Life With Dentures: Myths vs. Facts
I make a lot of dentures. I also hear a lot of tales. This article will try to clear up some of the myths and lay out some of the facts.
Once you get rid of your teeth and get dentures, all of your problems are solved.
Getting dentures brings a whole new set of potential problems. You are now chewing with a large piece of plastic sitting on moveable tissue that changes shape over time due to loss of supporting bone. It also takes time and patience to adapt to new dentures.
I will suffer great pain.
If it has been several years or maybe childhood since you had dental work done, you will find things have improved and your memories have exaggerated the experience. Patients generally report feeling much less pain than they anticipated.
People automatically lose teeth as they age.
It is not natural, but does occur more often in Kentucky than anywhere else. Teeth are made to last a lifetime, but if you are genetically inclined toward gum disease, you will need regular maintenance to keep your gums healthy.
Dentures are just as good as teeth.
They are fake teeth and your chewing ability will only be 20% of what real teeth can function. Just as you can’t run sprints with prosthetic legs, you can’t chew certain foods with false teeth.
I know someone who can eat anything with their dentures.
People who wear dentures either exaggerate the ability to eat due to embarrassment at having them or they don’t remember how much better they chewed with real teeth. A denture is a balancing act. If you don’t chew evenly all over, the denture will tip. If you try to bite in front too often, over time you will lose the bone support and the remaining tissue will be unsupported and moveable. It will then require surgery to remove this tissue before a new denture can be made. Unless you are very conscientious, your nutrition will suffer over time which will affect your health.
A good set of dentures will last forever.
The underlying bone will continue to recede since its function was to support the teeth. To keep dentures stable and functioning as well as possible, they will need to be checked at least once a year and will probably need relining every 2-3 years. If they are the first set, they will probably need relining within six months to one year. A good set of dentures will be serviceable for 6-10 years.
I know someone who does fine without teeth.
This is very improbable. Even with calluses building up on the gums, many foods are beyond the ability to chew. More than likely, they are swallowing food unchewed and placing tremendous burden on the digestive system. In addition, without support the face caves in over time and loses height (vertical dimension) giving the appearance of premature aging.
Last but not least, if you are one of the unfortunate people who cannot adapt to wearing dentures due to loss of muscle control, gagging, or severe bone loss, implants may be your only alternative to keeping the dentures anchored in place.