How Can You Eat With Dental Implants
Your teeth do a lot! Each of your teeth serves as a support for the alignment of neighboring teeth, they give your mouth and face structure and shape, and of course, the most obvious job your teeth are responsible for is biting and chewing the foods you eat. Because your teeth are directly related to these other aspects of your well-being, tooth loss can be a serious oral health problem and lower your quality of life.
This is where dental restorations come in; they are the solution to regaining what tooth loss may have taken away, like the confidence to smile, better overall physical health, and the ability to finally eat the foods you enjoy again.
Removable dentures and permanent dental implants are the two main dental restoration options, but it’s important to note that the construction and functionality of each are very different. Dentures are a removable plate or frame which holds one or more artificial teeth. They fit above the gum line, must be removed whenever you sleep, and have a lifespan of about 5-7 years. Dental implants are a permanent tooth replacement system in which a titanium post is anchored into your jawbone below the gum line, serving as an artificial root for the prosthetic tooth (or “crown”) to attach onto. Dental implants function just like natural teeth; you don’t ever remove them, and they have a lifespan of about 25 years. Due to these major differences in construction and functionality, dental implants provide more versatility than removable dentures and are the most beneficial option for dental restoration.
Can You Eat With Dental Implants?
One of the biggest ways you’ll experience the versatile benefits of implants over dentures is by eating with dental implants. Though we don’t usually think about it, there’s a lot going on in our mouths when we eat naturally. We’re biting, chewing, and tearing food with our teeth, our jaw is moving not just up and down but in all directions, and our tongue is moving the entire time as well, helping us taste and situate the food in our mouth and making it easier to swallow. As we take a closer look into each of these actions, you’ll begin to see why at ClearChoice, we answer the question “Can you eat with dental implants?” with a confident “Yes!” and are here to tell you that eating with dental implants is not only possible, but it’s the best dental replacement option when it comes to eating.
With natural teeth, when we bite down, our jawbone is meant to take most of the impact of that biting action because our teeth are rooted down into it. When tooth loss occurs, there is no longer anything connected down to the jawbone, making biting down effectively on anything nearly impossible. To regain proper biting ability and strength, a dental replacement is necessary. A dental replacement like removable dentures, though, isn’t ideal for natural healthy biting because dentures sit on top of your gums, and the gums aren’t naturally intended to take the force of your bite the way your jawbone is. The repetitive pressure on your gums from biting down can also cause some discomfort.
Another bite function to highlight is tearing food. For many of the foods we eat with our hands, like pizza, hamburgers, and tacos, we begin with biting down and then finish the biting motion by tearing it apart and away. This bite-and-tear technique is also the way we eat a lot of raw fruits and vegetables. Since removable dentures sit on top of your gums, they are unable to stay fit in place during a motion like that and therefore don’t allow you to tear foods. All these factors lead to a significantly weakened and limited bite for denture wearers.
Dental implants, however, replace missing teeth both above and below the gum line, restoring the connection all the way down into the jawbone just like natural teeth. With the teeth restored all the way down to their root foundations, the natural function of the jawbone is reincorporated into your bite, and you regain the ability to have a full-strength bite close to what you experienced with your natural teeth, with the full capabilities of tearing food as well.
The natural action of chewing involves a lot of movement; we don’t just chew up and down; our jaw also navigates side-to-side and back and forth, and we move our tongue a lot as we chew our food, too. Unfortunately, though, removable dentures aren’t entirely stable and tend to slip and become dislodged when you try to chew that way. With dentures, you must modify your chewing motions to mostly just straight up and down, being careful not to let your tongue move around too much either. Sometimes chewing with dentures can also become uncomfortable, for the same reason we mentioned about biting; the impact of your chewing is felt mostly on the gums instead of down into your jawbone.
Chewing after dental implants, however, is a significantly better and more natural experience as compared to chewing with dentures. With implants, you retain 90% of your natural chewing ability, while those with removable dentures retain only about 20%. This is because of the way implants permanently secure your replacement teeth, eliminating the possibility of your restorations becoming dislodged or slipping while chewing after dental implants while also ensuring no discomfort. Resuming close to 100% of your ability for natural chewing after dental implants is a huge benefit that removable dentures just aren’t capable of providing.
While consuming a well-balanced diet is essential for sustaining your health, eating is something that’s meant to be enjoyed, too. If you’ve experienced tooth loss, then you know what it’s like to have that enjoyment removed from mealtime. When tooth loss isn’t restored, you’re forced only to eat soft foods, which dramatically limits your options. Dental replacements can remove a lot of those limits, but if you replace your missing teeth with removable dentures, you’ll discover this kind of dental restoration still limits your sense of taste. Full upper dentures are fixed to a plate that covers the palate (or “roof”) of your mouth, where a lot of your taste buds are located. When the palate of your mouth becomes covered by dentures, all those taste buds are blocked, dulling your sense of taste. Another way eating with dentures causes your food to be less flavorful is that they’re made of mostly plastic, and therefore everything you eat is mixed with a taste of plastic. Chewing plays an important role in tasting our food as well. Naturally timed chewing motions aid our sense of taste, and as mentioned above, chewing with dentures requires a slower, less natural technique. This causes flavors to release from food at a slower pace and throws off how you experience the balance of those flavors. Tasting liquids is also tricky with removable dentures because they quickly become dislodged when you hold a liquid in your mouth.
Eating with dental implants, though, allows you to enjoy and savor your favorite tasting foods again with little to no limitations. Implants don’t take up extra space in your mouth with frames or plates like dentures do, so all your taste buds remain exposed and are able to interact with everything you eat and drink. Also, the artificial teeth, or “crowns,” of dental implants are made of ceramic, not plastic, so there’s no other taste in your mouth tainting the flavor of what you’re eating. And lastly, since dental implants are securely rooted into your jawbone with no concern of instability or shifting, eating with dental implants makes it possible to fully experience the balance of flavors through the ability to chew naturally.
Better Health Eating with Dental Implants
The benefits of dental implants performing so much like natural teeth go beyond the ability to bite, chew, and taste all foods; they’re also better for your gum health and don’t put limitations on what you can eat. Dentures move when you chew and can slip out of place, allowing for food particles and liquids to get trapped between the gums and denture frame. This can cause your gums discomfort and irritation, and if not cleaned out properly, creates a higher risk for gum disease. Chewing after dental implants is just like chewing with natural teeth; there’s no moving of the replacements or concern they’ll dislodge, making dental implants better for your gum health.
The near-limitless experience of eating with dental implants is just one of the many benefits dental restoration through implants has to offer. Whether you’re a denture wearer who’s ready to switch from limits and restrictions to the freedom and versatility of dental implants, or a food lover who’s ready for permanent dental restoration, ClearChoice is ready, too! With more than 88 ClearChoice Centers located all across the United States, we have helped over 150,000 Americans just like you regain the freedom and confidence to fully enjoy their favorite meals again, and we would be honored to do the same for you.
Don’t let tooth loss keep you from living life to the full! When you schedule your free consultation today, you won’t just be adding a dental appointment to your calendar; you’ll be adding dinner parties and a confident smile back into your future, too!