Dentures help people to enjoy life after tooth loss by restoring oral functionality and improving appearance and self-confidence. They also help with oral health and general wellbeing.

A further advantage of today’s dentures is that they look more like natural teeth than earlier versions, so others will rarely, if ever, notice you’re wearing them. This is down to advances in technology, which have also made dentures far more comfortable.

Many people aged 45 to 65 are missing at least one tooth and a quarter of the over-65 population in the U.S. have lost all their teeth – typically because of gum disease, tooth decay or injury.

There are mainly two main types of dentures: full dentures (a complete set) to replace all the upper or lower teeth and partial dentures that replace a single tooth or a few teeth. Nowadays, you can also get dentures anchored by dental implants.

Whether you’re missing a single tooth, a few teeth or all your teeth, dentures can solve a host of problems associated with tooth loss.

Why You Need to Replace Missing Teeth

Teeth are an important part of our anatomy. They help to preserve the structure of the mouth and rest of the face, enable us to chew food so it’s digestible, and play a role in speech function. Dr. Sasik a Plymouth prosthodontist adds that another reason that many over look when it comes to why you should replace missing teeth is that missing teeth affect your self confidence.

The loss of a single tooth can affect the function of your mouth, and if you’re missing more teeth, the effects can be far more serious.

Problems that arise with gaps left by missing teeth include:

  • Putting remaining teeth under stress by shifting bite force onto them, which can move them out of position.
  • Increased risk of further tooth loss as harmful bacteria colonize the gaps, which can cause tooth decay and gum disease.
  • Bone loss. Without a tooth to support, the underlying bone will start to deteriorate – just as muscles atrophy without exercise.
  • Facial distortion – just one missing back tooth can bend your smile out of shape.

Dentures can address all these issues to restore oral functionality, with the further advantage of enhanced appearance.

How Dentures Improve your Appearance and Self-Regard

By eliminating unsightly gaps in your mouth, dentures restore your smile and enhance your self-esteem, and even help to make you look younger.

Missing teeth spoil the aesthetics of a smile. Dentures provide a natural-looking solution that replicates your natural smile, while lessening facial sagging, which can take years off of your appearance.

Because dentures are customized for the best fit – from a mold of your mouth to create an exact replica of your natural teeth – you’ll also be able to eat and talk with confidence.

Tooth loss often happens over an extended period, which for many means years of embarrassment about their smile and finding ways to avoid showing their teeth, such as trying to smile with a closed mouth, restrained laughter and avoiding conversations.

Dentures will give you a confident, natural smile again to end concerns about hiding your teeth, and advances in technology and techniques have resulted in dentures that look more natural than ever.

Why Dentures Are Good for Your Health

Missing teeth can affect your dental and general health in several ways.

Gaps caused by missing teeth make it easier for food debris and sugar to accumulate in your mouth. This greatly heightens the risk of decay in remaining teeth and possible further tooth loss.

Missing teeth have also been linked to diabetes and heart disease, and an increased risk of kidney problems.

Furthermore, tooth loss can seriously affect your chewing ability and cause you to avoid foods that are crucial for nutrition. By enabling you to eat a healthy, balanced diet, dentures overcome this problem.

Dentures can also be good for your mental health – embarrassment about missing teeth can result in loss of overall confidence, which may lead to depression over time.

How Dentures Work with Implants

Although dentures have many advantages, a downside is that they can’t address the issue of jaw bone loss. However, this problem can now be fixed by using dental implants in conjunction with dentures.

When teeth are missing, adjacent bone no longer needs to support them, so it becomes redundant, which can result in bone resorption. This puts remaining teeth at risk and affects oral functionality and facial appearance.

Standard dentures can’t prevent this problem because they don’t replace tooth roots. On the other hand, implants help to preserve the structural integrity of the jaw because they fuse with bone to become artificial roots. So it made perfect sense to combine dentures with implants.

Dentures fit over a ridge of bone and soft tissue but, because the bone deteriorates over time, they can be left with little to hold onto. When implants are used to support dentures, they provide a better fit and greater functionality – you won't have to worry about your dentures slipping out while you're eating or talking.

Implant-anchored dentures are frequently used for the lower jaw, where regular dentures can be unstable. However, you can still get an implant-retained denture in the upper jaw.

Are Dentures Right for Me?

Most people who have lost teeth can enjoy the advantages of dentures.

Missing teeth can spoil your appearance, impair your speech, and limit the types of foods you can eat. Dentures solve these problems by:

  • Preventing the aging appearance of sunken cheeks.
  • Allowing you to communicate clearly in conversations.
  • Avoiding dietary restrictions such as being limited to soft foods.

The main consideration in providing dentures in the past was their function as an aid to eating, but today’s dentures are also designed with aesthetics and comfort in mind. And combining dentures with dental implants gives you the best of both worlds.

If you’ve lost a single tooth, several teeth or all your teeth, a dentist specializing in full dentures, partials and implant-supported overdentures can help you decide which tooth replacement solution is right for you.