What are Dentures?
A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth and surrounding tissues. Two types of dentures are available: complete dentures and partial dentures.
What are Complete Dentures?
Complete dentures can be either “conventional” or “immediate.” Made after the teeth have been removed and the gum tissue has begun to heal, a conventional denture is ready for placement in the mouth about eight to 12 weeks after the teeth have been removed.
Unlike conventional dentures, immediate dentures are made in advance and can be positioned as soon as the teeth are removed. As a result, the wearer does not have to be without teeth during the healing period. However, bones and gums shrink over time, especially during the healing period following tooth removal. Therefore a disadvantage of immediate dentures compared with conventional dentures is that they require more adjustments to fit properly during the healing process and generally should only be considered a temporary solution until conventional dentures can be made.
What are Partial Dentures?
A removable partial denture or bridge usually consists of replacement teeth attached to a pink or gum-colored plastic base, which is sometimes connected by metal framework that holds the denture in place in the mouth. Partial dentures are used when one or more natural teeth remain in the upper or lower jaw.
Not only does a partial denture fill in the spaces created by missing teeth, it prevents other teeth from changing position. A partial denture is removable and has internal attachments rather than clasps that attach to the adjacent crowns. This is a more natural-looking appliance.
Are there any other alternatives to Dentures?
Yes, dental implants can be used to support cemented bridges, eliminating the need for a denture. The cost is usually greater, but the implants and bridges more closely resemble the feel of real teeth. Dental implants are can be an alternative to dentures but not everyone is a candidate for implants. Dr. Chau will present different treatment options that best suit you.
What can I expect when doing Dentures?
The denture development process takes a few weeks and several appointments. Once your dentist determines what type of appliance is best for you, the general steps are to:
- Make a series of impressions of your jaw and take measurements of how your jaws relate to one another and how much space is between them.
- Create models, wax forms, and/or plastic patterns in the exact shape and position of the denture to be made. You will “try in” this model several times and the denture will be assessed for color, shape, and fit before the final denture is cast.
- Cast a final denture
- Adjustments will be made as necessary
What can I expect after I receive my Dentures?
New dentures may feel a little odd or loose for a few weeks until the muscles of the cheeks and tongue learn to keep them in palce and you get comfortable inserting and removing them. It is not unusual for minor irritation or soreness to occur and for saliva flow to increase, these problems will diminish as the mouth adjusts.
Dentures are made to closely resemble your natural teeth and gums and in some cases may even improve your smile and fill out your facial appearance.
Eating with new dentures will take a little practice and may be uncomfortable for some wearers for a few weeks. To get used to the new denture, start with soft foods cut into small pieces. Chew slowly using both sides of your mouth. As you get used to new dentures, add other foods until you return to a normal diet. Be cautious with hot or hard foods and sharp-edged bones or shells. And, avoid foods that are extremely sticky or hard. You should also avoid chewing gum while you wear the denture. Also, don’t use toothpicks while wearing dentures.
After getting dentures, you may have difficulty pronouncing certain words. If so, practice by saying the difficult words out loud. With practice and with time you will become accustomed to speaking properly with dentures.
When should I wear my Dentures?
Dr Chau will instruct you as to how long to wear dentures and when to remove them. During the first several days after receiving your denture, you may be asked to wear it all the time, including while you sleep. Although this may be temporarily uncomfortable, it is the quickest way to identify the areas on the denture that may need adjustment. Once adjustments are made, you should remove dentures before going to bed. This allows gum tissues to rest and allows normal stimulation and cleansing by the tongue and saliva. The denture can be put back in the mouth in the morning.
How should I care for my Dentures?
- Handle dentures with great care.
- Brush and rinse dentures daily, but not with toothpaste or toothbrush (use gauze or very soft brush)
- Clean with a denture cleaner.
- Take proper care of dentures when not wearing them.
Can I adjust or repair Dentures?
Never attempt to adjust or repair dentures yourself. Dentures that don’t fit properly can cause irritation and sores in the mouth or gums. Be sure to contact us if a denture breaks, cracks or chips. Oftentimes, the dentist may be able to adjust or repair denture on the same day. For more complicated repairs, your denture may have to be sent to a dental lab.