Losing natural teeth when you are young, is less uncommon than you might imagine and occurs for many reasons. One Australian government survey undertaken in 2013, revealed people aged 15 to 24 had an average of two teeth missing. By the time they reach 25 to 44 years of age, they are missing an average of three teeth. But you don’t have to put up with gaps in your smile or even endure having no teeth at all. The good news is, there are dentures (also known as false teeth) to suit each individual’s situation no matter their age.
What are dentures and why are they needed?
Dentures are a customised replacement for missing teeth. You may have just one or two missing teeth in which case a partial denture will be needed. Or it may be all of the teeth in your upper and/or lower jaw have been extracted. In this case a full denture will be advised. Neglect could be the cause in some cases. Perhaps financial constraints have prevented regular dental check-ups and treatment may not be an option. Other reasons for tooth loss or extraction include gum disease, ill-health, drugs, accidents, and a desire for a better appearance.
Young denture wearers and employment
There is no doubt denture wearers have different perspectives according to age. It’s generally expected older people have, or will eventually have, dentures. Therefore, a wide acceptance of the fact prevails. This is not necessarily the case for young people wearers.
Personal appearance is very important to the young in our image-focused society. For reasons like employability in an increasingly competitive arena, personal appearance has become more important than ever. Decayed, grossly misaligned or missing teeth are not likely to impress potential employers. Nor will they imbue the sufferer with personal confidence. The Australian government survey revealed that 27% of people were uncomfortable with their dental appearance. People believe having unsightly teeth removed and replaced by more aesthetically pleasing false teeth improves their job prospects.
Young denture wearers and socialising
Just as important is the social stigma experienced by young denture wearers who may feel out of step with others in their age group. How, they might ask, can they confidently socialise over meals with dentures, for example? How can they have an intimate relationship when wearing false teeth? But these concerns can be allayed by seeking reliable information from sources such as your local professional or by going online. When there is no other option but tooth extraction and a denture, people cite benefits like a boost in self-confidence, better image and fewer costly dental problems.
How will I cope with dentures?
You probably know more young people than you imagine who wear false teeth. Dental technology has improved to the point that you may not even be aware your friends or colleagues have them. So good are the latest dentures, they are very natural-looking and almost undetectable. No longer is the image of your false teeth in a glass by the bed at night, a reality. Professional care and support, together with high quality materials and construction techniques make the dreaded ‘falsies’ of the past a distant memory.
How will my dentures be fitted?
Some young people are concerned there may be a lengthy period between having their teeth extracted and their new denture fitted. They might worry about having to hide toothless and ‘gummy-mouthed’ until their gums heal. Be reassured your prosthetist can offer treatment options that help avoid that embarrassment by fitting immediate dentures on the same day as your extractions. This means you still have teeth while allowing the time necessary for your gums to shrink before they can receive permanent dentures. When the gums have adjusted, the dentures are relined to fit the mouth’s new shape.
Implant-supported dentures are another option which help allay younger people’s fears about wearing dentures. Posts are surgically implanted into the jawbone which the false teeth attach to, ensuring a high level of stability. This can be especially helpful for lower dentures which tend to be less secure because of the mouth’s topography. But it’s not an option for everyone and takes longer to complete.
So, what are my options?
Do nothing: this option presents the danger of your remaining teeth moving to fill the gaps left by missing or extracted teeth. A situation which can affect your bite, the spacing of your teeth and general dental symmetry. Without supporting teeth, facial muscles can sag making you appear older than your years.
Speak to a dental prosthetist who is a specially trained professional, happy to educate you about the best options for you, aesthetically, dentally, and financially. Some denture clinics offer a free, first consultation for new patients. This gives you an opportunity to find out what your individual situation involves in terms of cost, time and the best quality product for you. They offer ongoing support with the maintenance and care of your device ensuring its comfort, fit and longevity.
Go on-line: social media has been the first port of call for many young people facing tooth loss. Reasons for this include the social stigma they perceive about dentures for young people and their need for discrete enquiries. There are many informative websites, YouTube channels, and forums dealing with the issues young people have, facing the prospect of false teeth. While some of these resources are located overseas, the Australian Facebook page: Denture Support Australia puts people in touch with others in the same situation. Here you can ask advice from other Australian denture wearers and professionals in a mutually supportive environment. Knowing others have faced the same concerns about wearing dentures and are willing to discuss their experiences and feelings, can be reassuring.
Northern Rivers Denture Clinic is located in the heart of Tweed Heads, southern Gold Coast. Finally have the smile you deserve with handcrafted, quality dentures.