If you’re worried that you might need dentures, you’re certainly not alone. Dentures are much more common than people think: An estimated 120 million Americans are missing at least one tooth, and more than 36 million of that number are missing all of them! Many of us are stuck in the mindset that dentures are for our grandparents, and we’re shocked when dentures are something for us. Fortunately, the technology has come a long way in the last few decades. Dentures are now more comfortable, attractive, and functional than ever before.
But how do you know when it’s time to start looking into them? Here are 4 signs that it may be time to talk to your dentist about dentures.
You’re Already Missing Some Teeth
If you’re already missing a few teeth, your other teeth could be next to go unless they get a little support. Even healthy teeth tend to “lean in” towards gaps, creating more dental problems over time. Those gaps can also create safe harbors for bacteria and make it harder to keep your teeth clean, leading to increased risk of decay. And if you’ve lost more than a few teeth, the pressure on the remaining teeth is increased, subjecting those teeth to more aggressive wear and tear.
A little support, such as a dental bridge or implants, can go a long way when you first lose some teeth. There also may come a point when it’s healthier and easier to just remove the remaining teeth and get full dentures instead.
Your Teeth Are Loose
If some of your teeth are already loose or have been shifting position, that may be a sign of advanced gum disease or a red flag for bone loss in the jaw. Either way, tooth loss is already highly likely at that point, and may even be inevitable depending on the extent of the damage. If your teeth need to be extracted, or come out on their own, you’ll need to replace them in order to keep your ability to chew, smile, and talk as usual.
Disease or Decay Has Taken Hold
If your gums are swollen, red, and sensitive, you probably have gum disease. If caught early, gum disease can be treated and the effects reversed, but once it reaches advanced stages, it can lead to tooth loss, and may even need to be treated by surgery. And of course, a simple cavity isn’t a challenge to correct, but if decay gets out of hand, you may need to have teeth extracted.
If your teeth aren’t serving you well, it’s time to take matters into your own hands. Dentures can give you back the ability to eat your favorite foods, speak clearly and easily, and smile at your friends and family.
Not sure if you’re there yet? An experienced dentist can evaluate your oral health and tell you whether or not it’s a good time to start considering dentures.