Patients often say to me, “Doctor I’ve always had bad teeth and I’m tired of them! Can’t you just take them all out and make me dentures?” I can empathize with these patients because they have usually suffered for many years with either tooth decay or advanced gum disease – sometimes both.
Fortunately, advancements in dental care now allow us to manage and treat dental disease more effectively and allow patients to keep their teeth longer than ever before. Despite these advances, there are a few individuals who are very susceptible to periodontitis (advanced gum disease) and/or cavities. These patients that are at high risk for dental disease may actually improve their overall health by having their bad teeth removed and exploring the different treatment options for tooth replacement.
One of those options is a complete denture. A denture is a cost-effective removable prosthesis that can replace all of the teeth in the upper jaw, the lower jaw, or both.
The advantages of dentures are:
- Cost effective
- Look very natural
- Can be fabricated very quickly
- Tried and true – have been around for a long time
The disadvantages of dentures are:
- They are removable
- Some people have a difficult time adjusting to them
- Poor fit as the jaw bone begins to remodel or shrink. (more on this topic).
If you are already wearing dentures it may be time for a new set if:
- Denture teeth are broken or worn
- Denture has already had multiple repairs
- The denture is poorly fitting and uncomfortable
In some cases, a simple reline procedure can be done allowing you to get more use out of your existing dentures. A reline is a procedure that allows the denture to fit more intimately with the tissue. This can sometimes solve problems with poor fit, lack of stability, and discomfort.
Before the decision is made to remove your teeth and make dentures, a risk assessment for dental disease is needed along with a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of performing such treatment. I’m happy to do this for all of my patients.