Not Just for the Elderly: Tips for Adjusting to Dentures When You’re Young
Dentures are typically associated with tooth loss as a person ages. However, in some cases, young adults and even mature teenagers need dentures to help deal with premature tooth loss due to infection, injury, or extensive damage to the teeth from health problems.
If you need dentures as a young person, adapting to denture care while still maintaining your lifestyle can be challenging. Here are some tips to live a full life while wearing and caring for dentures.
- Remember That You’re Not the Only One
One of the reasons why young people feel that dentures are such a challenge is because of the association with age. You might feel it is rare to meet a young person with full or even partial dentures, leading to feelings of insecurity.
However, dentures are more common than you might realize. They are often necessary for in the following situations:
- Injury. Dental injury is a very common reason for tooth loss. A puck to the teeth in hockey or hitting your teeth on the dashboard when you’re in a car accident results in early tooth loss. Some young veterans also lose teeth in combat. Usually the most cost effective replacement method is dentures.
- Poor dental health. It’s not as common as it was, but in areas where dental care is suboptimal, many young people can experience accelerated decay.
- Drug use. Some drugs accelerate tooth decay. Recovering users may need extensive restoration.
- Health problems. Some people experience early tooth loss because of diabetes, chronic acid reflux, or even structural abnormalities that cause teeth to grow deformed or even not at all.
None of the above reasons for needing dentures should be cause for self-depreciation. Choose to look at your dentures as any other cure for a physical ailment. When you have diabetes, you take insulin. When you have bad eyesight, you wear glasses. Similarly, when you have tooth loss, you use dentures to replace the teeth that are gone.
When you get dentures, even though losing your original teeth may seem traumatic, your life will not drastically change. The people who loved you before will still love you. Your job, your home, and your hobbies will not alter. You can and will meet and make new friends who will not even notice your teeth.
You can smile without fear.
- Choose Properly Fitted Dentures
Unfortunately, many young people who wear dentures feel that the dentures affect their social and romantic lives. In one survey, many respondents reported being unwilling to fully smile in public.
These issues are mostly remedied by quality dentures that are properly fitted. Loose, ill-fitting dentures are more likely to result in slight changes in appearance and difficulty speaking and chewing. Properly fitting dentures, however, should give the same mobility as you had with your regular teeth.
The sunken, gummy look that many associate with dentures only comes when you choose dentures that are not a fully optimized fit for your mouth. If you do experience trouble with your dentures when speaking, talking, or smiling, talk to your dentist. Adjusting the fit and style will help, and you should not settle for a less-than-perfect match.
- Stay Away From Difficult Foods
Dentures will be just as effective as your natural teeth at chewing your food. You should not fear dining out with friends—your dentures are designed to function just like your original teeth. It may take you a little while to fully trust and adjust to chewing with dentures, but you’ll be able to bite into an apple or enjoy some steak.
There is one major change that you’ll experience when wearing dentures—sticky, chewy candies will not work well. Denture adhesive and good fit keeps the set in place, but the pull of taffy-like candy can really damage them. If you do eat candy, stick with soft varieties. Never crunch down on hard candies or ice —suck on these items instead.
- Stick With Good Oral Hygiene
You’re not off the hook with oral hygiene when you have dentures. If you stay on top of morning and evening cleaning, your teeth will feel better during the day. Your dentures will last longer, and they will look better to others.
Since young dentures wearers may at first feel constantly self-aware, cleaning helps to put your mind at ease.
- Save for the Future
Because mouth shape changes with age (especially after pulling teeth from the gums), you’ll need to invest in a new set of dentures every three to eight years. How long your dentures last will also depend on wear and tear. A betted-made set will resist damage longer.
For more information on adjusting to life with dentures as a young person, contact us at Northwest Dental Services and Implant Center. We can help you explore the best tooth replacement option for your lifestyle and budget.