We are all guilty of associating dentures with elderly folks and although this belief has a ring of truth to it, experts say many of these wearers actually received them when they were middle-aged. 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 is missing ALL of their teeth and these stats are certainly no laughing matter. So the question remains, will you need dentures?
There is a general belief that those who rarely brush, or who 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. People can lose teeth due to gum disease and tooth decay, or dental abnormalities. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) that causes stomach acid to regurgitate back into the mouth can cause serious tooth erosion that can lead tooth loss. 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.
Some signs that you might need dentures:
- Unbearable toothaches signaling decay has touched a nerve and the tooth/teeth cannot be saved
- Gum inflammation, redness, tenderness and bleeding especially when brushing
- Shifting or lose teeth which indicates bone loss
- Extreme pain and discomfort when eating
There are a variety of dentures available that can be discussed with your dental professional 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, dental adhesive is necessary for them to stay put
Dentures provide folks with not only a reason to smile again but make eating and speaking easier; they improve the quality of life for many. If your teeth have been giving you the blues, stop putting off that much-needed heart-to-heart with your dentist and discuss all of the denture options available to you.