A denture or a complete denture as it is often called, is an appliance that is inserted in the mouth, replaces natural teeth and provides support for the cheeks and lips.
Most are made of acrylic and can be fabricated two different ways.
The teeth are made of plastic, porcelain or a combination thereof. They can be fabricated to fit over endodonticly treated teeth and a complete denture can be attached to dental implants to allow for a more secure fit of the appliance.
Over a normal course of time will wear and need to be replaced or relined in order to keep the jaw alignment normal. The alignment will slowly change as the bone and gum ridges recede or shrink due to the extraction of the teeth. Regular dentist examinations are still important for the denture wearer so that the oral tissues can be checked for disease or change.
By ADA American Dentures Associations
Dentures are false teeth made to replace teeth you have lost. They can be complete or partial. Complete denture cover your entire upper or lower jaw. Partials replace one or a few teeth. Advances in dentistry have made many improvements in them. They are more natural looking and comfortable than they used to be. But they still may feel strange at first. In the beginning, your dentist may want to see you often to make sure the they fit. Over time, your mouth will change and they may need to be adjusted or replaced. Be sure to let your dentist handle these adjustments. Speaking and eating may feel different with them. Be careful when wearing them because they may make it harder for you to feel hot foods and liquids. Also, you may not notice things like bones in your mouth. – Source: National Institute on Aging
Complete dentures are called “conventional” or “immediate” according to when they are made and when they are inserted into the mouth.
Immediate dentures are inserted immediately after the removal of the remaining teeth. To make this possible, the dentist takes measurements and makes the models of the patient’s jaws during a preliminary visit.
An advantage of immediate denture is that the wearer does not have to be without teeth during the healing period. However, bones and gums can shrink over time, especially during the period of healing in the first six months after the removal of teeth. When gums shrink, immediate dentures may require rebasing or relining to fit properly. A conventional denture can then be made once the tissues have healed. Healing may take at least 6-8 weeks.
Types of Dentures: Complete or Partial
Complete dentures cover your entire jaw, either upper or lower. Some people call them “plates.” Complete dentures rest directly on the gum that covers the bone. On occasion, one or more natural teeth are kept when a denture is made. These teeth usually have root canal treatment and are shortened to fit under the denture. This type of denture is known as an overdenture.
Maintaining a few natural teeth and replacing the missing teeth with an overdenture has several advantages:
Lower dentures tend to be more difficult to keep in your mouth than upper dentures. Therefore, an overdenture can be particularly helpful for the lower jaw, but it is an option for almost anyone who has a few teeth remaining. However, the teeth that will be preserved must meet certain standards of health. Canines and premolars are the most common teeth selected because of their root length and position in the jaw.
Special Types of Partial Dentures
Getting Your Dentures
Conventional dentures are made and inserted after your teeth have been taken out and the gums have healed.
A conventional denture can be made and is fitted typically within four or more appointments over one to two months. The process starts with an appointment with your dentist for an exam and a discussion of what will work best for you. In later visits, your dentist will take impressions of your mouth and establish the bite (the way your teeth come together). You and your dentist will select the teeth for your denture. The size, shape and color of the teeth will depend on many factors, including reference points in your mouth, your skin tone and the shape of your skull, photographs, etc.
At your trial fitting, your teeth will be set up and tried in your mouth. You can see how the denture looks and feels in your mouth, and your dentist can make sure it fits and functions correctly and harmonizes with the rest of your face. This is your denture preview, or “try-in.” If this goes well, you will receive the completed denture at the next visit, along with instructions from your dentist on eating, speaking, denture care and oral hygiene. Finally, you will need to see your dentist for a series of follow-up visits during the next few weeks and months to check the fit and comfort of your denture.
If you are having a complete denture made and teeth need to be extracted, it is necessary to have a healing period of at least four weeks before a complete denture can be made. Your dentist may suggest that an interim or temporary denture called an immediate denture be made and inserted at the time of extraction. This will allow you to eat and speak without problems while the complete denture is made. As your mouth heals, the gums and bones will shrink and the immediate denture will be relined. This process adjusts the fit of the denture.
What is an overdenture?
A removable denture that fits over a small number of remaining natural teeth or implants. The natural teeth must be prepared to provide stability and support for the denture. Your dentist can determine if an overdenture would be suitable for you.What will dentures feel like?
New dentures may feel awkward for a few weeks until you become accustomed to them. The dentures may feel loose while the muscles of your cheek and tongue learn to keep them in place.
It is not unusual to experience minor irritation or soreness. You may find that saliva flow temporarily increases. As your mouth becomes accustomed to the dentures, these problems should diminish. One or more follow-up appointments with the dentist are generally needed after a denture is inserted. If any problem persists, particularly irritation or soreness, be sure to consult your dentist. Will dentures make me look different?
