It’s something of a paradox. Although the rates of tooth loss are declining rapidly and seniors are keeping more of their natural teeth for longer, the number of people who need complete dentures in the near future will actually continue to increase.
The answer to the paradox is that there are actually two factors determining the number of people that need complete dentures (as opposed to partial dentures): the percentage of people that have lost all their teeth, and the size of the population. The percentage of people that need dentures at any given age continues to decline significantly, but the number of older people in our society continues to grow even more rapidly.
An analysis shows that although the rate of tooth loss continues to decline by about 10% a decade, the population over age 55 is growing by about 79%, which is a huge disparity, and causes the overall population in need of dentures to grow. It is expected to reach 37.9 million people by 2020.
These two competing forces mean there will be an increased demand for high end dentures. In the past, dentures were considered a normal part of growing old. You had dentures, and you weren’t the only one–all your friends did, too. But as fewer people are losing all their teeth, dentures will be regarded as more of an oddity, a sign of lower socioeconomic class, encompassing both poverty and a lack of refinement.
In this context, people will be more interested in dentures that don’t give themselves away. People who need dentures will pay more to conceal that fact, and will want dental implants and other techniques for ensuring that they aren’t labeled with the stigma of dentures.
An astute observer will note that the analysis we looked at was made in 2009, and in 2015 we’re rapidly approaching the projected date of 2020. Are there new predictions looking further into the future?
Yes, and they tell a different story about the future of dentures. New analysis shows that the rate of edentulism isn’t going to continue its slow decline, but will show a dramatic decline as generations born before the 1940s–those that didn’t have the benefit of oral health innovations like water fluoridation, regular toothbrushing, and regular dental care during childhood–pass away.
In this context, it seems that the number of people needing complete dentures in 2050 is likely to be significantly less than the number that needed them in 2010.
It’s important to remember that these projections are just educated guesses about the future of denture use. We don’t really know whether the trends we see today will continue in the future. But we do know that, no matter how many people in the future will need dentures, we will continue to offer the best quality dentures to meet their needs.
If you are in need of high end dentures in Philadelphia, please call (610) 272-0828 for an appointment with a denture dentist at Dental Excellence of Blue Bell.
Dental Excellence of Blue Bell