While dentures can be a suitable replacement for lost teeth for some people, they are not the only option. Furthermore, a lot of what people assume to be the truth about dentures is actually untrue. Should you ever need to replace a tooth, knowing what’s a myth and what’s real, and what your options include, can help you to make the best choice.
Myth #1: Everyone Will Need to Replace Their Teeth at Some Point
Although at one point in time tooth loss was much more prevalent, these days people can go through their entire lives without ever needing to replace a tooth. Improvements in oral care in recent years – from the increased use of fluoride toothpaste and a reduction in cavities, to improvements in periodontal treatment and prevention – have led to a drop in the number of people who have missing teeth.
While not as many people need dentures or replacement teeth any more, some still do. The American College of Prosthodontists estimates that about 178 million people in the U.S. are missing at least one tooth, and that as many as 35 million people have no teeth. Dentures might not be the optimal choice, but about 90% of people with a missing tooth or teeth wear them.
Myth #2: Dentures Are Your Best Option
People might assume that dentures are the best option for a few reasons. For one thing, they tend to get more attention that other replacement options, such as dental implants. There are special products available for cleaning dentures or for making sure they fit in the mouth well. You’ve probably heard someone making a joke about dentures at some point in time, while jokes about implants are few and far between.
But, public attention and awareness doesn’t make a denture the best option. Sure, they have benefits, such as being the most affordable tooth replacement option. But, they also have a number of drawbacks.
Perhaps the biggest disadvantage when it comes to a denture is that there is a risk of it falling out of your mouth. Some people have lost a partial denture because it fell out at an inopportune time and some people have swallowed their dentures, causing breathing and speaking problems and, in some cases, leading to life-threatening bleeding.
Myth #3: You Don’t Have to Care for Them
Compared to other tooth replacement options, dentures tend to be high maintenance. It’s a myth that they are a “set it and forget it” solution.
You have to remove them from your mouth frequently to clean them, and you can’t brush them as you would natural teeth. If you don’t take them out, there’s a chance that bacteria will grow, leading to bad breath or infections.
When you go to sleep, you usually have to take your dentures out, or risk swallowing them. Many people keep theirs in a glass of water by the bed to keep them from drying out.
Since you can remove them, you have to be particularly careful with a set of dentures. You don’t want to accidentally drop them or knock them, as you can potentially shatter or break them.
Myth #4: They are Permanent
Going along with the fact that dentures aren’t a “set it and forget it” option, they usually aren’t permanent either. They usually have a lifespan of up to 10 years, after which you’ll need to get a new set made or switch to a different tooth replacement option.
Myth #5: You Can Eat Whatever You Want
Unfortunately, people usually have to make some changes to their diet after getting dentures. Some foods are more difficult to tear or chew with a set of dentures, such as apples, corn on the cob, and lettuce. It’s usually a good idea to start out eating soft foods when you first get dentures. Cutting your foods into small pieces, so that you have less to chew, also helps.
For many people, it takes time to get used to eating with their new teeth. You might want to practice some foods at home first, or try new ways of eating your favorites, such as cutting apples up instead of eating them whole or slicing corn kernels off of the cob.
Are dentures worth it? That really depends on you. To learn more about the various tooth replacement options out there and to see which ones fit your lifestyle, budget and needs best, contact Dr. John Paul Gallardo, Miami periodontists and dental implant specialists, today. Call (305) 447-1447 to schedule a consultation.