Dentures can be made to closely resemble your natural teeth so that little change in appearance will be noticeable. Dentures may even improve the look of your smile and help fill out the appearance of your face and profile.Will I be able to eat with my dentures?
Eating will take a little practice. Start with soft foods cut into small pieces. Chew slowly using both sides of your mouth at the same time to prevent the dentures from tipping. As you become accustomed to chewing, add other foods until you return to your normal diet.
Continue to chew food using both sides of the mouth at the same time. Be cautious with hot or hard foods and sharp-edged bones or shells.
Will dentures change how I speak?
Pronouncing certain words may require practice. Reading out loud and repeating troublesome words will help. If your dentures “click” while you’re talking, speak more slowly.
You may find that your dentures occasionally slip when you laugh, cough or smile. Reposition the dentures by gently biting down and swallowing. If a speaking problem persists, consult your dentist.
How long should I wear my dentures?
Your dentist will provide instructions about how long dentures should be kept in place. During the first few days, you may be advised to wear them most of the time, including while you sleep. After the initial adjustment period, you may be instructed to remove the dentures before going to bed.
This allows gum tissues to rest and promotes oral health. Generally, it is not desirable that the tissues be constantly covered by denture material.
Should I use a denture adhesive?
Denture adhesive can provide additional retention for well-fitting dentures. Denture adhesives are not the solution for old, ill-fitting dentures. A poorly fitting denture, which causes constant irritation over a long period, may contribute to the development of sores. These dentures may need a reline or need to be replaced. If your dentures begin to feel loose, or cause pronounced discomfort, consult with your dentist immediately.
How do I take care of my dentures?
Dentures are very delicate and may break if dropped even a few inches. Stand over a folded towel or a basin of water when handling dentures. When you are not wearing them, store your dentures away from children and pets.
Like natural teeth, dentures must be brushed daily to remove food deposits and plaque. Brushing helps prevent dentures from becoming permanently stained and helps your mouth stay healthy. It’s best to use a brush designed for cleaning dentures. A toothbrush with soft bristles can also be used. Avoid using hard-bristled brushes that can damage dentures.
Some denture wearers use hand soap or mild dishwashing liquid, which are both acceptable for cleaning dentures. Avoid using other powdered household cleansers, which may be too abrasive. Also, avoid using bleach, as this may whiten the pink portion of the denture.
Your dentist can recommend a denture cleanser. Look for denture cleansers with the ADA Seal of Acceptance. Products with the ADA Seal have been evaluated for safety and effectiveness.
The first step in cleaning dentures is to rinse away loose food particles thoroughly. Moisten the brush and apply denture cleanser. Brush every surface, scrubbing gently to avoid damage.
Dentures may lose their shape if they are allowed to dry out. When they are not worn, dentures should be placed in a denture cleanser soaking solution or in water. Your dentist can recommend the best method. Never place dentures in hot water, which could cause them to warp.
Ultrasonic cleaners are also used to care for dentures. However, using an ultrasonic cleaner does not replace a thorough daily brushing.
Can I make minor adjustments or repairs to my dentures?
You can seriously damage your dentures and harm your health by trying to adjust or repair your dentures. A denture that is not made to fit properly can cause irritation and sores.
See your dentist if your dentures break, crack, chip, or if one of the teeth becomes loose. A dentist can often make the necessary adjustments or repairs on the same day. A person who lacks the proper training will not be able to reconstruct the denture. This can cause greater damage to the denture and may cause problems in your mouth. Glue sold over-the-counter often contains harmful chemicals and should not be used on dentures.
Will my dentures need to be replaced?
Over time, they will need to be relined, rebased, or remade due to normal wear. To reline or rebase a denture, the dentist uses the existing denture teeth and refits the denture base or makes a new denture base. They may need to be replaced if they become loose and the teeth show signs of significant wear. They become loose because a mouth naturally changes with age. Bone and gum ridges can recede or shrink, causing jaws to align differently. Shrinking ridges can cause them to fit less securely. Loose dentures can cause health problems, including sores and infections. A loose denture also makes chewing more difficult and may change your facial features. It’s important to replace worn or poorly-fitting dentures before they cause problems.
Must I do anything special to care for my mouth?
Even with full dentures, you still need to take good care of your mouth. Every morning, brush your gums, tongue and palate with a soft-bristled brush before you put them in. This removes plaque and stimulates circulation in the mouth. Selecting a balanced diet for proper nutrition is also important for maintaining a healthy mouth.
How often should I schedule dental appointments?
Your dentist will advise you about how often to visit. Regular dental check-ups are important. The dentist will examine your mouth to see if they continue to fit properly. The dentist also examines your mouth for signs of oral diseases including cancer.
With regular professional care, a positive attitude and persistence, you can become one of the millions of people who wear their dentures with a smile.
for more information about how we at New Mesa Dental Center can help you with dentures, call us at (480) 396-9900, we will happy to talk with you.