To people who haven’t experienced dentures themselves, there are plenty of ideas and myths that could pop up when that word comes up in the dentist’s chair.
Dentures are actually less common today than they were just a few decades ago, so younger generations may be more prone to misunderstanding how dentures work and what they can expect from wearing them. In addition, modern dentures are very different from the dentures your grandparents or their grandparents wore.
We’ll dive a little deeper into four specific facts about dentures that you may not know and clear up some of these misunderstandings along the way.
1. Dentures aren’t just for older people
One of the most common misconceptions is twofold:
- Young people (say, under 65, don’t need to wear dentures), and
- Old people (65 and older) all need dentures.
Neither of these statements are true.
"There are plenty of ideas & myths we have when that word comes up in the dentist’s chair."
Dentures are recommended by dentists if and when a person’s natural teeth have sustained injury, decay, or some other damage to the extent that they can no longer function effectively without causing pain or otherwise affecting the person’s quality of life.
This can happen to people, young and old. It has less to do with age and has more to do with the condition of a person’s natural teeth.
2. Dentures are less common today than they were 50 years ago
Many decades ago, good oral health was a lesser-known aspect of healthcare and people primarily visited the dentist to have teeth pulled when they caused pain. As a result, far more people ended up without their natural teeth and often resorted to wearing dentures.
In recent years, this situation has changed, as proper brushing and flossing are far more common and routine dental checkups and cleanings are an annual or semiannual occurrence for many people, dropping the prevalence of dentures.
Fluoridated municipal water is a factor as well, as it’s served to strengthen the teeth of many people today.
3. Dentures can actually be very discrete
For many people, the idea of wearing false teeth can be scary or embarrassing. They assume that the dentures will appear noticeable and unnatural.
However, modern high-quality, custom built dentures can be molded exactly to your jaw and gum line, and look very natural.
4. Dentures don’t last forever or eliminate the need for a dentist
On the other side of the coin, some people view dentures as a cure-all for a long history of oral health problems and expensive dental care. But that’s not really the case.
While removing natural teeth and replacing them with dentures does remove the possibility of tooth-related pain and disease, it is still possible for gums to become sore or to develop periodontal disease. Dentures will still collect plaque like natural teeth, and if not properly cared for, this can harden into tartar, affecting the appearance of dentures.
While you may not need your dentist to clean your teeth twice a year anymore, all the other aspects of a semiannual oral health checkup are still valid. In addition, a dentist will want to test the fit of the dentures and make any necessary adjustments to help maintain a clean and comfortable fit for as long as possible.
Dentures can be very realistic and do an excellent job of simulating the functionality of natural teeth, but the material they’re made from is softer than enamel and dentine and it does wear out. Depending on the type of dentures and how well they are cared for, they will usually serve their purpose for 5-10 years before needing to be replaced.
Bonus fact: Keeping your natural teeth is always the better option
While dentures are an excellent solution to many oral complications, they’re truly no match for your natural teeth.
Dentists will typically recommend caring for and keeping your natural teeth as long as possible before suggesting to go with dentures. This is because your natural teeth, when properly cared for, can usually serve you well your entire life. Ultimately, they cause less discomfort and inconvenience, and require less maintenance than dentures.