Is It Time for New Dentures?
Dentures that fit well can improve your looks and enhance eating and speaking. Talk to your prosthodontist about your current situation and whether you need new dentures. In general, the life expectancy of false teeth is about five to seven years.
Factors that affect the satisfaction and life span of your prosthodontics include:
- General health status
- Significant weight increase or decrease
- Time since loss of teeth
- Denture care and cleaning
- Tobacco and caffeine use
- Shape of your mouth
- Changes in facial and oral muscles
- Variation in skin tone or color
The color match of false teeth to a natural tooth color can seem to change, especially if the natural teeth are darker due to stains or lighter because of past dental treatment. Also, dentures can wear, stain, chip, or fracture over time. Today's denturists are able to modify the look of smiles and gum tissues in order to compliment existing teeth, skin color, or tone.
Dentures, like all manufactured goods, require regular maintenance and eventual replacement. To maintain proper fit, appearance, function, and to avoid any damage to oral structure, a prosthodontist should regularly evaluate your false teeth. The gum and bone tissues that support dentures undergo changes over time and with age. Often, these changes include a good amount of bone shrinkage. Bone shrinkage causes a denture to become loose, less functional, and slip during eating and speaking. Age-related changes in facial muscles, complexion, and lips also will affect the function and appearance of your prosthodontics. Oral hygiene habits, use of tobacco, and drinking coffee or tea will also affect the appearance of a denture, as well as any odors associated with them.
Since dentures are in use every day, for many years, it is reasonable to periodically replace those that no longer fit properly. If you have not visited a denturist recently, if your false teeth slip, have lost their good looks, cause discomfort, or if they are more than five years old, you may need to replace them.
by Denise J. Fedele, D.M.D., M.S.
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