There’s a significant stigma to wearing dentures – specifically that you have poor dental hygiene. In reality, though, there are many medical reasons that people suffer from tooth loss, including simple aging to suffering from conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure.
As a result of these issues, as well as poor access to dental care, more than 36 million Americans have no teeth, and another 120 million are missing at least one tooth. Many of these individuals will turn to dentures or other dental implants to fill the gaps.
If you need dentures to improve your health or appearance, don’t despair. You’re not alone and there are many different options, allowing you to meet your specific needs. Properly made and maintained, no one will even be able to tell that your dentures aren’t your natural teeth.
Tooth Decay And Dentures
The most obvious reason that an individual might need dentures is that they’re missing teeth, but even before losing or having teeth extracted, you may have certain worrisome signs. Chronic dry mouth, for example, can make you more vulnerable to tooth decay, while gums that bleed when you brush your teeth are an indicator that you’re suffering from gum disease. Over time, both of these conditions can lead to loose teeth, inflammation, and other conditions that can require tooth extractions and, ultimately, dentures.
Assessing Your Needs
Not everyone who wears dentures requires a full set of teeth. Rather, there are actually many different types of dentures designed to meet different needs. The first major distinction is between complete and partial dentures. Partial dentures are typically attached to a bridge and attach to the mouth around remaining teeth – this also helps prevent the remaining teeth from changing position.
What people typically think of when they think of dentures, though, are complete dentures. Complete dentures are used when an individual has no teeth remaining in their mouth, and these also come in several forms. The two most common forms are snap in dentures that pop in and out of the mouth and can be easier to maintain and screw-in dentures, that are permanently implanted in the mouth. Many prefer this style since they know that their dentures are securely placed at all times.
Finally, in addition to these special, permanent implants, there are also same day dentures designed for individuals who don’t have insurance and can’t afford custom dentures. These dentures are placed on the same day as your final extractions and are a lower quality, but they serve the purpose of allowing the user to smile and eat confidently.
Maintaining Your Dentures
Like your natural teeth, dentures require proper maintenance. For example, over time, our mouths change shape, causing existing dentures to fit poorly. In order to be sure that your dentures are comfortable and allow you to maintain a healthy facial structure, you should have your dentures evaluated by your prosthodontist every year and have a new set made every 7-10 years. You also need to have your dentures re-lined regularly to prevent oral inflammation.
Ultimately, the majority of people who are missing teeth benefit significantly from having properly fitted dentures. That’s because a good set of dentures ensures that you can eat well – many people who lose their teeth suffer from malnutrition – and they also help build confidence. Whether you’re a young person with oral health problems or an older person dealing with age-related tooth loss, don’t be afraid to talk to your dentist about dentures and tooth implants. This isn’t just a cosmetic choice, but about quality of life.
*This article was contributed.