Did you know that this year in the United States alone, the number of adults expected to be wearing dentures is a whopping 37.9 million? That's about 4.3 million more people than just 30 years ago!
So, you're not alone if you think you may be headed down that path. Even people that take great care of their teeth sometimes end up requiring dentures, simply due to the many years of wear and tear.
To help you recognize if you may need dentures - now or in the near future - we've provided the top five warning signs that you may require dentures.
Note, if you're currently experiencing warning signs #1, #2 or #3, it may not be too late to save your teeth, assuming you visit a dental provider in a timely manner. However, if you're experiencing warning signs #4 or #5, it may be too late. Regardless, we’d strongly urge you to schedule a consultation with your dentist right away, as there is still some opportunity available for preserving your valuable teeth.
Warning Sign #1: Severe Toothaches
The first and most prominent denture warning sign is a painful toothache that won't go away. This type of nagging toothache could indicate that tooth decay is occurring and has already made its way to your nerve. At this stage, a routine root canal could save the tooth. However, if the decay is too excessive, you'll need a dental implant or partial denture. So, it is important to promptly visit your dentist if you are experiencing any tooth discomfort. It may be the difference between saving your original teeth or requiring dentures.
Warning Sign #2: Inflammation and Bleeding of the Gums
A fundamental rule of thumb for preserving optimal oral health - When you feel sensitivity or have bleeding gums, make an appointment with your dentist right away! It's always better to detect and address the issue in its early stages. If left untreated, that inflammation can progress from the beginning stages of gingivitis to severe periodontal disease. Once you experience periodontal disease, bone loss around your teeth begins to occur. Unfortunately, this ultimately leads to the loss of teeth and the need for dentures.
Warning Sign #3: You're Having Trouble Eating Hard or Chewy Foods
If you experience severe pain when eating hard or chewy foods, it may indicate a cracked tooth, cavities, or gum disease. It's always important to promptly address these matters with your dentist and they can take any needed action to preserve your teeth. Your dentist will often recommend root canal treatment, then placing a crown on the tooth to prevent further decay. In addition to eliminating the cause of your pain, you’ll often get to maintain your original teeth and preserve strong bone density.
Warning Sign #4: Loose or Shifting Teeth
Once your teeth start to shift or become loose, it typically means bone loss around the teeth has already started. If this is occurring, your dentist will need to examine your teeth as soon as possible to determine if they can be saved or if they will need to be extracted. Once a tooth is removed, there is no good option for keeping it. It is also important to note that this bone loss can cause a myriad of other issues, including the reshaping of the jawbone.
Warning Sign #5: Tooth Loss
While a loose tooth should certainly motivate you to visit your dentist ASAP, a tooth that has fallen out should prompt even more immediate action. Unfortunately, due to the misconception that tooth loss is not a significant issue as long as you can still chew properly, recent statistics show that nearly 19% of adults aged 65 and over were edentulous (had complete tooth loss). It is important to understand that besides further bone loss occurring in the jawbone, the fewer teeth you have doing all the work, the higher the chance of losing more teeth. The remaining teeth often take on too much-added pressure, causing them to fall out as well.
While our dental team believes in taking all the necessary actions to preserve your original teeth, it's sometimes too late and dentures are required. If you are currently experiencing any of the above warning signs, we advise you to contact us today to make an appointment. Whether taking preventative actions or providing you with denture treatment options, we're here for you every step of the way.