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Do I Still Need to See a Dentist if I Have Dentures?

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Everyone should see a dentist for a checkup and cleaning every six months, including people with dentures. Oral health involves more than teeth – your dentist is also carefully looking at your gums, tongue, and jaw during a dental checkup. Denture wearers also have specific needs that require regular dental care to maintain a bright, healthy smile. 

During a checkup, your dentist will examine your denture to make sure it still fits and functions properly. As we age and experience other natural physical changes, the size and structure of your dentures may need to be adjusted to avoid gum irritation and pain when you bite down. The dentist will also check for health issues such as gum disease, and decay (if you have partial dentures or only an upper or lower plate) and ask you if you are experiencing any discomfort or problems with your dentures.  Depending on your budget – dentures now cost* $1,500 – $4000+ per arch to replace, and $400-$600 per arch to reline – you’ll still want a dental plan to help reduce the costs of dental care, which may be more costly than you expected.  

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Regular visits to the dentist are essential for maintaining the longevity of your dentures. Dentists possess specialized knowledge and tools to assess the condition of your dentures and address any issues promptly. During these visits, they can inspect for signs of wear, adjust the fit if necessary, and provide professional cleaning to prevent plaque buildup and bacterial growth. Additionally, dentists can offer guidance on proper denture care techniques, such as cleaning methods and storage practices, which can significantly impact the durability and performance of your dentures over time. By scheduling regular checkups with your dentist, you can ensure that your dentures remain in optimal condition, prolonging their lifespan and preserving your oral health.   

Keeping your dentures clean between checkups 

As noted above, abrasive whitening toothpaste and at-home bleaching products should not be used on dentures. But even standard toothpaste and toothbrushes may be too abrasive. Talk to your dentist, they will probably advise you to use products that are made for denture care.   

If you don’t have fixed dentures, your dentist will advise you to remove your dentures at night, clean them and store them in water or a denture cleanser. Otherwise, they may dry out, become brittle, and breakable. Note that if you would rather remove your dentures during the day, that’s typically fine. You just want to have your dentures out for 6-8 hours every 24 hours to keep your mouth and gums healthy and decrease the chance of bone loss.  

And do take your time when cleaning your dentures. They can be slippery and dropping them just a few inches onto a hard surface can easily chip or crack them. Fill your sink with water before you start brushing. If you drop your dentures, the water will cushion their fall.  

What type of dentist does dentures?   

Prosthodontists focus on restoring the appearance and function of teeth. Their training is extensive. After graduating from college and completing the regular four years of dental school, prosthodontists receive an additional three years of advanced training at a graduate program accredited by the American Dental Association (ADA). The treatments a Prosthodontist provides include veneers, crowns, dental implants, and dentures.   

A denturist is different from a prosthodontist. Denturists are licensed professionals who typically construct, adjust and repair full and partial dentures. You can go directly to a denturist for treatment, but many work with general dentists and prosthodontists. Some prosthodontists also offer general dental care to their patients.  

Do I need dental insurance if I have dentures?  

Dentures do require regular upkeep, so having a dental plan – whether it is a dental savings plan or insurance, is a good idea. Along with regular checkups, removable dentures often need to be refitted (“relined”) or remade after a few years. Check in with your dentist as soon as possible if your dentures start to feel loose or as if they suddenly seem to be the wrong size – too big or too small – for your mouth. You’ll be far more comfortable and confident when your dentures fit properly, plus you’ll avoid the gum irritation and abrasions that loose-fitting dentures can cause.   

A word to the wise: Do not try to adjust your own dentures, no matter how skilled you are at tinkering. You’ll almost certainly end up spending more money to get them fixed after you’ve messed them up than you would have spent to get them adjusted in the first place.  

To manage the costs of maintaining your dentures, you may want dental insurance or a dental savings plan. Traditional Medicare doesn’t cover virtually any regular dental care, including dentures, though a Medicare Advantage plan may include dental care. But be aware that if dental insurance does offer coverage for dentures, it will be limited to your dental insurance’s annual spending cap, which is typically $1000-$1500 a year. That may not be enough for your needs.   

Also factor in your oral health – do you have partial dentures now? Will you likely need more restorative work in the near future? Are your dentures nearing the point where they may need to be replaced? If you have a mix of dentures and natural teeth, do you want to save on regular dental care too? Dental insurance typically has spending limits you’ll need to keep in mind.  

Dental saving plans, an affordable alternative to dental insurance, are often an effective way to cut the costs of getting and caring for dentures, as there is no annual spending limit. Plan members pay a low annual membership fee for access to an extensive network of participating dentists and dental specialists that provide discounts – Plan members report an average savings of 50%** – on dental care at the time of service.  

How to join a dental savings plan 

DentalPlans.com makes it easy to find your perfect plan with 25+ plans (dental savings plans and dental insurance) to choose from, personalized recommendations, and 20+ years of experience in helping people access affordable, quality dental care. Visit DentalPlans.com, browse the site, and use the online tools to explore your options. Or contact a member of our customer support team – we’re happy to help you find the plan that will save you the most on the dental care you need.  

Take good care of your new smile by getting regular dental checkups to ensure your dentures fit correctly and your mouth is healthy. Want a quick look at how much you can save on denture and dental care with a dental savings plan? Use the calculator below.  

*Cost average obtained from DentalPlans.com procedure search tool.  
**Discount Health Program consumer and provider surveys indicate average savings of 50%. Savings may vary by provider, location, and plan. 

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