Some people believe that their dental problems will be over if they simply have their teeth removed and replaced with dentures. Instead, as most denture wearers will tell you, getting dentures can mark the beginning of many new problems.

* As you learn to chew food with your dentures, you will likely experience discomfort.

* An upper denture also covers most of the taste buds on the roof of your mouth, making it much harder to taste and enjoy your food.

* The tissues and bone in the mouth were not made to have plastic continually rubbing against them, so sore spots in your mouth will be a problem.

* If you have an active gag reflex, it might be impossible for you to wear an upper denture.

When you wear a denture, the bone in your jaw will recede over time, causing the denture to get loose and floppy. As a result, a denture will have to be remade every few years to keep it fitting properly. This is particularly true for your lower jaw. The base for the denture is smaller to begin with, and the bone is much less stable. When you have your teeth removed, the ridge of bone on your lower jaw eventually becomes very flat, leaving practically nothing to hold the denture in place.

There are nerves passing through the jaw bone that can end up on the surface as the bone recedes. The denture puts pressure on the exposed nerves when you bite down, causing severe pain. Some long-term denture wearers suffer greatly from this pain. Their jaw hurts and goes numb every time they try to chew -- all of this in a person's later years when eating is critical to continued good health and quality of life.

Bone recession can also affect your appearance. When the bone under a denture recedes, your nose gets closer to your chin, and your lips collapse. This causes more wrinkles, makes you look older, and gives you less lip support.

When you add up all of the costs -- the cost of removing the teeth, of making the denture, of relining it in a few months, and of remaking the denture periodically (which can be as often as every three years) -- a denture often ends up being very expensive.

If you choose treatment to keep your natural teeth, you'll look better, feel better, enjoy your food more, and have more confidence.