Losing your teeth can have several implications for your body. For starters, teeth help you chew and break down food, starting the process of digestion. On top of that, your teeth make up part of your facial structure and help you speak properly.
Unfortunately, tooth loss is more common than you may expect. Studies done in 2012 showed that around 21% of adults over 65 have no natural teeth and that nearly 30% of adults aged 45-64 claimed to be uncomfortable with the appearance of their teeth. (1)
People who’ve experienced tooth loss have the option of getting dentures, also known as false teeth. Hence, dentures can help those with tooth loss regain their dental appearance, allowing them to regain the benefits of having teeth.
Here are six scenarios that may require you to either get emergency denture care or denture repair/replacement.
- You’re missing some teeth
This is probably one of the most easily recognised scenarios that call for dentures. A regular adult human should have 32 teeth. If you’ve had your wisdom teeth removed, you’ll usually have 28 teeth.
There are several reasons wherein missing a few teeth could cause additional problems. If you’re having trouble chewing food or speaking, you may want to consider getting dentures. Correspondingly, missing teeth can put extra stress on your remaining teeth while you eat. This can cause additional dental problems and more tooth loss.
In the event that you feel pain on your remaining teeth while chewing, you may require emergency dentures.
- You’re experiencing tooth rot
A statistic in 2021 shows that approximately one-third of adults present some form of tooth decay on at least one tooth. Furthermore, an average of 29.7% of Australian adults had at least one tooth filling or missing tooth surface. (2)
Rotting teeth can be caused by poor oral hygiene combined with bacteria in your mouth. These bacteria can potentially spread to your other teeth and to other people through kissing. If you’ve noticed any tooth decay, it’s a sign to consider seeing a dentist. Depending on the degree of damage, you may want to replace the tooth with a denture or have it crowned.
- You have trouble eating certain foods
More specifically, this usually manifests as sensitivity to certain food temperatures—most commonly cold foods, but it can also be hot foods. That said, you may experience sensitivities to particular types of food, like sweet and sugary foods.
Tooth sensitivity to specific foods can indicate potential tooth problems. Examples include decaying teeth, a cracked or chipped tooth, and exposed nerves or receding gums. It could also be a symptom of decreased enamel on your teeth. (3)
In this scenario, it’s possible that a dentist might call for an emergency denture. In this case, it may be some sort of permanent denture, like a crown, tooth cap, or an artificial tooth implant, to replace a damaged tooth.
- You notice painful, loose, or shifting teeth
Loose and shifting teeth can develop as you age, most often when you’ve lost a tooth or more. Unfortunately, there’s a possibility that such symptoms can be painful and can lead to further tooth damage or tooth loss. Bleeding, swollen, red, and receding gums are some symptoms that could accompany loose teeth. (4)
In this scenario, your dentist may suggest dentures or fittings to fill gaps and keep your teeth from shifting. Depending on the severity, this could become an emergency––the sooner it’s done, the less likely the symptoms are to lead to further complications.
- You experience pain while eating with your dentures in
So, you’ve already had dentures for a while, and now you’ve noticed that they cause pain while you eat? In this case, it’s likely that your teeth have shifted and that your dentures are causing pressure as they push against your teeth as you chew.
Yes, your teeth can still shift even if you regularly wear your dentures. While dentures may help with controlling the shift to an extent, they often can’t stop it completely. Correspondingly, dentures can wear over time, which can result in them not fitting as well as they did before.
In a scenario like this, continued use of those dentures can consequently result in new tooth problems, like some of those listed above. A dentist may recommend getting new dentures fitted as soon as possible.
- Your dentures are broken or damaged
As you probably figure, it’s not a good idea to wear broken or damaged dentures. These can put pressure on your teeth, cause grinding, or even provide a breeding ground for bacteria in cracks. If your dentures have been damaged, it might be beneficial to pay a visit to your dentist to ask about new dentures, implants, or other solutions to your dental worries.
When it comes to tooth loss, dentures can help preserve your dental appearance and performance. If you’ve experienced one or more of the six scenarios listed here, it may call for you to have some emergency denture care.
Remember that these scenarios are more like guidelines on what to look out for. If you see any cause for concern, it’s probably best to visit a professional for advice or a diagnosis before taking any further steps.
- Oral health and dental care in Australia: key facts and figures 2012, Summary – Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (aihw.gov.au)
- Oral Health of Australian Adults: Distribution and Time Trends of Dental Caries, Periodontal Disease and Tooth Loss (nih.gov)
- Ouch! Why are my teeth sensitive to certain foods? – Advanced Cosmetic & Family Dentistry (acfdga.com)
- Loose Tooth: Pain, Adults, and Treatment (healthline.com)