More than 30 million Americans have dentures, but they aren’t necessarily an unavoidable part of growing older. Good oral hygiene and regular dental visits can help. In some cases, though, circumstances outside your control can impact whether you need prosthetic teeth.
The experts at Santa Monica Bay Dental in Santa Monica, California, want you to enjoy excellent oral health, and sometimes that means we recommend our patients get dentures. If you’re wondering if you need dentures, read on.
You should also be aware that you have options, because there are different kinds of prosthetic teeth. Traditional dentures, all-on-four, and dental bridges offer choices, and our dentists are happy to make a specific recommendation based on your situation.
If you’re dealing with one or more of the following issues, it may be time for you to think about dentures.
Your gums hurt
Red, swollen, sore, or bleeding gums can indicate gum disease. If gum disease is caught early, it can be treated. However, if it goes on for too long, you may develop periodontal disease, which leads to bone loss, tooth loss, and a higher likelihood of needing dentures. In fact, gum disease is the underlying cause of about 70% of adult tooth loss.
Your teeth seem to be moving
Have you noticed a widening gap between your teeth? One of the results of gum disease can be shifting teeth. You may not realize you have gum disease until you notice your teeth shifting position.
If you’re missing a tooth, your other teeth may shift into the gap. Bone loss can also lead to your teeth moving in your mouth. In either case, you should schedule an appointment.
You’re already missing some teeth
If you’re missing two or three teeth, you should talk to one of our experts about it. The gaps allow your other teeth to shift, and at the same time, make them work harder. The increased pressure on those remaining teeth can cause problems, and you might lose them, too.
You struggle to chew some foods
Your teeth exist in large part to allow you to eat. If you avoid certain foods because you have trouble chewing them, your teeth are not functioning optimally.
You might have problems chewing for several reasons. A cracked tooth, a cavity, missing teeth, and, in some cases, gum disease can all make chewing certain foods more difficult. That doesn’t mean you won’t get to eat your favorite foods anymore; it means you need dental care.
Cracked teeth and cavities don’t mean you will end up with dentures, but not getting them taken care of makes it more likely. Infection can be treated with a root canal, but it can lead to bone loss without prompt treatment.
You’re uncomfortable about your smile
Dentures serve an important functional purpose, but they also have a cosmetic element. If you’re uncomfortable about how your teeth look, you may choose dentures rather than some other treatment options.
We don’t recommend dentures for purely cosmetic reasons — there are other procedures, such as bonding and veneers, that may be more appropriate — but if you have additional oral health issues, the cosmetic effect of dentures can be an important consideration.
If you suspect you may be ready to consider dentures, schedule an appointment at Santa Monica Bay Dental. We may be able to suggest the best way forward in your dental care, as well as offer you options for treatment. You can request an appointment online, or you’re welcome to call us at 424-279-7624.