How to Tell If You Need Dentures

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According to orawave.com, 57% of Americans who are ages 65 to 74 wear dentures; 51% of Americans ages 55 to 64 have either full or partial dentures GO Twenty-nine percent of Americans ages 45 to 55 wear dentures; 16% of Americans ages 35 to 44 have either full or partial dentures, and 3% of Americans ages 18 to 34 wear dentures. Denturewearers.com says an estimated 20 million Americans wear dentures. The downside is, dentures aren't always easy to wear. More than 50% of denture wearers have problems with their false teeth. Deciding to get dentures is a permanent decision—there's no going back. You must do your homework before you decide. Read on to find out how to tell if you need dentures.

Things You'll Need

  • Phone
  • Phone directory

Make an appointment with a dentist and have your teeth, gums and jawbone examined. He or she will take X rays of your teeth to determine what's going on below the gum line.

It's a good idea to get a second opinion from another dentist. Just like medical doctors, dentists don't always give the same diagnosis.

Consult with the dentist about the condition of your teeth and gums to determine if you need dentures. If you have soft teeth that are decayed, they may not hold fillings. If you have an incurable gum disease, trying to save your natural teeth will likely be expensive, if at all possible.

Determine what your options are for restoring and keeping your natural teeth, if possible. If you need to have some teeth extracted, you may be able to get partial dentures. Because partials are fastened to your natural teeth, it's easier to wear them. Eating and speaking are easier to do.

Determine how much it would cost to save your natural teeth, if you can. Buying dentures is costly, but having your natural teeth fixed and maintained can cost much, much more. Without dental insurance, lack of funds may help you decide that you need dentures.

Tips & Warnings

  • Losing your teeth and getting dentures due to age is not a fact of life.
  • If you have strong jaw bones and you can afford them, you may be able to get dental implants instead of dentures.
  • NOTE TO WRITER: You don't need strong jaw bones to be a candidate for dental implants.
  • Don't assume dentures will simply take care of all your dental problems. Crooked teeth can be straightened, and teeth with cavities can be filled. Even badly decayed teeth can often be saved by getting root canals and crowns.
  • Dentures aren't maintenance-free. You'll still need regular checkups to make sure your dentures fit properly. They need to be realigned every 2 years. Drop your dentures (or otherwise damage them), and you'll need to get them repaired or replaced.

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