Dentures are more popular than you might think and, contrary to popular belief, are worn by adults as young as 40. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 out of 5 middle-aged adults are missing ALL of their teeth, and these stats are certainly no laughing matter.
Black and Hispanic populations suffer disproportionate rates of tooth loss. Although the exact relationships between dental disease and other chronic diseases are not fully known, it is safe to say that maintaining good oral health is critical to achieving good overall health.
There is a general belief that those who rarely brush or do not practice general good dental hygiene habits are heading towards dentures. Not true. There are some people who, despite meticulously caring for their teeth their entire lives, will wind up needing replacements in the long run.
Folks can lose teeth due to gum disease and tooth decay, or dental abnormalities. Acid reflux can also wear away the enamel on the inside surfaces of your teeth.
Brushing and flossing every day to prevent decay and loss can stave off the need for dentures for a little while, but eventually, your teeth will show signs that you can no longer put off the procedure.
You might need dentures if you have…
- Unbearable toothaches signaling decay has touched a nerve, and teeth cannot be saved
- Gum inflammation, redness, tenderness, and bleeding, especially when brushing
- Shifting or loose teeth that indicate bone loss
- Extreme pain and discomfort when eating
There are a variety of dentures available that you can discuss with your dentist or prosthodontist (a doctor who specializes in dentures) to see which one best suits your needs:
- Traditional dentures—replaces all missing teeth
- Partial dentures—used when a patient still has some of their natural teeth
- Custom dentures—more expensive, offers a natural smile
- Immediate dentures—placed into the mouth on the same day teeth are extracted
- Implant-supported dentures—natural-looking, lasts long, supports the dentures, stays securely in place
- Snap-in dentures—held securely by dental implants or anchors onto existing teeth; used when the patient is toothless but has enough bone to support it
- Overdentures—sits on top of the gum and held in place by implants
- Upper dentures—made for the upper tooth area
- Economy dentures—inexpensive, generic version of all dentures, will not fit securely, uncomfortable, looks false, a dental adhesive is necessary for them to stay put
Dentures provide folks with a reason to smile again. They will make eating and speaking easier and improve the quality of life for many. So, if your teeth have been giving you the blues, stop putting off that much-needed heart-to-heart with your dentist to discuss all of the denture options available.