False teeth also known commonly as dentures have been around for many hundreds of years. Its been shown that false teeth were used in 700 BC by Etruscans in Northern Italy. Dentures were made of human or animal teeth. These were not very comfortable but were the first recorded false teeth known to man. Later materials such as wood were used in Japan for full dentures however these again were not comfortable and people struggled to cope with them. Dentures today are made of acrylic or metal and are used to replace just a few teeth (partial dentures) or a complete arch of teeth (full dentures).
Facts About False Teeth
Dentures unfortunately are not the ideal solution for missing teeth. Soon after teeth are lost the jaw bone changes with bone shrinkage and this has an effect on the facial profile. It is normal to see a change in facial appearance when teeth are lost. The jaw bone has little function when natural teeth are removed and for this reason the jaw bone shrinks. Dentures are made from accurate impressions which are taken of the mouth. Upper and lower impressions are taken in special impression materials and sent to a special dental laboratory for making removable dentures. In the lab dental technicians make dentures which sit over the gums and jaw bones. Dentures do not have much support in the mouth. The upper denture has a close seal on the roof of of the mouth. This seal enables the upper denture to stay in place.
The lower denture unfortunately has no such seal so unfortunately lower dentures tend to move around a lot more than the upper dentures. Acrylic teeth are set into the dentures which will form the new artificial teeth on the denture. Acrylic teeth come in a variety of brands, shapes, colours, sizes and styles. Dentures can last upto 10 years after which they should be replaced. Due to bone shrinkage the denture will no longer fit properly and will cause irritation to the gum tissues. Fungal infections are commonly found under dentures which are not routinely removed. False teeth are not the best choice for replacing natural teeth in the 21st Century.
Why Are Dental Implants Better Than False Teeth?
Consider dental implants, these can provide a full set of fixed teeth just like natural teeth. Unlike dentures dental implants are placed into the jaw bone and are secure and stable in the mouth. Dental implants are able to support a individual or multiple teeth.
- If only a single tooth is missing then only one implant is needed. A single dental implant can replaced smaller incisor teeth as well as larger molar teeth. Each completed implant requires 3 parts. A dental implant, an abutment and a porcelain crown. The treatment can be carried out under local anaesthetic and usually requires a minimum of three appointments. One appointment for surgery, another for impression taking and final appointment for fitting the restoration. The number of appointments can vary and in more complex cases (e.g. those involving bone grafting) more appointments will be required.
- If more than one tooth is missing then dental implants can be used to support bridge work. Similar to bridges on natural teeth. If for example 3 teeth were missing in a row, two implants could be used to support a 3 unit implant bridge. Dental implants bridges are strong secure and comfortable.
- Dental implants can also be used to secure and stabilise problem dentures. These dentures are known as implant overdentures, since the dentures fit over the implants. Implant overdentures are false teeth which click onto implants. In the lower jaw a minimum of 2 implants would be needed in order to secure a lower overdenture. These two implants would prevent the dentures from moving while eating and speaking. Unlike fixed implant bridge work overdentures can be removed and are considered easier to clean. However they do require greater maintenance as the small attachments do wear out. In the upper jaw a minimum of 4 implants are needed to support an overdenture. The bone in the upper jaw generally weaker than the lower jaw hence more implants are needed for similar support.
- A fixed full arch implant bridge is able to replace all teeth in an arch. A minimum of 4 implants are needed to support a fixed bridge. Unlike false teeth a full arch implant bridge is fixed, comfortable and looks totally natural. Eating food with ‘fixed and secure’ teeth is possible again with a dental implant treatment. For more details see all on four implants.
Dental implants can change your whole life. The treatment is safe, predictable and successful in about 95% of cases. Dental implants are the ideal choice for missing teeth.