Dentures are one of the most popular treatment options for people who have more than one missing tooth. However, as with most dental appliances, dentures don’t last forever. If you have had your current dentures for a while, you may be wondering if it is time to consider a replacement.
The goal of this guide is to help you determine whether you need new dentures, as well as two prepare for the process.
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Reasons to Consider New Dentures
Below are five reasons to consider asking your dentist if it is time to get a new set of dentures.
1. Your gums are irritated.
Dentures sit directly along your gum line. When this appliance fits properly, irritation should not occur. However, when dentures begin to age, they may start to cause the gums to swell and become tender. If you notice any new irritation along your gum line, it may be time to talk to your dentist about a new set of dentures.
2. Your dentures are stained.
Dentures can become stained over time, much like your natural teeth. Your dentures are more likely to become stained if you don’t clean them frequently and/or if you drink beverages containing significant amounts of dye. However, all dentures will become discolored eventually.
If you have noticed that your dentures are starting to look yellow or brown, consider scheduling an appointment to discuss denture replacement.
3. You are experiencing pain or discomfort.
Your dentures should always fit comfortably, allowing you to chew and talk without pain. If you are experiencing any discomfort because of your dentures, this is one of the strongest signs that new dentures may be necessary.
4. You have trouble chewing.
The purpose of your dentures is to make biting and chewing easier. If you notice problems with either of these functions, it may be time to get a replacement set of dentures.
5. Your dentures are chipped or cracked.
Dentures can become damaged just like your natural teeth. If you notice that any part of your dentures is chipped or cracked, you may need to invest in a replacement set. These chips and cracks may compromise your ability to chew and speak, and they may also cause your dentures to fit uncomfortably.
Cost of Dentures
When you are in the process of considering replacement dentures, it is only natural to think about the cost. In general, the cost of denture appliances will depend on the type of appliance, as well as the coverage provided by your dental insurance policy. The majority of dental insurance policies will cover a maximum of 50 percent of your denture expenses, leaving you to pay the remaining amount out-of-pocket.
According to Forbes, the cost of partial dentures averages just under $2,000. Upper or lower snap-in dentures may cost up to twice as much. If you will be getting a complete set of dentures and/or both upper and lower snap-in dentures, expect higher costs.
How to Pay for Dentures
If you have dental insurance, at least a portion of your denture costs may be covered. However, if you don’t have dental insurance, or if your dental insurance doesn’t cover dentures, you will need to pay for this appliance yourself.
You can cover the cost of your denture appliance using several different strategies, depending on your situation. You may be able to pay for your dentures using savings, a credit card designed for healthcare expenses, or a standard credit card. Many dentists also offer payment plans or denture financing to make dentures more affordable. In addition, you may also qualify for a discount plan or membership plans to cover some of the cost on your dentures if you are paying the entire amount out-of-pocket and/or if you are able to pay in full upfront.
Who Is the Best Candidate for Dentures?
Not every patient will be a good candidate for dentures. You may be a good candidate for dentures if you have significant tooth loss. In order to wear dentures successfully, you will also need to have sufficient healthy gum tissue and enough of your jawbone remaining to support the appliance.
Dentures are most common among people 65 and older. However, you may be a candidate for dentures at any age if you meet the requirements above.
Types of Dentures
Several different types of dentures exist to meet the needs of different patients. Below is an overview of your denture options.
Partial dentures are designed to replace some, but not all, of the missing teeth on the bottom or top of your mouth. These dentures may be either fixed or removable. Fixed partial dentures use your existing teeth as abutments to support a permanent bridge. Removable partial dentures consist of false replacement teeth attached to a gum-colored base that attaches to your gums temporarily.
Both types of partials offer advantages and disadvantages. For example, while fixed partial dentures are stronger and more attractive than removable partial dentures, they are also more expensive. Likewise, while removable partial dentures are less expensive and less likely to damage your remaining teeth, they are also less durable and prone to plaque buildup.
Complete dentures are designed to replace entire sets of teeth. They are typically recommended as a last resort when no other treatments will work to restore your teeth. As with partial dentures, complete dentures come with advantages and disadvantages. Full dentures will restore your ability to chew. However, they may cause you to develop trouble speaking, as the material used is thick and changes the interior of the mouth.
Full dentures are cost-effective, and they can last for approximately a decade. However, maintenance will be required, and you may notice that dentures sometimes move around when you are eating or talking.
Immediate dentures are dentures that are placed as soon as your teeth have been extracted. They are a temporary solution that allows you to talk and eat more effectively while you are waiting for your permanent dentures to be made. Keep in mind that immediate dentures do not look as natural as permanent dentures, nor are they as durable.
Overdentures, which may also be called “implant-retained dentures,” are dentures that latch onto metal posts in your gums. This type of denture can support a few teeth up to a full set of teeth.
Some of the advantages of overdentures include a comfortable fit, preservation of the jaw bone, a natural look, and the ability to stay in place. However, you must remove overdentures at night, and these dentures tend to be more expensive than alternatives.
A relatively new type of dentures now available to patients are 3D printed dentures or digital dentures. Unlike traditional dentures, which may take a month or more to complete, digital dentures take only one to two weeks. They come with a precise fit, and they won’t require as many trips to the dentist. However, digital dentures may not be available from all providers, and they may be more expensive than some alternatives.
How to Maintain Your Dentures
Caring for your dentures properly will ensure that they last as long as possible and that you don’t experience any avoidable issues, such as bad breath, bone loss, or oral infections. Proper denture maintenance must be performed each night.
For the best results, follow the steps below.
- Each night, use a soft denture brush to gently clean your dentures and remove any plaque that has collected during the day. Before brushing, place a washcloth in the sink below to act as a cushion in case you drop your dentures.
- After brushing, place your dentures in a commercial cleansing liquid and leave them there overnight. Alternatively, you can also soak the dentures overnight in white vinegar diluted with water. Do not soak the dentures in undiluted vinegar, as this may damage them.
- In the morning, brush your dentures again and reattach them to your gums.
Schedule a Denture Consultation
To learn more about dentures, cost and solutions, contact us to schedule a consultation. One of our experienced prosthodontists will review the process with you, and find a solution that meets your goals.