A common question about dentures is their longevity. That’s a fair question when you consider the cost of this appliance. Dentures are custom made dental appliances for each individual wearing them.
That said, knowing how long each will last depends on many factors. However, based on averages reported by dentists, 5 to 10 years of everyday use is the average lifespan of full dentures. Also, many people say they keep their dentures in service far longer than ten years.
That number represents only an average. It is wise to consider that physical changes to the jaw, the patient’s age, materials used, and other factors affect dentures’ longevity. As with natural teeth, dentures tend to wear down, and they are not immune to stains.
How Long Do the Different Types of Dentures Last?
It’s human nature to think our bodies, including our mouths, seem to stay the same unless we purposefully make a change that we know will change things. The truth is, our entire bodies are in a constant state of flux.
Our gums may shrink, and our jawbone could change, too. Knowing that a full denture lasts an average of 5 to 10 years, partial dentures have a typical max of about 15 years. During this time, your mouth and jaw will experience significant changes, which means a different fit and possible unappealing appearance.
You may not be aware of the third kind of denture, called immediate dentures. Dentists use temporary or immediate dentures immediately after your teeth get pulled, and until your permanent dentures are ready for you, typically in two or three months. The lifespan of immediate dentures is very short, measured in months instead of years.
How Can I Tell When My Dentures Need to Be Replaced?
Our mouths change over the years, and your dentures must fit properly. That’s why dentists recommend at least annual visits for checkups, or more if signs of irritation develop. Noises or physical reactions to the dentures like gagging or another reflex signal something is amiss and requires a dentist’s visit.
Another sign your dentures might be telling you it is time for replacement is their appearance and the struggles you have trying to whiten and remove stains that will not go away. Just like natural teeth, dentures suffer the same fate. Wear and tear begin to show, and they no longer look aesthetically pleasing.
In addition to their looks, they stop fitting snuggly, and you lose confidence in them. Based on the level of deterioration of your dentures, or the changes to your mouth, you should consider having them rebased, relined, or remade.
More Signs Your Dentures Need Replacing
Dentures are a significant investment. It is good that you’re attentive to the subtle, telltale signs that your dentures are failing. However, it is just as important to understand those symptoms require an expert diagnosis to determine the need for replacement.
• The prosthetic material used for the dentures has worn or broken over time
• Your dentures loosen to the point your gums can’t hold them anymore
• Natural changes to your jawbone occur, causing facial structure changes
• Accidents or injuries can impose immediate replacement of dentures
How to Get Your Dentures to Last Longer
Aside from a common-sense approach to denture care that includes regular checkups, a proper oral care routine is essential as an ongoing program for better overall health. Regardless of your best efforts to make your dentures last forever, you should know that they will require replacement someday.
There are a few methods dentists use in addition to regular care that can help extend the lifespan of your dentures. One process, called relining, is reshaping the surface underneath the dentures to shape them in a way that is more comfortable for you.
A second method, called rebasing, is a bit more complicated because it replaces the pink-colored material that is the base around which they construct the dentures. The purpose of rebasing is to provide a more stable and tighter fit.
Remember to clean your dentures every day. Rinse them in warm water and brush them with a soft-bristle brush and a denture cleaner to remove any residual food and plaque. Soaking them overnight provides the needed moisture that your dentures need to retain their shape. Use an approved denture cleaner solution.
The key to denture longevity is regular, annual visits to your prosthodontist. The American Dental Association recommends that persons wearing dentures check their appliances for any damage, regardless of type.
They mention, too, that a damaged appliance could have adverse effects on the health of the wearer. A broken denture could be the source of infection. When cleaning, always sterilize your dentures, too.