Media & news

Dentures are not the answer

by: Frederic Love

Tell removable denture wearers that there is a well proven, scientifically validated, bone-anchored alternative to the countless social, emotional and even nutritional disappointments they've faced since losing their teeth and they will be eager to know more.

Dentures are Not the Answer

If edentulism were an infectious disease, it would be classified as a pandemic. According to the United Nations’ World Health Organization (WHO), somewhere between 6 and 10 percent of the world’s population is toothless, which is both a tragic problem for people suffering such loss, and an epic opportunity for professionals prepared to provide oral rehabilitation with the support of Nobel Biocare.

The dramatic WHO statistics are presented in the centerfold spread. As daunting as these figures are, it’s important to remember that these vast numbers do indeed represent individual people — potential patients — who can be helped to a better life, one at a time. In this context, the well-proven implant-based options depicted in the column to the right represent Nobel Biocare’s offerings to the dental professional in a nut shell.

All of Per-Ingvar Brånemark’s first patients were edentulous cases that he treated with full-arch restorations. Consequently, no other form of oral implant treatment has more or longer favorable follow-up than these traditional bone-anchored solutions. The data set extends well back into the post-war era. Nobel Biocare is proud to continue to develop new solutions based on this experience.

If you’re looking for an efficient full-arch treatment concept for immediate loading—one that’s both affordable and well-proven—All-on-4 treatment is supported with almost fifteen years of clinical success. This treatment option, it should be noted, was pioneered by Nobel Biocare. The humble overdenture—still a good alternative to the removable denture according to the long-term data that Nobel Biocare solutions have accumulated over the years—has gone high-tech with the advent of the NobelProcera Implant Bar Overdenture. (Read all about it here.) There are many options to consider when you meet dissatisfied removable denture users—including zygomatic solutions for the longtime denture wearer with severely resorbed maxillary bone. Nobel Biocare covers all the bases.

The challenge of longevity

Despite reports from the WHO that indicate that oral health is improving in all age groups globally, edentulism is still on the upswing as we’re surviving into old age in greater numbers than ever before. Living a full life—rather than just surviving— requires teeth that work; and for the edentulous patient that means implant- based prosthetics. (See the Mc- Gill consensus report reference on page 9, for example.)

Implant innovations, such as NobelSpeedy and NobelActive, deliver the high initial stability necessary to turn immediate loading into routine procedure today, but are only part of the treatment equation. You have to trust every aspect of the treatment protocol, the associated surgical and prosthetic components, and the time-proven reliability of the entire treatment concept, if you are going to recommend implants to the removable denture wearer. Nobel Biocare delivers on all these points. To effectively present the good news of implant-based alternatives to denture wearers, one has to be aware of their worries and concerns and make them aware of the long-term detrimental effects of edentulism.

Bone resorption leads to facial changes, accelerated superficial signs of aging, and masticatory difficulties. Even the best fitting removable dentures could cause additional problems such as difficulty speaking, reluctance to laugh, and the widely heard complaint: sore spots and painful blisters. According to a scientific finding published by J. Fisk et al, in 1998, the most common complaints from people wearing dentures are serious indeed. They include a sense of premature aging, less self-confidence and more frequent embarrassment.

People who wear removable dentures report that they enjoy food and drinks less, no longer laugh freely and find social networking more difficult. A poorly fitting denture worsens the situation while an implant- anchored or retained solution improves it.

It may be difficult to get removable denture wearers to meet the osseointegration specialist—many of them don’t visit the dentist, except when they are having problems, after all. Still, it’s well worth the effort to make the connection.


Patient seminars

Nobel Biocare will help you prepare seminars for potential patients that describe the differences between removable dentures and the implantbased alternative.

Host such a seminar—so you can meet removable denture users who are looking for something better— and you’ll find that the functional, esthetic and (by extension) social advantages provided by implants trumps the loose denture in every category.


Conventional dentures (even with an adhesive) generally restore only 10% of chewing function, while a bone-anchored prosthesis restores 60–80% in similar evaluations.

What about facial structure? Removable dentures do provide some support for the lip and cheeks, of course, but implant-based prosthetics provide even greater, more natural-looking support. Then there is the issue of resorption. Denture use may actually accelerate the shrinkage of jaw bone, while load-bearing implants prevent resorption. Removable denture wearers often complain of chronic problems due to bad fit. For understandable reasons, implant patients rarely do. Add to these comparisons the fact that patients with implant-supported prostheses never need adhesives or a denture relining, and it’s easy to understand the attraction of the bone-anchored alternative.

So here’s the message, we’d like to help you deliver: A dental implant mimics the root of a tooth. Patients get that.

Let them know that a fixed solution will feel like their own teeth, that oral hygiene will require a few new skills and take some practice— and that treatment is possible in most cases—and we’re sure you’ll find the response gratifying.

More to explore:

To learn more about the All-on-4 treatment concept, please click here.

To learn more about NobelProcera, please click here.

Looking to add to your skill set? Check out Nobel Biocare's global course catalog to find a training program near you.