If you have missing teeth, don’t worry—there are plenty of ways to replace missing teeth and give you back a beautiful smile. If you are missing several teeth or all your teeth and considering traditional dentures, ask yourself these four questions to help determine if you are a good candidate for dentures.

Are You Prepared For A Learning Curve?

Getting dentures comes with a long learning curve. Because the dentures are removable, they tend to move as you talk and chew. This makes it difficult to eat, and it even affects your speech. The first few months of having dentures will be a struggle as you relearn to eat and speak while keeping your dentures in place. In the beginning, stick to softer foods that are easy to chew, and chew on both sides of your mouth. However, as you learn to use the dentures correctly, you’ll be able to move on to harder foods and only chew on one side.

If some time has passed, and you continue to struggle with your dentures falling out when you laugh, yawn or talk, revisit your dentist as the fit may be off. This is particularly a problem with immediate dentures. Immediate dentures are placed right after your teeth are pulled, but as your jaw naturally shrinks due to the missing teeth, the immediate denture no longer fits correctly.

Are You Prepared For The Changes?

Even after you are comfortable with the dentures, there are some major changes you’ll need to make. The first one is avoiding certain foods. You’ll be able to eat many of the foods you did without your dentures, but your dentures just can’t withstand sticky and chewy foods. When you eat sticky and chewy foods with dentures, the top and bottom teeth stick together, causing the dentures to lift off the gum and making chewing impossible.

Another major change you’ll need to consider is not having teeth at night. In the beginning, you should wear your dentures during the night to ensure they fit right. However, dentures can agitate the gums, so at night, it is best to remove them, allowing the soft tissue to heal.  

Are Implant-Supported Dentures Not An Option?

Implant-supported dentures are, as the name implies, dentures supported by dental implants. They are not removable, making it easier to eat and talk right away. They are also more durable than traditional dentures, and they stimulate your jaw, preventing it from shrinking. If you are a candidate for implant-supported dentures, you should consider them first. However, not everyone is a candidate for implant-supported dentures.

Firstly, they cost a lot. A full set of implant-supported dentures costs on average of $34,000, while traditional dentures cost between $300 and $5,000. Secondly, people with uncontrolled gum disease are not a good choice for implant-supported dentures because they are more likely to develop peri-implant disease. Basically, this condition is gum disease around the implant, and it leads to exposed titanium implants, weakened jaw bone and increases the chances of the implant failing.

Are Dental Bridges Not An Option?

Another option for missing teeth are dental bridges. A dental bridge is comprised of at least three parts: two crowns on the outside and one false tooth in the middle. The crowns are placed over the teeth surrounding the gap, and the false tooth falls into the gap. A bridge can consist of multiple false teeth. While they aren’t as durable as implants, dental bridges are durable and non-removable. If you only have a few missing teeth, and you are a candidate for dental bridges, consider getting them instead of a partial denture.

If you have several missing teeth, a dental bridge may not be a good idea because the more false teeth in the bridge, the less stable it becomes. Secondly, as with implants, if you have uncontrolled gum disease, a dental bridge is not a good choice. This is because bridges use surrounding teeth as support. Gum disease weakens your jawbone, making these teeth less stable and unable to successfully support a bridge.

While there are other options available, dentures are generally appropriate for everyone. Just make sure you can cope with the learning curve and changes.