Dentures or false teeth are usually associated with the aging and elderly who have lost their natural teeth, for a variety of reasons, over the course of their lifetime.
Whether focusing on the young or old, according to the American Academy of Periodontology, one in four of us, or 25 percent of people over the age of 65, have lost all of their natural teeth. Yet, dentures are not just for the aging and elderly. Younger people have had to acquire dentures as well.
The reasons for needing dentures, other than advancing age, include:
- Tooth decay affecting the majority of teeth
- Periodontitis or gum disease causing teeth to loosen
- Effects of recreational drug use
- Car accident victims
- Construction or other workplace accidents
- Chronic medical conditions, like diabetes and acid reflux, which affect oral conditions
- Radiation therapy
- Certain prescription medications can negatively affect the condition of the teeth
- Recipients of poor dental care
- Smoking and tobacco use
- Some patients consider the inability to financially maintain dental implants to be a reason to resort to wearing dentures at a young age
Patients do not have control over every medical condition, treatment or life event that negatively impacts their dental health. There are situations in which a young person needs to wear dentures, full or partial, as a result of one of these conditions.
Just in case dentures are a reality, here are a few important informational points of which to be aware:
- Dentures should be refitted or replaced every 5 to 10 years. They do not last forever.
- Dentures should fit comfortably without the need for denture adhesives.
- Plaque and tartar can build up on dentures in the same way it collects on natural teeth.
- Dentures can lose their custom-fitted shape if they are allowed to dry out. They should be soaked in denture cleanser at night.
- Regular toothpaste is too abrasive to be used on dentures. It will thin out the plastic base and cause teeth to show premature wear and tear and scratches.
- Patients who wear dentures still need comprehensive dental examinations to check the fit of the dentures as well as the gum ridges, tongue and jaw joints for any signs of disease.
Teeth are a necessity to chew, eat, speak properly and smile. Thankfully, the general rate of denture wearing has declined over the past several decades. The reasons for this include advances in the dentistry field, a broad and consistent use of fluoride and a greater commitment to getting dental care among the general population. However, thanks to advances in dental technology, dentures have improved. Properly fitted dentures can be comfortable and functional for every patient, young or old.