Dentures: Best Advice for a Smooth Transition

Dr. Kyle Hornby

Pursuing Dentures in Kitchener?

Are you unsure if a transition to dentures is right for you? Do you have lots of large cavities? Are your teeth loose or are they constantly breaking? The good new is, you have lots of options.

Patients with failing teeth that are likely to cost a lot to fix and which are unlikely to last a long time post-treatment may be at the point of needing either Partial Dentures or Complete Dentures. It is a difficult decision to decide that some or all of your teeth are no longer worth maintaining. I get that. And, unfortunately, most dental treatment decisions are discussed on a "micro" scale. By this, I mean that when a tooth breaks, the Dentist discusses fixing it and most patients go forth with the recommended treatment. A patient with many compromised teeth decides to replace 2 missing teeth with expensive dental implants. There is nothing wrong with these treatment decisions. I am simply encouraging a constant awareness of the overall state of the mouth (that is, taking a "macro" or "big picture" view of things).

A patient that starts replacing missing teeth with costly implants may not be aware that more teeth are likely to fail soon and require extraction. They may not understand that, should more teeth fail, they are developing a habit of fixing things expensively. If you have replaced 1, 2, 3 or more missing teeth with implants, you are statistically far more likely to continue replacing teeth via this costly solution.

Rarely, a patient will have seemingly limitless resources to support this course of action. Some patients, however, might be less likely to start out with dental implants if aware that they are likely to lose more teeth in the near future. They may try to anticipate what will be required treatment-wise over the next 2-3 years. This may lead them to pursue a more "bulk" restorative solution whereby they remove failing teeth that are unlikely to last and replace them (and already missing teeth) with dentures.

This is why the "big picture" is so important. As a Family Dentist, I try to present the "micro" and the "macro" each time I discuss treatment plans with a patient. I talk to my patients and write this blog providing the very information that I would use in making these decisions for myself. I really believe that having this information will help you to make better decisions for yourself while enjoying tremendous value for what you spend on treatment. Making the right decisions is everything.

When are Dentures Needed?

The point at which it is necessary to transition into partial or complete dentures differs between patients. Again, dentures may not be a reasonable solution for all patients. Patients with the willingness and resources to spend large sums of money on restoring their teeth and smile may prefer a more permanent non-removable solution like dental implants. The denture's greatest strength as a treatment plan solution is that it allows for replacement of many teeth in a cost-effective manner.

The cost of a denture does not increase linearly with the number of teeth it replaces (whereas this is the case with dental implants, dental bridges, etc.,). Replacing 4 teeth with a partial denture will cost around $1200 - $1500, depending on the denture construction and materials. With each additional tooth added to the denture, costs increase by maybe $30 (or the cost of a single denture tooth and some small added materials cost). The bulk of the denture cost is for the lab work in fabrication and for materials to make the framework of the denture itself.

Dentures provide a cost effective solution to replace failing teeth. There are generally two phenomena that compromise the long-term prognosis of a tooth, or teeth:

  1. Tooth decay or fracture of tooth or dental filling that cannot be adequately restored/fixed.
  2. Periodontal/"Gum" disease that has left teeth loose and with minimal bone support

Although there is no perfect formula for determining when a transition to dentures will serve you best, there is some relevant information to consider. A good treatment planning decision strikes a balance between:

  1. Minimizing investment in teeth that are likely to fail again (or require removal) within 2-3 years. This includes fees for dental cleanings, tooth repairs, tooth replacement, etc.,.
  2. Prioritizing your philosophy (wants, needs, etc.,) about your own oral health. For example, some patients are aware of the long-term prognosis for their teeth but are committed to keeping them for as long as possible. Others, will try to anticipate future expenditures and take action to minimize money poorly spent. Both approaches are valid and the emphasis should be on patient's making the best choice for themselves given maximum information.
  3. Providing maximum value to the patient. Helping the patient arrive at a solution that meets their functional and esthetic needs with the least intervention possible.

An astute Kitchener Family Dentist will keep you aware of the big picture each time you face a treatment decision. Such decisions might include whether to fix a fractured tooth. Or you may be faced with a decision about extracting and replacing an infected tooth. There is often a lot of information to process when making decisions about how to maintain your oral health. For your aid, I provide a list of scenarios that commonly trigger a patient to start considering dentures:

  1. Loss of 2-3 or more teeth within a year and where remaining teeth are loose, broken down, or heavily restored and fracture-prone.
  2. The patient has a partial denture and remaining natural teeth are frequently breaking from pressure exerted by the partial denture prosthesis.
  3. Long-term battle with recurrent tooth or gum infections and pain from multiple areas over the past year or longer.
  4. The patient is no longer willing or able to spend money on restoring and maintaining existing teeth.

Who provides dentures in Kitchener?

Designing dentures in Kitchener

Dentures can be made by your Family Dentist, although not all Dentists provide denture services. It is important to ask your Dentist if they provide denture fabrication services. Denturists also make dentures and provide a second option for patients. In many cases, extraction of some or all teeth is required prior to transitioning into dentures. Some Dentists work closely with Oral Surgeons to have extractions completed prior to the Dentist providing Dentures to the patient.

My advice is to have a consult with your Kitchener Dentist if you feel discouraged about the future of your teeth. And take your time gathering information and evaluating your options. I often have a couple of consults with my patients before the patient is ready to chart a new path. Only then are they ready for a transition to partial or complete dentures. Cost-effective options for bulk restoration of multiple missing teeth include:

  1. Partial dentures. Replacement of multiple missing teeth is required where the patient still has numerous strong, healthy teeth.
  2. Complete dentures. Replacement of a full arch of teeth where all teeth have been removed or where extraction of all remaining non-salvageable teeth is required.
  3. Implant-retained complete dentures. Replacement of a full arch of teeth is required and the patient lacks enough residual jawbone to provide good denture retention.
implant dentures in Kitchener

How much do dentures cost?

Complete dentures cost approximately $1,400 - $1,600. Partial dentures come in a few varieties. Partials come in both acrylic-only and cast-metal-acrylic varieties. The pure acrylic partial dentures range in cost from $400 to $800. Cast metal partial dentures cost between $1,200 - $1,500.

My best advice is that you consult your Kitchener Dentist regarding costs associated with dentures.

Thanks for reading today's article. If you'd like more information on Dentures, please check out my Ultimate FAQ Guide to Dentures.

If you are considering oral surgery services such as tooth extraction and denture fabrication and would like to have it all done at one convenient location, please contact us at (519) 576-8160 or request a consult here.

We have been providing tooth extraction and denture services to our patients for many years. We are proud to have been selected as a Kitchener-Waterloo Record Reader's Choice Best Denture Provider for 2018 and 2019! Having all aspects of your denture transition taken care of by us saves you extra appointments and elevated fees.

Written by Dr. Kyle Hornby, Kitchener Dentist

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your Kitchener-Waterloo Dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a dental condition or treatment.

Enjoy a fresh start.
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