DEAR DR. BOLES: I was at dinner with the girls and as I chewed a piece of steak, my top plate fell out of my mouth and onto the table! I was mortified! Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time this has happened. What are my options to ensure my dentures stay put? - Jeannie, Gilford, NH
DEAR JEANNIE: Unfortunately, because dentures are not permanent fixtures, they have the tendency to loosen or fall out at the worst times. Even with adhesives, dentures aren’t guaranteed to stay in place.
Dental implants are the modern day solution and provide the most permanent solution for tooth loss, often lasting a lifetime. Dental implants also do not require special cleaning or removal.
Typically, four small titanium implants are screwed into the ridge of the jaw. The head of the implant is ball-shaped, and the retaining fixture acts like a socket. The retaining fixture snaps over the ball when the denture is seated and securely holds the denture in place. The result is a tight-fitting, reliable system that allows you to speak and eat with confidence.
Another advantage to dental implants is that they help preserve the bone. Because they integrate with the jawbone, they replace some of the missing tooth root. This helps to prevent the gums and jawbone from deteriorating, which can cause facial collapse.
Dental implants are slightly more expensive than dentures, but when you consider the additional cost of fixatives, cleaning solutions and denture replacement, as well as the disadvantages of slippage, discomfort and even pain, dental implants are a far superior solution and well worth the additional cost.
With the exception of growing children, dental implants are the solution of choice for people of all ages to replace one tooth, several teeth, or all your teeth.