This is a question that we often hear during consultations with patients considering their options for denture treatment.
Many people wonder if it’s worth spending money on new dentures or dental implants because they are not sure how much longer they will be around to enjoy them. Surprisingly, some of these people are only in their 60s and 70s! But the question should really be, ‘what is the quality of life I want to enjoy now?’
Dentures affect more than just how you look, they are critical to your self-confidence, speech and chewing efficiency all of which have a direct significant impact on your nutrition and overall health and longevity. We have had several patients over the years that are well into their 90s – and beyond – who chose to improve their quality of life with new dentures and dental implants after years of suffering. They improved their quality of life by improving the fit and comfort of their dentures.
At 92 years of age, Edna came to us with tremendous lower jaw pain. She was unable to eat because her dentures were not fitting well. Her health was seriously declining due to her inability to eat and subsequent weight loss, and out of concern her son was anxious to find a solution for his mother. After discussing the options of new dentures versus dental implants, Edna opted to have the dentures without implants. Edna’s son drove 2 hours each way to bring her to our clinic for the multiple appointments necessary to complete her treatment. When her dentures were inserted, Edna was elated. She is now able to eat comfortably and Edna’s son said, “I am not sure if I can handle the ecstasy, it is all that she talks about.” Edna is pain-free and enjoying food again.
Ruby was 93 years of age when she came to the clinic for a consultation. She decided against replacing her 40 year old dentures, “I am too old for new ones.” Recently, at the age of 101, Ruby decided she would spend the money and get new dentures, and she is excited at the prospect of eating in comfort.
Close to 94 years of age, Eleanor had dental implants placed to improve the stability of her lower denture because her son told her he had dental implants placed at age 72, and ‘they are a miracle’. She just celebrated her 102nd birthday and she continues to eat comfortably and every day enjoys the present she gave herself, “… when I was younger.”
I consulted with Paul a few days before his 100th birthday. He didn’t need new dentures; he required an upper denture refit/reline as he had recently lost a few pounds. On his 100th birthday, I telephoned Paul to see how he was doing and to make sure everything was comfortable. He said, “Thanks to you, I’m eating a steak on my 100th birthday!“
These individuals demonstrate that no one is too old for new/replacement dentures or dental implants as the quality of life should be important at any age. Comfortable dentures allow you to eat and smile your way through any social function, without the worry or pain of ill-fitting dentures. Efficient chewing, safe swallowing through proper mincing of food, and the ability to comfortably eat a variety of healthy and delicious food contribute to a high quality of life, no matter what your age. We inform our patients of all their treatment options regardless of their age.
*Not their real names- true stories.