How to Know When It’s Time for Dentures

While dentistry has made it possible for more people than ever to keep their teeth for their lifetime, there are still times when a denture may be the best solution for someone’s needs. Here are three situations that may justify making the transition from natural teeth to complete replacement of teeth:

  1. Extensive Tooth Decay

Tooth decay can be a complex disease. How many cavities someone gets is influenced not just by how well they clean their teeth. Our general health and genetics also affect our dental health. People who have medical conditions or take medications that dry their mouth are more prone to dental decay. This can make it difficult to keep teeth healthy despite their best efforts. Teeth that have been fixed many times and have minimal structure remaining may have a poor long-term outlook. If most remaining natural teeth need extensive repairs and will still be at high risk for future cavities, removing them can be the best option.

  1. Advanced Gum Disease

Periodontal (gum) disease is the loss of bone support around the roots of our teeth. This chronic infection can be hard to control and is often worsened if people smoke, have diabetes, or genetics that make them prone to the disease. The chronic inflammation present in active gum disease increases our risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. If advanced disease is present, removal of the teeth will result in the infection going away and overall improved health.

  1. Extensive tooth wear

Teeth clenching and/or grinding over many years can wear teeth down to near the gumline. Dental erosion caused by dietary acids or acid reflux disease can also leave teeth with minimal tooth structure to work with and restore. In these scenarios, removing the teeth may be a more practical option.

If you think that it may be time for dentures, your dentist can perform an evaluation and talk with you about the options available for your situation. While dentures are always an option, solutions may exist that allow you to avoid full dentures. If dentures will be the most practical solution, it is also worth considering the use of dental implants to help improve the stability and retention of dentures.  Your dentist can develop a plan to transition you from natural teeth to replacement teeth. For people who have suffered for years with extensive problems and poor dental health, it is often a relief to be out of pain and be able to smile confidently.