You’re sitting at home with your shiny new dentures in your mouth, and one of the first things that pops into your head is how long exactly will they last? A commonly held belief is that getting dentures is a long-term relationship, and that once you have them, you’re set for life.
The truth is, there’s no permanent fix for your dental issues. Just as you’ll have to replace that sofa with another one, dentures will eventually need to be replaced after a maximum of 10-15 years – that is, if you’re taking good care of them. How long do partial dentures last? What should you do when your dentures have reached the end of their career and what can you do to protect them? Read on to have all your questions answered!
The Longevity of Different Denture Types
We tend to imagine our mouth as this constant entity that always stays the same, when in fact, like most things in life, it’s always changing: your gums may shrink, and your jawbone may also change shape.
How Long Do Partial Dentures and Full Dentures Last?
According to statistics, full dentures last anywhere between 5 and 10 years, while partials have a maximum longevity of 15 years. During this time frame, both your mouth and your dentures can undergo major changes, resulting in an improper fit and unappealing appearance.
How Long Do Immediate Dentures Last?
There’s also a third category of dentures called immediate or temporary dentures, whose lifespan can be measured in months. Immediate dentures are a prosthetic device fit in by your dentist right after the removal of your natural teeth and are used until your permanent dentures are ready, so for about two to three months.
How Often Should You Get New Dentures?
As your mouth changes over the years, you need to make sure that your dentures fit properly. It’s highly recommended for denture wearers to visit their dentist for a check-up every 12 months, or at the earliest sign of irritation (like clicking or gagging), even if it seems these symptoms may blow over soon.
Despite your best efforts to whiten and remove stains from your dentures, they’re also affected by wear and tear, just like natural teeth. When your dentures no longer look aesthetically pleasing or stop fitting properly and get loose in your mouth, the time has come for your dentures to be relined, rebased, or remade – depending on how much your mouth has changed or how much your dentures have deteriorated.
No matter what type of material they’re made of, full dentures typically last for 5 to 10 years, while partials have a total longevity of 15 years. If you’ve been wearing the same dentures for over their expected lifespan, make sure to have them inspected by a dental professional to find out if they’re still fit to serve their purpose.
How to Extend the Lifespan of Your Dentures
There are several ways you can ensure a longer lifespan for your dentures, from relining and rebasing to sticking to a proper oral care routine.
What Does Relining and Rebasing Mean
Relining and rebasing are two methods your dentist can use to extend the lifespan of your dentures. Relining involves the dentist reshaping the underside of your (otherwise perfectly fine) dentures to make them feel more comfortable on your gums, while rebasing is a more complex process that refers to the total replacement of the base material of the dentures, that is, the plastic part that is there to simulate gum tissue. Thus, it provides your dentures more stability and a better fit.
How to Care for Your Dentures
No matter what you do, your dentures will eventually have to be replaced. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care for them. If you look after your full and partial dentures properly, they can last for a long time! Here are a few things you can do to ensure a longer lifespan for your dentures.
- Clean them daily. Remove your dentures before going to bed every night, rinse them with warm water, and gently brush them with a soft-bristled brush and nonabrasive denture cleanser to remove food, plaque and other deposits.
- Soak them every night. Dentures need to stay moist to retain their original shape, so place them in a glass of water or denture-soaking solution overnight.
- See your dentist regularly. Your dentist can help to ensure your dentures stay properly fitted, as well as provide you with professional advice and medical help in case your dentures cause you any distress.
Signs Your Dentures Need to Be Replaced
No matter how well you look after your false teeth, they will eventually need to be replaced so that your bite stays healthy and strong. Here are a few tell-tale signs that you need to ditch your old dentures and have them replaced by new ones:
Changes in Fit
As the years go by, so will the fit of your dentures change. This has to do with the fact that your jawbone and the associated bone structure are constantly shifting, causing your dentures to become loose or wobbly, making eating and speaking rather onerous. Inversely, spending too much time without your dentures can result in a much tighter fit once you do decide to start wearing your false teeth on a regular basis.
Consequently, you should have your dentures assessed routinely and relined every two years or so. If you notice significant changes in their fit despite your efforts to maintain your dentures to the best of your possibilities, discuss your options with your dentist.
One broken false tooth does not mean that your entire set of dentures needs to be replaced – it might just need a little repair. Instead of attempting to fix the broken component yourself, have it looked at by a dentist or a prosthodontist.
Broken Denture Base
One thing to keep in mind is that your denture’s most essential part is its base. Once it breaks, the appliance can only be repaired by a skilled prosthodontist.
Stained or Dirty Dentures
As time marches on, tiny crack and fractures may appear in your dentures, opening the door for bacteria to make their way through your dentures to your gums, thus causing an infection and a swarm of dental issues in its wake.
Unexplained Pain or Discomfort
Dentures that are not fitted properly can cause unexpected aches and pains in your neck, shoulders, back, and mouth, indicating that a visit to your dentist is necessary.
Now that you know everything about the longevity of different denture types, from how to extend their lifespan to what signs you should look for before deciding that it’s time to bid farewell to your faithful false teeth, you can rest assured that if you take good care of your dentures, you two have a long and healthy relationship to look forward to.