If you have lost all your teeth, or are about to lose them, then you are a candidate for dentures regardless of your age. Dentures are removable appliances that replace your missing natural teeth and help restore your appearance and help with eating and talking. Dentures can also be used after extractions for people with badly decayed teeth, advanced periodontal disease, or some other infection that cannot be fixed, which makes them a great tooth replacement and smile makeover solution for young people in their 20s and 30s.
Most denture wearers are seniors since people tend to lose their teeth as they age. However, there are also many young people who wear partials or even full dentures for various reasons. Here are some interesting statistics on denture wearers in the US:
- 3% of Americans aged 18 to 34 wear partial or complete dentures
- 16% of Americans aged 35 to 44 wear dentures
- 29% of Americans aged between 45 and 55 years wear dentures
- 51% of Americans between the ages of 55 and 64 wear dentures
- 57% of Americans aged 65 to 74 wear dentures.
So, between men and women, who are more likely to wear dentures? Statistics show that 24% of women have dentures compared to 19% of men.
Source: Total tooth loss in the United Kingdom in 1998 and implications for the future by James G Steele, Elizabeth T Treasure, Nigel Pitts, G Bradnock
Can anyone get dentures?
Most people are ideal candidates for dentures under normal circumstances, but this will be determined by your dentist after a physical examination. That said, many people believe that a young person is not a candidate for dentures, and that only the elderly should wear them. That is not true. There are several reasons why young individuals could be missing teeth, and if those teeth are not replaced, pressure may be put on the remaining teeth, leading to other oral problems and even more tooth loss.
Keep in mind that there are different types of dentures, including partials, complete dentures, and implant-supported dentures. Partial dentures provide an almost immediate solution to missing teeth, especially when aesthetics is a primary concern, allowing you to save your smile in emergency situations where a tooth was knocked off. Your complete dentures can also be custom-made to solve many problems of missing teeth, restoring the full function of your mouth.
Myths on why dentures are bad
There are many myths surrounding the use of dentures, some of which prevent unknowing people from achieving the best dental health and improving their appearance and confidence. Whatever people say about dentures, the truth is that they are more prevalent than you think. Here are 5 myths and facts about dentures that you are likely to have heard:
1. First Day with Dentures
Dentures are not meant to be a permanent tooth restoration. As removable appliances, they’re various things and events that may cause them to last less than the estimated five to ten years before the need for replacement.
Fact is, dentures are durable, but they are also very brittle. Dropping them, by even a few inches, can break the prosthetic or denture base. In addition, they tend to lose their natural appearance and chewing performance with age, brushing, and chewing, even if you exercise proper care.
If you don’t take proper care of your dentures, they may also dry out or warp. So, from the first day you wear your dentures, follow the proper procedure for cleaning and caring for them. And when the fit doesn’t feel right, or they begin to slip and cause sores in your mouth, quickly visit your dentist for adjusting or relining to avoid any discomfort.
2. Why do dentures look fake?
Some people believe that all dentures are the same, which causes them to look around for the lowest price when shopping for this tooth replacement option.
Fact is, you cannot just wear any dentures. Your dentist has to conduct a thorough oral examination, review your health history, and then take measurements of your mouth and prepare it for personalized dentures.
To avoid discomfort, you need dentures that match your dentist’s specifications and fit your mouth perfectly. Otherwise, they will not only be uncomfortable, but also cause you to feel conscious about your appearance.
3. Speech in your first week with dentures
Many young candidates for dentures are particularly concerned that wearing these appliances will affect the way they sound, causing them to talk in an unusual way.
Fact is, it takes some time to get used to your dentures. However, you should sound like your old self in a fairly short amount of time. If you happen to develop chronic speech problems from the time you wear your dentures, you should ask your dentist to check the fit immediately.
4. How common are dentures adhesives?
It is a common misconception that you have to constantly use adhesive to make your dentures hold all day.
Fact is, dentures are made to fit your mouth structure precisely, being held in place by suction forces in the mouth, and no adhesive is needed for extra comfort. Adhesives are only used temporarily in emergencies to keep the dentures stable in case they need to be adjusted/relined due to changes in the structure of your mouth, until your next visit to the dentist.
Prolonged use of adhesives can cause bone loss in the jaw and mask infections. If dentures begin to feel loose, you should see your dentist immediately.
5. Foods to eat with new dentures
You might not be able to continue eating your normal foods for a while, but this is not a permanent situation.
Fact is, many denture wearers can gradually adjust to eating the foods they enjoy as they get used to the new feel of their teeth, though a few of them cannot eat everything they would like, especially hard, chewy, and sticky foods that may damage the dentures.
Here are some preferable foods for eating with dentures
- Veggie chips or pitted olives for a snack – instead of popcorn and nuts
- Soft ice cream – instead of hard, sticky, and chewy lollies
- Breads made from refined flour
- Slow-cooked red meat or softer types of meat like fish and chicken
- Soft fruits and cooked vegetables like smoothies and mashed vegetable