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This blog has been reviewed and approved by Dr Robert Lee, a dental professional of 35 years.
Should You Get Dentures? Signs That You Might Need Them
Will you know when the time has come to get dentures? If you’ve suffered from problems like tooth pain, periodontal disease, or even loose teeth, it’s time to see your dentist and discuss your options—and whether it’s time to get dentures. Read on to learn more about the signs you’re ready for dentures, how to keep your teeth healthy, and more.
In this article:
How Do You Know if You Need Dentures?
Many people get dentures at some point in their lives, but how do you know whether you should get dentures or not? Sometimes, even people under 45 need dentures, so they aren’t exclusive to the elderly, even if most denture users fall above the age of 45. According to the CDC, from 2015 to 2018, 12.9 percent of adults aged 65 and older experienced complete tooth loss, which increases with age.
If you’re asking yourself, “Should I get dentures?” you’ve come to the right place. However, the question of when to get dentures depends on your personal situation. Whether you need dentures or not is more to do with your oral health and individual factors, which you should discuss with your dentist. Read on to recognize common signs when you may need dentures.
One of the main reasons you might need dentures is periodontal disease, like periodontitis, which can loosen teeth or cause tooth loss. It’s a serious gum infection that damages the soft tissue and can even destroy the bone that supports your teeth. The good news is that, if you address any problems early on, you can prevent periodontal disease from getting worse. Regular brushing, flossing, and proper dental care go a long way.
If you notice you have sensitivity or bleeding gums, see your dentist or dental hygienist to get the right treatment. Should you have a more serious case of periodontal disease, in some cases your dentist may recommend pulling the teeth and replacing them with implants or dentures.
Gums that are sensitive, red, and swollen can be warning signs for periodontal disease. Early signs of gum disease or gingivitis can be treated with professional cleaning and the use of specialized mouthwash and antibacterial toothpaste, but if left to progress, things can get worse. If your bleeding gums are left untreated, bone loss may begin, which can eventually lead to tooth loss. As seen above in the case of periodontal diseases, gum infection-related tooth loss can lead to one of the main reasons you might need dentures.
If you notice teeth are loose or moving, then you may need to consider getting dentures in the near future. Loose teeth are a sign of insufficient bone support and might also be a sign of periodontal disease. As you can’t see below your gums, you may have significant damage without even knowing it. If you notice loose teeth, moving teeth, or gaps between your teeth widening, talk to your dentist about it.
If you’ve already lost a few or several teeth, dentures could be one of the treatment options. The longer you go without getting dentures—or getting the gaps between the teeth replaced with a bridge or implants—the greater the chance of losing the rest of your teeth. Your teeth need others next to them for support, and if there is a gap, then the healthy teeth will shift faster and become weaker. Talk to your dentist if you have any missing teeth.
Severe Tooth Pain
A toothache that won’t go away could be a sign that decay has made it into the nerves. Often a root canal can save the tooth, but if the tooth has decayed beyond the point of repair, then you may need it removed and replaced with an implant—or even dentures if multiple teeth are affected.
What To Do When Experiencing the Signs You Need Dentures
If you have periodontal disease, loose teeth, missing teeth, or any of the above signs you might need dentures, the first thing you should do is see your dentist. Your dentist may recommend one of the following treatments for you:
Full dentures. If all your teeth are removed and the gums are healed after tooth extraction , then you can get a full set of dentures to replace your previous teeth. These can be worn without denture adhesive, but adhesive may make them more stable and comfortable to wear, allowing you to eat, talk, and smile confidently.
Partial dentures. Partial dentures replace a portion of your teeth that are missing and use the neighboring teeth around the denture as support. Partial dentures can also stop the natural teeth from becoming loose and moving around.
Dental implants. Dental implants are surgically anchored to your jawbone and used as a long-term solution for missing teeth.
Your dentist may refer you to a prosthodontist, a dental specialist specializing in dental prosthetic procedures and treatments like dentures. Additionally, for implants, your dentist may also refer you to a specialist periodontist for the surgical phase. You can discuss your options to find what’s right for you, like choosing between dentures and implants. If you opt for dentures, your dentist or prosthodontist will explain how dentures are made and take imprints of your mouth to ensure your dentures are secure and comfortable. In the meantime, you may get an immediate denture, a temporary type of denture to wear while your permanent one is prepared.
How to Increase the Lifespan of Your Real Teeth
To increase your teeth’s lifespan, following good dental hygiene is essential. Take care of your teeth by
brushing them for two minutes a day, twice a day with an antibacterial toothpaste like stannous fluoride
flossing once a day before brushing your teeth
seeing your dentist or dental hygienist regularly for checkups and cleanings, usually every 6 months
opting for additional cleanings if you have issues like a dry mouth or if you smoke.
Frequently Asked Questions About When You Should Get Dentures
How do you know if you need dentures?
If you have loose teeth, periodontal disease, or severe tooth pain, you may need to get your teeth removed and replaced with dentures and/or implants.
At what point should you get dentures?
When you get to a point where your teeth or tooth cannot be saved, you may want to discuss your options with your dentist, like getting dentures.
What is the average age for dentures?
Many get their first set of false teeth or implants between the ages of 40 and 49, but your chances of needing dentures increases the older you get. According to the CDC, 12.9 percent of adults aged 65 and older experienced complete tooth loss, and this likelihood increases with age.
There is no specific age to get dentures, although you are more likely to need dentures as you get older. Good oral hygiene and regular visits to your dental professionals can help you keep your teeth healthy for longer, but if you notice loose teeth or any of the above signs, consider discussing when to get dentures with your dentist.