Transitioning to complete dentures is very dramatic and come with a myriad of problems.
Dentures are removable appliances that replace missing teeth and surrounding gum tissue. They are a common tooth replacement option, especially for people who have lost most or all of their natural teeth. While dentures provide a cost-effective way to restore smiles, they present ongoing oral health challenges.
One major problem with dentures is they do not permanently fix the issues caused by complete tooth loss. Dentures sit on top of gums and bone rather than integrating with them like natural tooth roots do. So even with dentures, the jawbone continues to deteriorate due to lack of stimulation. This causes changes in facial structure over time. Dentures may start to loosen and require relining as bone loss progresses.
Another challenge is dentures impact eating ability and nutrition. Dentures make it harder to chew certain foods, especially tough meats, crunchy vegetables, or sticky foods. People with dentures often modify their diet to soft, mushy foods they can manage with their dentures. However, diet modifications may lead to nutritional deficiencies if important foods are eliminated. Dentures impact enjoyment of food and ability to get adequate nutrition.
Speaking challenges are another issue with dentures. Pronouncing certain words may require adjusting tongue placement and lip positions. Dentures can slightly change the way wearers speak. Some words and letters may be harder to articulate. Adapting speech patterns to accommodate dentures takes practice and patience.
Dentures also affect confidence and social life. Many people feel self-conscious about having removable teeth. Fear that dentures may slip or fall out in public creates social anxiety. Adhesives help keep dentures in place, but don’t completely prevent embarrassing accidents. Dentures may cause wearers to feel less confident interacting with others.
Cleaning and caring for dentures presents a challenge too. Dentures must be cleaned daily to prevent infection and bad odors. They require soaking and scrubbing to remove food, plaque and tartar that get trapped under the appliance. Dentures must be handled carefully to avoid dropping and cracking them. Forgetting to clean or placing dentures in hot water can damage them.
In addition, dentures require frequent adjustments to maintain proper fit as the mouth changes. Bone loss and changes in oral tissue over time alter the way dentures fit. Regular denture adjustment appointments are needed to keep them fitting right. Ill-fitting dentures slip and chafe the gums.
While dentures provide an affordable tooth replacement option, they come with lifestyle adjustments and ongoing oral health challenges. Problems with eating, speaking, confidence, cleaning and adjusting to dentures make them a high maintenance solution. Though dentures restore smiles, people utilizing them must adapt to maintain oral health and function. For those with complete tooth loss, the benefits of dentures typically outweigh the inconveniences. But patients must commit to denture care for optimal comfort and performance.