Dentures don’t last forever. They break. They wear down. They get stains you can’t clean out. They get loose as your jaw shrinks over time. Here are three signs that it is time to invest in a new denture.
1. Your Current Denture Requires Adhesive, or It Won’t Stay In. If your denture requires adhesive to stay in, it’s probably time for a new one. Only dentures that don’t fit properly require adhesive. If a denture fits properly, no adhesive is necessary. If a denture doesn’t fit properly, adhesive may provide a temporary solution, but it is by no means a long term solution. Consider seeing a dentist as soon as possible that makes dentures a part of their practice.
As with many rules, there is always an exception. The exception in this case is that a properly fitting denture can not be fabricated because a patient has insufficient bone to retain even the best made denture. In this case, a consultation for dental implants is indicated. Many patients think they aren’t candidates for dental implants for their dentures because they have been told they don’t have enough bone or that their bone is weak. This is only true in extremely rare cases. The latest technology in implant dentistry makes almost anyone a candidate for implant retained dentures. If you haven’t consulted with a dentist on this matter in a few years, it’s time for a fresh perspective on things.
2. You Don’t Like the Way Your Smile Looks. A colleague of mine pointed out this interesting fact to me a few years ago. He said that dentures and dentistry in general is the most demanding area of human prosthetics because the work we do must be functional as well as good looking. Think about it. Have you ever seen a prosthetic arm? It might be able to do a lot of cool things that seem unbelievable, but it doesn’t look like a real arm. What about a prosthetic eye? I’ve seen some that look very real, but patients can’t see out of them. False teeth have to work AND look good. A well made denture involves the selection of just the right color and shape teeth for a person’s face. I see many patients where the time and attention to detail necessary to achieve a denture with a beautiful result was not taken. These steps are so critical and make a huge difference. It all gets down to the person wearing the denture. If the patient doesn’t like what they see in the mirror, then the job isn’t done.
3. Your Current Denture is Preventing You From Living Your Life the Way You Want To. If you don’t smile or are afraid to eat out with family and friends because of your denture, it’s time to start thinking about making some changes. Life is too short to not smile and enjoy time with the ones you love. If a new denture or investing in implant options for your denture is all it will take to make those two activities a part of your life again, it will be the best investment you ever make.
I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts, Gary Tackas, and a point came up in an interview that I thought was so wonderful I’ve been sharing it with patients ever since. I’m paraphrasing a bit here: Patients don’t regret investments in implant dentistry. This is so true. We make so many purchases in our life that we regret: houses, cars, items of clothing, food, etc. Implant dentistry and implant dentures never seem to fall into this category. Patients never walk in the door after getting implants saying “I liked it better when I was missing a tooth” or “These dentures were more comfortable when they were flopping around in my mouth”. I’ve never heard a patient say either of those things or even insinuate anything like it. It’s as sure of a regret free investment as there is.
In the spirit of three, I have three secrets that help me to deliver extremely high quality dentures to my patients. The first is that I use a great dental lab and we make no compromises. We do what it takes to get it right. The second is experience. When I was in dental school I completed more than three times the requirements for removable prosthodontics. The faculty is this department were my favorite to work with in the clinic, so I kept finding ways to get over to that department to soak up their wisdom. Not many dental students liked doing dentures, so I would gladly take them off the hands of my classmates that didn’t want to do them and get them done. When I got out of dental school, I always took the denture cases in the practices I was in, because I loved making them and getting them just right. Seeking out denture cases accelerated my experience and understanding of the procedure, and as I found success with them, I loved making them even more. That’s my third secret: love. If you put love into what you’re doing, it shows.