What are dentures?
- When a person is missing teeth, he or she may experience a variety of problems. The person may become less confident in their smile and have difficulty in speaking and in eating certain foods.
- Dentures are appliances that are custom-made to replace a person’s missing teeth and restore the appearance and oral functions that were lost.
- The denture can be either a Full Dentures or a Partial Dentures.
- A set of Full Dentures (Complete Dentures) is used when all the teeth of a person are missing and a set of Partial Dentures is used when only some of the teeth are missing.
What are the different types of dentures?
Full Dentures: Full Dentures (Complete Dentures) are made of a plastic base that is colored in order to replicate gum tissue and supports a full set of plastic or porcelain teeth. A set of traditional Full Dentures is held in the mouth by forming a seal with the gums. It can also be held in place by attaching to dental implants that are surgically placed in the bone of the jaws. This treatment is much more expensive than the one with traditional Complete Dentures.
Partial Dentures: Partial Dentures can either be made with a plastic base or a metal framework that supports the number of teeth that need to be replaced. It is held in the mouth by using clasps and rests that are carefully adapted around the natural teeth. Partial Dentures that use a metal framework is the traditional design due to the rigidity and strength of the metal. Plastic Partial Dentures have normally been used as emergency or temporary replacements of missing teeth, allowing the gums and bone to heal before a definitive restorative solution is obtained. Recently, however, various materials such as Valplast have been developed to provide durable and flexible alternatives in certain situations.
How are dentures made?
After a tooth is extracted or lost, the tooth socket starts to fill in with bone and the gum tissue heals and changes shape. This process takes a few months until the gums and bone reach a stable shape. After that time, a conventional set of Full Dentures is made; preferably about 8 to 12 weeks after the teeth were extracted or lost from the mouth.
The process starts by taking a series of impressions or molds of the oral tissues that will support the denture. Our dental lab will use these impressions to make models of the patient’s mouth. The dentist and laboratory technician will, then, slowly start building the dentures on these models and transferring them to the patient’s mouth at each step to ensure proper fit, to establish a proper bite, and to ensure that the appearance and aesthetics of the denture are as desired. The patient will generally need to be seen by the dentist once per week for about 4 to 5 weeks until the set of dentures is complete. The patient will, then, need to return occasionally during the first month after the set of dentures is delivered to have adjustments made.
A set of Immediate Dentures can often be made so that the patient has something to wear the same day the teeth are removed. This type of dentures is made before the teeth are extracted and is put in place the day the teeth are removed. Sometimes, the back teeth are taken out first and the front teeth are left in place until the day the set of dentures is delivered. This type of dentures doesn’t fit the bone and gum tissue as intimately as conventional dentures, so it requires more adjustments during the healing stage. Immediate Dentures are best used as a temporary appliance until a conventional denture can be made after all the gum and bone healing is complete.
Are there alternatives to dentures?
There are two other ways missing teeth can be replaced with — Bridges and Implants.
Bridges: A Bridge replaces missing teeth by placing crowns on the teeth next to the space and attaching a fake tooth to both of the crowns. Bridges are made from gold, porcelain fused to gold, all porcelain, or zirconium. Bridges can only replace about two to three missing teeth in a row, depending on the location. Since bridges are cemented in place, they are considered to be “Fixed, or Permanent, Dentures”.
Implants: An implant is a metal post that is inserted into the bone of the upper or lower jaw. This post is then used to replace a single tooth by attaching a crown to it, or to replace multiple teeth by attaching a bridge to multiple implants. Implants are the best option for tooth replacement and simulate natural teeth better than any of the other options.
Which Dental Procedures Will I Need?
The only way for you to determine exactly which procedures are necessary for you is to come in for a consultation. You can be sure that our dentists will take the time not just to examine you thoroughly, but also to listen to you tell them about your goals, your needs, and your fears. Together, we will work out a treatment plan that is unique; and right for you.
Will dentures affect the way a person looks, feels, eats, and speaks?
Dentures can restore, or even enhance a person’s appearance and be virtually undetectable. It takes some time to find the best way to insert and take out the dentures, and the gums will be a little sore in places at first. It is very important to return to the dentist often during the first few weeks to adjust the parts of the denture that are irritating the oral tissues.
Eating with the dentures in place requires some practice. It is best to start with soft foods, chewing food equally on both sides of the mouth, and slowly introducing more solid foods. Chewy or sticky foods should be avoided. Once the cheeks and tongue get used to the denture, they will begin to automatically help keep the dentures in place.
Speaking also requires practice but will become easier with repetition. With exaggerated movements such as yawning or laughing, the dentures may become dislodged at first. If it continues, the dentures may need to be adjusted or re-lined (re-fit). The dentures may cause an increased production of saliva at first, but it will reduce back to normal.
Are dentures worn throughout the day?
Dentures are generally worn during the day and taken out at night to give the oral tissues time to relax. During the first few days after receiving the dentures, however, it needs to remain in the mouth even when sleeping to best identify areas that need to be adjusted. This is especially important after receiving Immediate Dentures, for the gum tissues will swell after the teeth are extracted or lost and, then, may not permit the dentures to be re-inserted if taken out.
How does one take care of dentures?
Dentures must be handled with great care and placed in a container of water or denture cleaner when not being worn. They should never be placed in hot water, for they can be damaged or warped. They must be cleaned daily using a soft tooth brush with soap and water. The mouth should be rinsed daily without the dentures in place to clean off any plaque and reduce the risk of infections like Candidiasis.
There are a lot of different denture products that can be purchased at any drugstore to help with caring for and cleaning dentures.
Should I use Denture Adhesive?
Denture Adhesive is a paste or glue that helps the denture adhere to the supporting tissues instead of relying on suction or clasps. Sometimes the adhesive is called Denture Cream. A small amount of Denture Adhesive can be applied evenly to the clean surface of a denture to enhance stability and retention. It shouldn’t be used to compensate for a poor-fitting denture or as an alternative to visiting the dentist for regular checkups.
How much do dentures cost?
Denture prices vary widely depending on the materials used.
How long do dentures last?
If cared for properly, dentures should last a minimum of 5 years. Over time, the bone shrinks and causes the dentures to become loose. The rate at which that happens varies with each individual, but can be controlled by visiting a dentist regularly to ensure that the denture is fitting properly. An ill-fitting denture causes the bone to shrink more rapidly. To prolong the life of a denture, a dentist will often use a denture liner to refit the internal surface of the denture to the oral tissues.
Minor fractures in the teeth or acrylic base can usually be repaired by a dental lab in 1 to 2 days. Denture repair kits are even sold at most drugstores and online to fix minor cracks or replace loose teeth. Repairing the denture properly can be complicated, however, so if denture problems are noticed, it is best to contact a general dentist as soon as possible to arrange the denture repair.