Full or partial tooth loss, if left untreated, doesn’t just affect a person’s self-image. It can also affect your health. With dentures you’ll be able to eat and speak naturally. There are two things most people often take for granted, until their natural teeth are prematurely lost. Your particular situation will determine if full dentures or partial dentures are right for you.
Full or partial dentures are made of a plastic resin that mimics the look of our natural gums. They are fitted over the remaining bone ridge (gums) that formerly held the teeth. Dentures are held in place primarily by the suctioning effect of the tight fit against the gums. That is why it is so important that they are fitted properly. The upper denture also gets extra support from the large surface area of the roof of the mouth (palate), which generally makes it extremely stable. The prosthetic teeth are designed to look and function just like your natural teeth.
At first, wearing dentures may require some getting used to in terms of talking and eating. Over time, the muscles, nerves and ligaments of the mouth learn to work in new ways, allowing these functions to occur normally. Dentures also help support the facial skeleton and the soft tissues of the lips and cheeks, which can help create a more youthful appearance. Without support from either your own natural teeth or a denture replacement, your facial muscles sag, making a person appear much older then they are.
When going through the denture process you will receive two types of dentures.
Immediate Dentures: Dentures which are placed immediately after tooth extraction as a temporary means of helping you transition to successful denture wearing. Because of the muscular readjustment required, as well as the natural shrinkage of gums during healing, these dentures won’t fit as well as the permanent dentures you will receive, once the healing is complete. They do, however, provide you with new teeth right away, and give you time to adjust.
Conventional Full Dentures: After your gums have completely healed, definitive dentures that conform to your mouth with near-perfect accuracy can be created. These are carefully crafted to look as much like your own natural teeth as possible, and are able to function properly in your mouth for a long time.
If you are missing teeth, a removable partial denture may be right for you. Partial dentures usually consist of replacement teeth attached to gum-colored plastic bases. Your new partial denture will be designed for you depending on your needs. A partial denture may have a metal framework and clasps that connect to your teeth, or they can have other connectors that are more natural looking. In some cases, a removable partial denture is made to attach to your natural teeth with devices called precision attachments. Precision attachments are generally more esthetic than clasps.
Like full dentures, partial dentures will take some getting used too. It may feel awkward for the first few weeks, but it should fit into place with relative ease. If you have difficulties consult with your dentist as an adjustment may be needed.
Properly caring For Your Full and Partial Dentures
Like natural teeth, dentures must be properly cared for. They are very delicate and may break if dropped even just a few inches. To ensure they last, always care for your dentures over a sink filled with water or a folded towel. When you are not wearing your dentures, be sure to store them in a safe place.
Daily brushing to remove food deposits and plaque, will help prevent your dentures from becoming permanently stained. Use a brush specifically made for dentures. This type of brush has bristles arranged to fit the shape of the metal frame work. A soft bristled toothbrush may also be used. You can use hand soap or mild dishwashing liquid to clean your dentures. Some denture wearers prefer an over the counter denture cleanser.
It is important to brush and clean between your natural teeth daily, to help prevent tooth decay and gum disease that may lead to further tooth loss. Pay special attention to the teeth that fit under the metal clasps of the partial dentures.
It is important not to let your dentures dry out, as this could cause loss of shape. When not wearing you dentures, place them in a denture cleansing soaking solution or in plain water. Never soak them in hot water as this can warp them.
Frequently Asked Questions
When should I replace my dentures?
Dentures will typically need to be replaced every five to ten years. It is normal for your mouth to change over time and denture teeth to wear down. Have them checked during a yearly dental visit.
How often should I visit the dentist now that I have dentures?
Even if you have lost all or some of your natural teeth, you should still visit your dentist once a year. The dentist will be able to evaluate the fit of your denture, evaluate denture care and hygiene, and check for issues that may arise, such as oral cancer.
What if my denture is causing soreness on my gums?
It is not unusual for a new denture to create sore spots on your gums. Simply call our practice to have your denture adjusted. Adjustments help eliminate sore spots and discomfort.