This is branded content for Tamworth Complete Dental.
Food, glorious food, is one of the great pleasures of life. So is having a good laugh.
Unfortunately, if you are a wearer of dentures both of those greatest of joyous moments can be denied you either causing discomfort or embarrassment.
Eating can be difficult with dentures if they're slipping out of position when you try to chew, and smiling, laughing or coughing can also cause them to go awry.
Tamworth dentist Vera Stephenson said a solution that many of her patients with dentures are now opting for is the use of dental implants to stabilise dentures and make wearing them - particularly lower dentures - easier.
"So many people don't realise the different uses for dental implants - they think they're just for replacing one or many teeth," Dr Stephenson said. "But they can also be a real life changer for people with dentures by helping to make them more secure."
The process involves the insertion of just two implants into the jaw that are fitted with a special ball that then clips into an o-ring attachment inserted into the dentures. The system clips together to secure the dentures like a ball and socket.
The dentures can be easily removed as normal for cleaning and then just clipped back in.
"There are so many people who can't tolerate their dentures - they're wobbling around in their mouths and not really serving them very well," Dr Stephenson said. "About 50 per cent of people who get lower dentures can't tolerate them.
"Many end up just not wearing them, or only putting them in for photos and then taking them out again. I have patients who are struggling to eat and some gumming their food because they can't wear their dentures. For patients who have had the implants it's like night and day.
"Top dentures are better tolerated because the top jaw doesn't move around a lot, but the lower jaw does, with lots of muscles along the outside of the lower jaw. So every time you talk or chew or laugh there's nothing holding the denture in."
Dr Stephenson said the cost of the procedure was around $6000 compared to up to $40,000 to have implants to replace all of your teeth.
"Most people think that implants are too expensive for them to afford but if you're just having a couple to be able to stabilise your dentures is much less," she said. "I had one patient who said that if she'd known about this she would have done it much sooner."
Another benefit of the implants is that it helps to maintain bone in the jaw that would otherwise shrink over time after teeth are removed.
The implants stimulate the bone as if it was a tooth as force is applied and eventually fuse with the bone creating a very strong attachment.
Modern technology using tools like 3D scanning and xray means the dental implant procedure has become easier and faster.
"The technology is going through the roof with things like digital scanning and 3D xrays making everything a lot more accurate and more predictable and making treatment time shorter," said Dr Stephenson.
"You know exactly where nerves are and where the sinus is. Dentistry is not the same now and won't be the same next year as it is now."
Of course, one of the big questions any patient wants to ask is, "Does it hurt?".
"Yes, it is a surgical procedure," Dr Stephenson said. "A lot of my patients say having the implants is like having a tooth out."
To find out more or to book an appointment call Tamworth Complete Dental on 02 6766 1036 or visit tamworthcompletedental.com.au