The psychological effects of total tooth loss, also known as edentulism, are complex and varied. They range from very minimal anxiety to a state of neuroticism. Although complete dentures can satisfy the esthetic needs of many patients, there are those who feel their social life is significantly affected when wearing dentures. Some say they are concerned with kissing and romantic situations, especially if a new partner in a relationship is unaware of their oral situation.
Are you happy with your dentures?
One study of interviews with edentulous patients found tooth loss was comparable to the death of a friend or loss of other important parts of a body in causing a reduction of self-confidence ending in a feeling of shame or bereavement. Another dental survey of edentulous patients found 66 percent were dissatisfied with their complete dentures. Primary reasons were discomfort and lack of retention causing pain and discomfort.
Still, other dental health surveys indicate that only 80 percent of the edentulous population can wear both removable upper and lower dentures full time. Some patients wear only one denture, usually the maxillary; others can wear their dentures for short periods only. Also, approximately 7 percent of patients are not able to wear their dentures at all and become dental cripples or “oral invalids.” They rarely leave their home environment, and when they feel forced to venture out, the thought of meeting and talking to people when not wearing their teeth is unsettling.
A report of more than 100 completely edentulous patients seeking treatment was performed and found that of the patients studied, 88 percent claimed difficulty with speech, with one-fourth reporting they experienced great difficulty when conversing. As a consequence, it is easy to correlate the reported increase with concern relative to social activities. Awareness of movement of the lower denture was cited by 62.5 percent of these patients, although the upper dentures stayed in place most of the time at almost the same percentage.
Upper denture discomfort was listed with equal frequency as slipping (63.5 percent). Surprisingly, 16.5 percent of the patients stated they never wore their lower denture. In comparison, the upper denture was uncomfortable half as often (32.6 percent), and only 1 percent were seldom able to wear their dentures. The function was the fourth most common problem reported by the denture wearers studied. Half the patients avoided many foods, and 17 percent claimed they were able to chew more effectively without the dentures. The psychological effects of the inability to eat in public can be correlated with these findings.
Effects of tooth loss
Altered self-image, dislike of appearance
Inability to discuss this taboo subject
Behaving in a way that keeps tooth loss a secret
Altered behavior in socializing and forming close relationships
Other reports agree that the major motivating factors for patients to undergo treatment were related to the difficulties with eating, denture fit, and discomfort. The psychological need of the edentulous patient is expressed in many forms. For example, in 1970, British citizens used approximately 88 tons of denture adhesive. In 1982, more than 5 million Americans used denture adhesives, and a report shows that in the United States, more than $200 million is spent each year on denture adhesives, representing 55 million units sold. The patients say they are willing to accept the unpleasant taste, need for recurring application, inconsistent denture fit, embarrassing circumstances, and continued expense for the sole benefit of increased retention of the dentures. The lack of retention and psychological risk of embarrassment in the denture wearer with removable dentures is a concern the dental profession must address.
What are alternatives for conventional dentures?
Implant-supported dentures and full fix implants are the best alternatives for conventional removable dentures. In special cases, we can makeover your smile in a single day. Many people who chose dental implants find the dental implants are cost-effective, and the wearers find the implants look like natural teeth and perform just as natural teeth do. That leads to improved self-esteem and feelings of psychological well-being. Dental implants restore the quality of life, while other options such as dentures or bridges sometimes lead to bone deterioration and interfere with daily life activities such as eating, smiling and speaking.
Dental implants are implanted in two stages and are comprised of a titanium post and porcelain crown. Dental implants are placed into the bone and allowed to heal. Permanent crowns are placed, and the bite is adjusted to ensure its alignment. Titanium posts fuse to the jawbone, and the dental implants can last a lifetime. Your Omega Dental Specialists can help you decide on dental implants.
Financing is available
We accept most insurance plans. We offer a list of options for making payment arrangements, and the office works to make many third-party lenders and other types of credit programs available for patients. Please also check our occasional special deals on implants.
Why choose Omega Dental Specialists?
With our variety of dental specialists under one roof, Omega Dental Specialists Houston provides patients with treatment options for any potential need. Our dedicated staff is experienced in several specialty divisions, including Endodontics, Oral Surgery, Dental Implants, and Orthodontics. Our office is equipped with some of the most modern instruments and machinery available in dentistry. At Omega Dental, we are open seven days a week to help you to take care of your oral health even if you have a busy schedule.