When Are Dentures a Good Choice?


Modern, realistic-looking dentures can help improve confidence in people who otherwise would have gaps in their smiles. Dentures help reinforce existing natural teeth, preventing shifting and loosening. Edentulism, or complete tooth loss, currently affects 35 million Americans, according to the American College of Prosthodontists. Whether caused by periodontitis, tooth decay or an accident, tooth loss, both partial and complete, must be attended to immediately to prevent further damage to your remaining teeth. Learn more about dentures and how to know whether they may be right for you.

What are Dentures?

False teeth are connected to a plate and molded to fit the individual’s mouth. Dentures are available in two main types: complete and partial.

A complete set is meant to replace all natural teeth. Depending on the type you select, they can be inserted immediately following tooth extraction or after the gums have enough time to heal, which usually takes at least eight weeks. Conventional complete dentures are inserted after the healing process is complete, but immediate complete dentures are inserted right away so the individual never has to go without a full set of teeth. Each has advantages.

Conventional dentures are fitted snugly to the healed gums and will require fewer adjustments over time. Immediate dentures are convenient, but as the gums heal underneath the denture, the mouthpiece must be adjusted regularly. Some individuals wear immediate dentures while waiting for the gums to heal, but opt for conventional dentures afterward.

A partial denture only replaces a few missing teeth. A fixed partial denture, also called a bridge, is securely set in place with dental cement. It is not removable. A removable partial denture uses metal hooks to attach onto other teeth to hold it in place. It can be taken out and cleaned when necessary.

Three Signs You Need Dentures

How can you tell if you may need dentures soon? Here are a number of oral health warning signs to watch for:

1. You Have Loose Teeth

If your teeth are beginning to loosen and separate from the gums, they may be infected with gum disease, also known as periodontitis. Periodontitis involves inflammation of the gums in response to a buildup of bacteria-filled plaque on the tooth. Over time, gum tissues and bone will recede and create a pocket between the remaining gum and tooth, causing the tooth to loosen. If gum disease goes untreated, the continuing tissue and bone disintegration along with a growing bacterial presence can necessitate tooth removal in order to stop the infection. If this happens in one or more teeth, a complete or partial denture may be needed.

2. You Have Had an Accident

Not all missing teeth are a result of disease. If you lost teeth as the result of an accident, it’s important to get fitted for at least a partial denture to preserve the remaining teeth, otherwise they may shift out of alignment and make it difficult to speak, bite and chew.

3. You Have an Intense Toothache

A toothache is the first sign of decay. You also may have increased sensitivity in your teeth and it may be painful to chew. When cavities grow too large, the entire tooth must be extracted and a partial denture becomes an option.

You can preserve your natural teeth by scheduling appointments with your dentist at least once every six months, brushing and flossing regularly, and wearing a mouthguard when playing contact sports. Dentures may never be necessary if you take good care of your teeth, but consult with the professionals at Oak Hills Dentistry to explore your options if you have loose, missing or aching teeth.