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Are Dentures Really that Bad?

I don’t want any judgments. I went my entire childhood without dental care. My parents just didn’t have the money. I used to blame them, but now that I’m a parent I completely understand what it means to not have money. I had two kids by the time I was twenty-two. I spent all my money taking care of them. I started having a seriously painful toothache and went to see a dentist for the first time. I did expect I’d need some work, but the dentist said I needed almost every tooth worked on. I couldn’t afford that so told him to just pull the tooth which bothered me. Since then, I’ve had to pull another tooth and I see a pattern developing here. I am wondering if I should just get dentures. I’m 29 and I think it would be cheaper and more convenient for me to just get dentures. When I brought it up my dentist acted like I was insane. Can dentures really be that bad?


Dear Melody,

illustration of facial collapse using the profile of a woman before and after

Wearing dentures long term leads to facial collapse.

I will give no judgment. You are in a difficult position. Even if this were all your own doing, berating a patient never helps. It is always better to help them think through their options. While dentures are an option for you, there are serious consequences you need to be aware of.

The minor consequences would be a decrease in your chewing capacity, having to remove your teeth at night, risk of dentures slipping, and food getting underneath. While inconvenient, many people adjust and live perfectly happy lives with dentures. Your age is the biggest issue.

Dentures and Facial Collapse

When your teeth are removed, your body recognizes that. Being remarkably efficient, it wants to use the natural resources of your body to their greatest advantage. Without tooth roots, it perceives you no longer need your jawbone there to support your teeth so it begins resorbing those minerals in your body to use elsewhere.

This begins to slowly shrink your jaw. This is known as facial collapse. The picture above shows the results of wearing these dentures for ten years or more. You’re only 29. By the time you’re in your 40s, you won’t have enough jawbone left to sustain your dentures any longer. There will be no way for you to eat solid food.

Here’s my suggestion. I’d like you to get some dental insurance. It is more affordable than you think. You can get some policies for as little as $20 a month. This will help you get the regular preventative care you need as well as give you discounts on things like dental fillings.

Save as many teeth as you can. That is the most affordable solution. The less invasive the treatment, the better. Have your dentist list the procedures necessary to do that in order of most urgent to least. Then, as you are able, do the additional work needed.

This blog is brought to you by Naperville Dentist Dr. David Newkirk.