No one likes to consider it and no one ever expects to need it, but sooner or later you may have to sink your teeth into the prospect that you may need to consider dentures. In fact, roughly about 60% of respondents in a recent Prevention.com survey revealed that they didn’t think they would ever need dentures because they religiously take care of their teeth. However, the reality of the matter is that the number of US adults needing dentures is expected to increase from 33.6 million in 1991 to a whopping 37.9 million this coming 2020.
Unfortunately, routinely brushing is not enough to keep your teeth from wearing and tearing from the constant abuse it gets from eating, drinking beverages, and even from grinding. In that regard, the warning signs that you need to chew over are easily spotted, so keep your eyes peeled for the following below:
Sign #1: Severe Toothaches
If you constantly feel like you’ve gotten kicked in the teeth, that’s a sharp sign of a progressing decay that’s attacking the nerve in the center of your tooth. If caught early on, you may be able to avoid dentures as it can be easily treated with a simple filling. When it’s too late, however, your dentist may need to remove it and replace the missing tooth with a partial denture.
Sign #2: Red, Swollen, Tender, or Bleeding Gums
The moment you feel inflamed gums, head to your dentist! It’s always better to check it earlier rather than later because inflammation is the cause of approximately 70% of adult tooth loss — from the mild, early stages of gingivitis to severe periodontal disease. If it is addressed immediately, gum disease can be treated with a simple tooth cleaning and an improvement of oral care at home. If left unattended, however, the gum disease can progress to tooth loss, which will inevitably lead to dentures. Be sure to catch this sign early so your dentist can help you restore your teeth to a healthier state.
Sign #3: Loose or Shifting Teeth
Shifting teeth is often the result of periodontal gum disease wherein bone loss may be progressing without you noticing it. This tends to be a silent killer as it can advance heavily without showing any obvious signs, which is why many tend to develop this gum disease as it is often a hidden problem. Your dentist will need to examine your teeth to determine if they can be saved or if they will need to be extracted.
Sign #4: You’re Already Missing a Couple of Teeth
A tooth falling off should already prompt you to visit your dentist, but unfortunately, a surprising 17% of adults 65 years and older have had all of their natural teeth removed, according to a 2010 survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is because many have attested to going for dentists due to the misconception that a few loose teeth in the back of the mouth are livable so long as the front teeth are still intact. However, the fewer teeth you have doing all the work, the higher the chance of losing more teeth as the pressure on the remaining teeth will rise with every lost tooth.
Sign #5: You’re Having Trouble Eating Hard or Chewy Foods
If you feel a sharp pain when chewing on hard foods, it may be an indication of a cracked tooth, cavities, or gum disease. It’s best to attend to this immediately so the dentist can save it by having you undergo a root canal before placing a crown to prevent further decay.