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Dentures are too often associated with a last-ditch effort so someone who has a lot of missing teeth or none at all is able to chew and speak well (though all too often, it is all too obvious that they are wearing dentures ).

Because of advancements in dental prosthetics (oral devices of all kinds) and technology, dentures are now much more effective at restoring your bite as if you still had a full set of teeth. This is especially important for the quarter of all American adults 74 and over who have lost all their teeth. But missing teeth are common among the much younger: those aged 35-49 have an average of three that have been lost and those 50-64 average five.

Partial or full dentures?

Aging is a factor because few of us were taught the importance of oral health to our overall well-being when we grew up and a third of Americans do not even see a dentist at least once a year to catch the beginnings of periodontal (gum) disease. Eventually, infected gums pull away their support and teeth will fall out or need to be extracted. The American Dental Association recommends having a full dental examination twice a year because a small cavity or slightly bleeding gums can become serious matters even in six months.

The ideal replacement for lost teeth, whether because of inadequate brushing and flossing or an accident, would be dental implants, but many cannot afford them, since they require surgery. They have the advantage of being anchored into the jawbone, which prevents it from shrinking, just like teeth do, which is why dentures need to be refitted about every five years.

What are the new options?

Implants also prevent the misalignment of the bite that starts when a tooth is lost and neighboring teeth just naturally lean into “fill the gap.” Dental bridges prevent misalignment by placing an artificial tooth over the gap, attached to those on both sides, but are not anchored into the jaw and do not endure as long as implants.

Are there any challenges?

But not everyone can qualify for implants or bridges. Well-crafted dentures, with Dr. Rad and a top dental lab working together to personalize them, do restore your smile and the ability to speak and eat without the tell-tale signs of most dentures. If you are missing teeth, set an appointment for an examination to discuss whether you case would be best served with a removable partial for a small group of missing teeth or full dentures attached to the gums with clasps. Another option is overdentures, which are anchored into the jawbone.

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