural teeth for a seamless and natural-looking smile. The prosthetic teeth closely resemble natural teeth, enhancing facial aesthetics and confidence.

Prevents jawbone resorption and maintains facial structure. Implants stimulate the jawbone, preserving oral health and preventing changes in facial appearance.

Cons of All-on-4/All-on-6 dental implants

The initial investment for All-on-4/All-on-6 implants can be higher due to the placement of multiple implants. Patients should consider the long-term benefits and durability.

Placement of multiple implants involves a surgical procedure, which may require careful planning and recovery. Patients should be prepared for the surgical aspect and follow post-operative instructions carefully.

Patients may require a healing period after implant surgery before the final dentures can be attached. Proper healing is essential for successful implant integration.

Regular follow-up appointments and hygiene care are necessary to ensure the longevity and function of All-on-4/All-on-6 implants. Patients should follow recommended maintenance routines for optimal results.

Denture & implant prices in Singapore

At WeSmile Dental Care, we understand the importance of affordable healthcare, especially for seniors who may require dentures or implants for improved oral health and quality of life. Our team is committed to providing transparent pricing and exploring financial support options to ensure that individuals can access the dental care they need without financial burden.

Here’s a breakdown of our denture and implant prices (inclusive of GST):

From

* Number of implant fixtures required is determined on a case-by-case basis by our dentists.

Financial support options for dentures and implants

Both Medisave and the Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) in Singapore may offer subsidies or coverage for dentures and dental implants, particularly for eligible seniors.

CHAS

CHAS

CHAS benefits are tiered depending on both the household monthly income per person, and the Annual Value of your home. To understand your eligibility, refer to the CHAS website.

Based on the CHAS card that you hold, the subsidies for applicable dental treatments are summarized in this table.

Medisave

Medisave

For Singaporeans and PRs, a portion of surgical expenses may be claimed from your Medisave. Drop our clinics a call to understand if your treatment can be claimed from Medisave.

Insurance Coverage

Some insurance packages in Singapore may include coverage for dentures and implants, providing financial assistance for eligible individuals. It's advisable to check with your insurance provider regarding coverage details and requirements.

KGC

About our geriatric dentistry expert – Dr. Khor Guan Chiang

Dr. Khor is experienced with geriatric dentistry and is adept at addressing common dental issues faced by seniors, including dentures, gum disease, and identifying the root cause of concerns for long-term care. With a gentle and non-pushy approach, he creates a comfortable environment for seniors, ensuring they feel at ease during visits. Dr. Khor’s multilingual skills facilitate effective communication with diverse patients, fostering trust and understanding.

With a commitment to personalised care and enhancing oral health, Dr. Khor is dedicated to providing seniors with a positive and empowering dental experience. Read more about him here.

Our Dental Care Quality Assurance Programme

To ensure that your oral health is well taken care of, we offer a Dental Care Quality Assurance Programme for specific procedures, including dentures and implants, performed at any of our dental clinics.

Here’s what is covered under our Dental Care Quality Assurance Programme.