All You Need to Know About Dentures – Right Here!
Roughly 20% of people aged 65 or older have lost all their teeth, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 26% of adults aged 75 or older have lost all their teeth. More than 41 million Americans were using dentures in 2019 alone. The majority of young and middle-aged adults have dental cavities and nearly a quarter have untreated tooth decay. This is the most common issue that leads to lost teeth. Having sustained an injury, some chronic illnesses, and the use of some medications can increase the likelihood of tooth loss. If you’re concerned about your oral health and considering dentures, it’s important to look into reliable research and consult sources that can set you up for being informed when consulting a dentist.
Unlike dental implants which are replacement teeth that are anchored into the jawbone via a screw-like abutment, dentures are either removable full (complete) or partial false teeth. Partial dentures, also referred to as bridges or dental flippers, fill a gap between existing teeth. The false teeth have a base and hook onto healthy teeth. For the most part, they look natural and feel comfortable. Some benefits when considering partial dentures include convenience and affordability. False teeth can easily be taken out each evening and thoroughly cleaned to ensure dentures last in as good a shape as possible for as long as possible. Bridges are often the most affordable tooth replacement option, cheaper than many other alternatives. Partial denture frames are most often made of metal and the teeth can be made of porcelain or acrylic resin.
Full, or permanent, dentures may be used when a person has very few teeth left or none at all. If the remaining teeth are still healthy, full dentures can be placed over top to keep the fixture snugly and comfortably in place. Titanium screws are attached to the bone underneath gums where permanent dentures can be attached. Full denture frames are most often made of flexible acrylic resin and the teeth can be made of porcelain or acrylic resin as well.
Porcelain dentures have a natural look that resembles tooth enamel and the dentures can easily be color-matched to remaining healthy teeth. The advantage of opting for porcelain false teeth is that the material is extremely durable. This long-lasting option is a favorite among patients, but keep in mind that they can shatter or crack more easily if dropped on a hard surface.
A less expensive and more popular option is the acrylic denture. Durable and lightweight, this has become by far the most common material for partial and permanent dentures. Over time, as the mouth changes and as gums naturally begin to recede more, these dentures are quite flexible and will adapt to the changes. It’s important to keep in mind that this choice will likely need to be replaced every 5-8 years. The repeated replacement may add up in costs over the long run, even though individual dentures are less expensive than their porcelain counterparts.
Dentures do not require any adhesive to stay in place. They stay tightly suctioned in place simply with the mouth’s saliva. This is an important part of safely wearing dentures. It is essential to start out with a proper fit and to maintain a good adjustment and alignment, so food does not get under the seal and cause damage to the gum or tooth roots. Adhesives with the American Dental Association seal of approval are available in creams, powders, and strips, but be sure to first check with your dental team to see if an adjustment or refitting is in order.
Gently cleaning dentures with water or toothpaste and leaving them to soak overnight leads to your apparel’s longer life. A denture tablet can be used with an antifungal or antibacterial solution. Making sure to schedule regular dentist appointments, at least twice a year, can help with maintenance and prevention of mouth irritation or sores due to bacteria or an ill-fitting denture. Ask your dentist if they can do a deep cleaning of the denture while you’re there.
Some health conditions that are common among older populations can affect oral health and the use of dentures, according to the CDC. Diabetics are at a higher risk of developing a severe form of gum disease that can prevent the proper fitting of dentures. Those with osteoporosis can experience jaw deterioration, which leaves the jawbone unable to support dentures. Additionally, certain medications and even chemotherapy/radiation therapy drugs can affect gum health. This may affect the use of dentures or at least affect their fitting and comfort.
As always, when seeking medical advice, it is important to consult trusted, reliable resources. The information found in this article about dentures should never replace advice given by a medical professional. It is provided as information and outlines some of the best research found online from trusted sources.
American Dental Association
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Statista Research Department