By David Hudnall, DMD
Dentures are designed and crafted to be durable –– after all, they’re made to withstand harsh chewing forces and heavy use. However, that doesn’t mean that they last forever. So, how long do dentures last? In this article, we’ll discuss how long dentures last and when you should consider getting new dentures.
Why Dentures Don’t Last Forever
“How long do dentures last?” is actually a two-pronged question. First, dentures are fabricated from man-made materials that scratch, stain, and wear out over time. I have had patients ask me to sharpen their denture teeth because they can no longer chew as well as they once did. No one can do this.
As denture teeth become worn and dull from use, they become flattened. The supporting acrylic develops microscopic cracks which allow the material to become brittle and harbor bacteria.
The second reason dentures don’t last forever is that the structure that supports the dentures ––– namely, your bone and gum tissue –– changes subtly with time. When you have natural teeth, your teeth move with your gums and the change is imperceptible. When you have dentures, you’ll notice after a while that the fit is not as snug as it once was.
Although a denturist can make adjustments to improve the fit, eventually you’ll need new dentures to correct for the changes. The synergy of both issues causes dentures to no longer be serviceable and require replacement.
How Long Do Dentures Last?
According to the American Dental Association, dentures have an average lifespan of 5 to 10 years. How long dentures last can also depend on many factors including your chewing habits and how you care for them. Some patients are hard on dentures because they are prone to parafunctional activity, such as grinding their teeth, which causes dentures to wear out prematurely.
Often patients go to one extreme or another when it comes to denture hygiene. Patients who don’t clean their dentures correctly will experience a buildup of tartar and stain that can shorten the longevity of their dentures. Some patients take cleaning far too literally and clean their dentures with actual toothpaste, bleach, or other harsh chemicals as if they were cleaning a bathroom floor.
The correct way to clean dentures lies somewhere in between. Appropriate care means using a denture brush and other products made especially for denture cleaning to remove all of the debris and stain on a daily basis.
Types of Dentures and Their Lifespans
Next, I am going to review the different types of dentures and discuss how their lifespans may vary.
How long do Snap-On dentures last?
In cases where dentures are completely supported by dental implants and the denture doesn’t rely on the gum tissue for support, Snap-On dentures can last anywhere between 10 and 15 years. This is because small changes in the gums and underlying bone don’t affect patient comfort. That said, implant-supported dentures do require yearly checkups and regular maintenance to ensure that the connection between the implants and the denture is functioning properly.
Full and Partial Dentures
How long do partial dentures last?
Acrylic and cast metal partial dentures generally last, on average, between 5 and 10 years if cared for correctly.
How long do full dentures last?
Complete dentures last an average of 5 to 10 years before they need to be replaced.
Flexible Partial Dentures
How long do partial dentures last that are made from flexible materials?
Because they are made from hybrid nylon material, flexible partial dentures are significantly less rigid than traditional partials. They are not considered a long-term solution but rather a stop-gap to restore functionality and prevent the remaining teeth from shifting while waiting for a more permanent tooth replacement. Most flexible partials last about 5 years.
Temporary and Immediate Dentures
How long do temporary dentures last?
Immediate dentures, also known as temporary dentures, are designed to be used for a maximum of one year after having teeth removed. During healing from extractions, your gums and jawbone will change dramatically, causing the dentures to become ill-fitting.
If you are wearing temporary dentures for longer than one year, it’s time for new dentures. See your dental professional to be fitted for replacement dentures that will allow you to chew better with a greater degree of comfort.
Which Denture Is Right for You?
If you’re trying to choose between the many denture options available solely based upon how long dentures last, you may be going about it all wrong. A dental professional can help you make the best decision for your unique situation. There are more important things to consider besides the lifespan of dentures alone. These factors include the cost of treatment and your personal oral health goals.
How Often Should You Replace Dentures?
If you find yourself being unable to chew as well as you once did, your dentures begin slipping, or they look stained and worn, it’s time for new dentures. Replacing dentures gives you the opportunity to start over with a beautiful smile and a more comfortable fit.
Can You Live a Long Life With Dentures?
You can! Remember that dentures not only improve your appearance and self-esteem, they also help you to eat properly. To reap the full benefits of wearing dentures, dentures must be well-constructed and fit correctly. Foods like fruits, raw vegetables, seeds, and nuts are crucial for the prevention of muscle and bone weakness and frailty. You must be able to break down these raw, fibrous foods into small particles and chew the food sufficiently before swallowing for proper digestion and nutrient absorption. Dentures that don’t allow you to do this need to be replaced, regardless of their age.
European Denture Center Has the Solution!
European Denture Center is ready to help you choose the best denture solution for you and has several payment options available to make your choice more affordable. Our caring denturists and staff understand your needs, wants, and desires and work with you to assure your complete satisfaction.