Pros and Cons of Getting Dentures
Many people who have lost teeth wonder if they should get dentures. This list of the pros and cons can help patients figure out if they want to be fitted for these fixtures—and if so which type might be right for them.
A Lesson I Took to Heart
Recently, my 70-year-old uncle told me, "You know, my mother always said I should brush my teeth regularly. I didn't listen. Now, if she had just said, 'Brush your teeth regularly, or you'll be paying $40,000 to get replacements,' then I would have listened."
Here is a good place for my disclaimer. I am not a dentist. The information below is the result of my personal research, since I'm fairly confident I'm going to end up with dentures eventually, having neglected my teeth for so many years. So please, don't take this as dental or medical advice; it's just stuff I've learned. Talk to a dentist to determine the best options for you.
Pros and Cons of Dentures
There are a few basic advantages to having dentures, whereas there are somewhat more disadvantages. Keep in mind, however, that many of the "cons" are temporary inconveniences. For many people, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages in the long run. You should decide for yourself, in consultation with your dentist.
- Makes eating easier.
- Makes speaking clearly easier.
- Improves the look of your smile.
- Supports the muscles of the face, sometimes providing a more youthful appearance.
- Modern dentures are more comfortable and look more like natural teeth than those made with previous technologies and materials in the past.
- Dentures aren't obtained overnight. You will need several visits to the dentist to get properly fitted. How long it takes depends on the type of dentures.
- There's an adjustment period before getting used to wearing them. They feel strange in the mouth at first and can cause soreness and excess saliva. Pronunciation of some sounds takes practice.
- You will need to learn how to eat with dentures. Chewing feels a little different. Plus, unlike teeth, which have nerves that make them sensitive to temperature and texture, the dentures are not sensitive to hot or cold foods or hard or sharp pieces of food.
- One common problem is that the false teeth can slip out of position occasionally, especially lower dentures, which move more. This is usually corrected by biting down softly and swallowing.
- Dentures must be cared for. They are fragile. You will need to learn how to insert them correctly so as not to damage them, and keep them clean, and store them at night.
- Dentures may eventually need adjustment or replacement, according to the American Dental Association, as they wear out, and as your mouth and jaw changes shape over the years.
- Certain kinds of false teeth, such as denture implants, can get expensive.
Did You Know?
Using toothpicks is not advised with dentures.
How to Care for Dentures
Dentures should be kept clean, not just to keep them white, but to keep your mouth clean and healthy.
Brush the dentures at least once a day, and ideally each time after eating, with a soft-bristled toothbrush (such as the Radius toothbrush) or a special denture-cleaning brush shaped especially for the curves and angles of these fixtures.
- Rinse the dentures of loose debris.
- Wet the brush with water.
- Apply soap or an ADA-approved denture cleanser. (Never use abrasive cleansers or bleach.)
- Gently brush the denture inside and out.
- Rinse the dentures thoroughly.
To prevent warping, store dentures in water (but never hot water) or a denture cleanser soaking solution when not in use. Do not let them dry out.
In addition to the daily brushing, you may also use an ultrasonic cleaner.
Never drop dentures, which are quite fragile, onto a hard surface, such as a sink or the floor, or let kids play with them.
If any part of the dentures break or need adjustment, never try to adjust or fix them yourself as a cost-saving or convenience measure. See a dentist. In the long run, it will be much cheaper and safer.
- Basic summary of all the different types of dentures, including complete and partial false teeth and dental implants. Find out when they're used and how expensive they are.
- A thorough resource on false teeth: the National Library of Medicine Dentures Information page.
- To find a dentist in your area that can fit you with dentures, use the ADA Find a Dentist page (in the U.S.).