If you have lost some or all of your permanent 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 permanent teeth for both aesthetic and functional purposes: to restore the appearance of your smile and help with eating and talking. For instance, your dentist may recommend them after tooth extractions for people with badly decayed teeth, advanced periodontal disease, or some other infection that causes you to lose your teeth.
While dentures are commonly associated with older adults, there are instances where younger individuals, typically in their 20s or 30s, may choose dentures as a solution for their dental needs.
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.
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.
Why Would Young Adults Opt for Dentures?
Here are some of the reasons why young adults in their 20s and 30s may opt for dentures over other tooth replacement options:
- Severe Tooth Loss or Damage: Young adults may face situations where they experience significant tooth loss or damage due to factors such as accidents, injuries, or congenital conditions. In such cases, dentures can provide an effective and practical solution for restoring their ability to speak, eat, and smile confidently.
- Dental Diseases or Conditions: Certain dental conditions, such as advanced gum disease (periodontitis) or tooth decay, can lead to extensive tooth loss among young adults. Despite efforts to preserve their natural teeth through treatments like root canals or dental crowns, the severity of the condition may necessitate their removal and subsequent replacement with dentures to regain oral functionality.
- Genetic Factors or Developmental Abnormalities: In some instances, young adults may have inherited genetic conditions or developmental abnormalities that affect their dental health. These conditions can result in malformed or missing teeth, making dentures a viable option to restore both the aesthetics and functionality of their smiles.
- Financial Considerations: Access to comprehensive dental care, including restorative treatments like dental implants or bridges, can be financially challenging for young adults who may be facing limited income or lack dental insurance coverage. Dentures, with their comparatively lower cost, can provide a more accessible solution to address their immediate dental needs.
- Emotional and Psychological Impact: The psychological impact of missing or damaged teeth can significantly affect a young adult’s self-esteem, confidence, and overall quality of life. Dentures can offer a transformative solution, allowing individuals to regain their smile and restore their self-assurance.
Major concern for young denture wearers
Dentures are typically associated with older adults who have experienced significant tooth loss due to age, decay, or other oral health issues. However, younger individuals may also face tooth loss due to various factors such as trauma, accidents, genetic predisposition, or underlying dental conditions.
For individuals in their 20s and 30s, the prospect of wearing dentures at a younger age can have significant social, emotional, and practical implications.
Here are some specific concerns:
1. Self-esteem and social confidence
Young adults often place great importance on their appearance and may feel self-conscious about wearing dentures, especially if their peers have a full set of natural teeth. The idea of having removable prosthetic teeth may impact their self-esteem and confidence in social interactions, including dating, professional networking, and public speaking.
To overcome this:
- Consider connecting with support groups or online communities where you can interact with others who have similar experiences. Sharing your concerns and hearing about others’ journeys can boost your confidence.
- Practice self-acceptance – Embrace the fact that dentures are a solution to improve your oral health and overall well-being. Focus on your other positive qualities and achievements to boost self-esteem.
2. Lifestyle adjustments
Dentures require adjustments to eating habits and oral hygiene routines. Younger individuals may feel frustrated or limited by the dietary restrictions that come with wearing dentures, as certain foods can be challenging to chew or may cause discomfort. Additionally, maintaining proper denture hygiene, including cleaning and soaking, becomes a new routine that requires diligence and time management.
To manage this:
- Work with a dentist or prosthodontist – They can help ensure that your dentures fit properly and provide guidance on adapting to new eating habits. Gradually introduce different foods, cut them into smaller pieces, and chew slowly to increase comfort and confidence.
- Practice good oral hygiene – Follow a regular oral hygiene routine, including cleaning your dentures and maintaining proper gum and mouth care. This will help keep your dentures clean and prevent oral health issues.
3. Long-term maintenance and cost
Dentures have a lifespan and may require adjustments, repairs, or replacement over time. For younger individuals, this means facing long-term maintenance costs and potential financial burdens associated with the upkeep of their dentures. These expenses, combined with the need for regular dental visits, may pose challenges for individuals who are still establishing their careers or have other financial responsibilities.
To manage this:
- Discuss financial options: Speak with your dentist about flexible payment plans, insurance coverage, or assistance programs that can help manage the cost of denture maintenance and potential replacements.
- Maintain regular dental visits: Scheduled check-ups with your dentist will help monitor the condition of your dentures, address any concerns, and prevent potential complications.
4. Bone resorption and facial changes
Tooth loss at a young age can lead to bone resorption, where the jawbone gradually shrinks due to the lack of stimulation from natural teeth. This can result in changes in facial appearance, such as a sunken or aged look. Younger individuals wearing dentures may experience these changes earlier in life, which can impact their self-image and overall satisfaction with their appearance.
To overcome this:
- Explore alternative options: Discuss the possibility of dental implants or implant-supported dentures with your dentist. These options can provide a more stable and long-term solution, minimizing bone resorption and preserving facial structure.
- Consider bone preservation techniques: If suitable, your dentist may recommend bone grafting or other procedures to maintain jawbone volume and prevent significant changes in facial appearance.
5. Future dental treatment options
Dentures are a viable solution for tooth replacement, but they may not be the ideal long-term solution for some individuals. In their 20s and 30s, individuals may have to consider the potential need for alternative treatments, such as dental implants or implant-supported dentures, in the future. Exploring these options and understanding their long-term benefits and implications is an important consideration for younger individuals with dentures.
As such, you should:
- Stay informed: Keep yourself updated on advancements in dental technology and treatment options. This will help you make informed decisions about potential future treatments that may better suit your needs and goals.
- Maintain regular dental check-ups: Your dentist can monitor your oral health and provide guidance on preventive measures to prolong the lifespan of your dentures or explore alternative treatment options when necessary.
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
One common myth about the first days with dentures is that they are overwhelmingly painful and unbearable. While it is true that there is an adjustment period when getting used to dentures, the notion that it is excruciatingly painful is a misconception.
Fact is, it is normal to experience some temporary discomfort and sensations as your mouth adapts to the new prosthetic in the beginning. This discomfort may include sore spots, mild irritation, or increased salivation. However, it is crucial to understand that these discomforts are typically manageable and diminish as your mouth becomes accustomed to the dentures.
Moreover, modern advancements in denture technology and techniques, such as improved liner materials and better-fitting dentures, have significantly reduced the discomfort associated with wearing dentures. Your dentist will work closely with you to ensure a proper fit and provide guidance on adjusting to the new prosthetic.
2. Dentures require regular dental checks for fixes
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 them, make sure to follow the proper procedure for cleaning and caring for your dentures. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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 or 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.
6. 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
It is crucial for young adults in their 20s and 30s, who are considering getting dentures, to seek professional dental advice and explore all available treatment options. This will ensure that you receive personalized care that meets your unique needs and helps your achieve optimal oral health and well-being.