Dentist Questions Dentist

When is the right time to get dentures?

I have a few missing teeth and I'm 64. When is the right time to get dentures?

5 Answers

If you ask most dentists, the best time to get a denture is never - if you still have remaining teeth that oppose each other, keep them if at all possible. There are too many better options available to resort to dentures, except cost (dentures are probably the least costly, and unfortunately, the least desirable from a functional standpoint. Find another dentist if a denture is the first recommendation you get.
Now is the time to replace those missing teeth.
That depends on the condition of your remaining teeth. Are you considering full dentures or partial dentures? There are so many factors to consider. Functioning with some missing teeth can put more stress on the remaining ones, causing premature loss. Everything was designed to work together. A partial denture can last for years while still maintaining healthy remaining teeth. Yet extracting _all_ the teeth for dentures does not necessarily give you a "free pass" from dentistry for the rest of your life. Not all people can wear dentures well. You cannot chew the same way as you did with natural teeth or implants. Taste and speech are also affected, especially if you're talking about a full upper denture that covers the roof of the mouth. But, many people function fine with dentures, and you may not even be aware that some people have them. Over time, wearing a plastic replacement for teeth over the healed gums and bone where your own teeth used to be will result in additional problems. Your bone supporting the dentures will gradually shrink away and leave you with looser dentures that require either relining to tighten them up or even remaking the dentures. No set of dentures will necessarily last a patient's lifetime. There are patients who have had the same denture for 40+ years, but the materials rarely last that long, and proper function is usually severely compromised. At age 64, you could be faced with 30 years of wearing dentures, almost guaranteeing the need for additional treatment in the future. It's a sliding scale or a balancing act. Get dentures too early, then, when you're much older, there may not be enough bone for you to wear dentures well and comfortably. Corrective treatment may be difficult and more expensive in your older years - a time when health and finances may not be optimal. Wait on getting dentures too long, and diseased teeth can cause loss of bone, which will also compromise treatment in your later years. The best solution is to maintain your teeth as best and as long as possible, and replace missing teeth with implants. If they are placed properly and cared for by the patient, they can last a very long time, all the while maintaining the vital bone and preserving proper chewing function and speech. Some people want dentures because they don't want to deal with tooth repair any longer and think that dentures will be a "cure-all" for all dental problems. But they can create an entirely new set of problems as well. Decide wisely with full awareness of the benefits, risks, and drawbacks.
When you absolutely need them and have no other option. Dentures do not work as well as healthy natural teeth. When the roots are no longer present in the jaw, the bone starts
shrinking. It continues shrinking for life. If some teeth, particularly bottom teeth, can be saved, KEEP THEM.
You need to talk with your dentist about that. Every situation is unique, every person has different presentations and needs. If you don’t have a dentist, then it’s time you go find one you can trust, get a few consults from different providers so you can have options and go in the direction that suits your needs.

Dr. Jensen