Dentures are a tooth replacement option for patients who are missing all or many of their teeth. Full dentures are used to replace all of the teeth in the upper or lower jaw, and partial dentures are used when the patient still has some of their natural teeth. Conventional dentures fit directly over the gums. Another option is implant-supported dentures, which attach to several metal posts that have been implanted in your jaw bone. Both types of dentures are removed and cleaned each night, and then placed back into your mouth the following morning.
Although it can take patients a while to get used to their dentures, they are a safe and affordable means of replacing multiple missing teeth. Dentures allow patients to eat more comfortably and speak more easily, and they also help improve your appearance.
Affordable Implants and Dentures
If you have recently had multiple teeth removed due to advanced decay or dental abscesses, your dentist may recommend dentures as a tooth replacement option. In most cases, your dentist will do all that they can in order to keep your natural teeth strong and viable, but they can only do so much. Teeth that have large cavities or are causing you pain may need to be removed so that they do not further compromise the health of your other teeth.
Having your missing teeth replaced by dentures offers several benefits.
- When you lose all of your teeth, your jaw area begins to look sunken in, which affects your appearance. Dentures help fill out your face, retaining your normal appearance.
- Dentures make it possible to eat the foods you love, which may be difficult to chew if you are missing many or all of your teeth.
- Dentures allow you to speak more clearly, providing a place for you to rest your tongue when making certain sounds.
- Dentures improve your self-confidence. You will feel more comfortable speaking and smiling in public and in photos when you have dentures.
- If you opt for conventional dentures, you can avoid surgical procedures, as would be needed if you were to opt for dental implants as a tooth-replacement option.
Although most denture patients are older adults, there are cases in which younger adults need to have their teeth replaced with dentures. If you lose all or many of your teeth in an accident, your dentist may recommend dentures are a tooth replacement option. Dentures are also used for patients who are born without some or all of their adult teeth. (These congenital conditions are known as hypodontia and anodontia.)
Conventional dentures are a viable tooth replacement option for those who cannot undergo dental implant surgery due to poor healing, diabetes, due to cost constraints or an autoimmune condition. They are also used for patients whose jaw bone structure is not strong or substantial enough to support implants.
Types of Dentures
Dentures are classified by the number of teeth they replace and by the way they are held into the mouth.
Full dentures replace all of the teeth in the upper or lower arch. Some patients only wear a lower a lower denture or upper denture, whereas other patients wear both. Generally, your dentist will wait until after you’ve healed from having your teeth extracted before designing a denture for you to wear. However, there is a type of denture called an immediate denture that can be placed in your jaw immediately after your remaining teeth have been extracted. Once you have healed, your dentist may have to remake or adjust the fit of the denture.
Partial dentures replace just some of the teeth. For example, if you are missing all of your molars but still have your incisors, your dentist may design a partial denture with wires that fit over your front teeth, and false teeth that sit in where your molars once were. Every partial denture is different, and if you lose additional teeth after having your partial denture made, your dentist can often alter the denture to add new false teeth as needed.
Conventional dentures sit right over your jaw bone. You may need to use glue or denture cement to hold them in place and prevent them from moving as you speak or chew.Conventional dentures sit right over your jaw bone. You may need to use glue or denture cement to hold them in place and prevent them from moving as you speak or chew.
Implant-supported dentures also known as mini-implants anchor onto four or more titanium screws that your dentist inserts into your jaw bone during a surgical procedure. This type of denture has several advantages. It does not move as you talk and chew, and you do not need to use glue or cement to hold it in place. Implant-supported dentures often look and feel more natural on the mouth than conventional dentures. However, they do require a surgical procedure, which not all patients are comfortable with, and they are more costly than conventional dentures, too.
Conventional Dentures Process
Dentures are usually made by a prosthodontist, who is a dentist who specializes in denture making and fitting. If you choose to have full or partial conventional dentures made for your mouth, your dentist will start by making an impression of your jaw and taking careful measurements of your mouth. He or she will then create model dentures for you to try on. The fit and comfort of these dentures is assessed, and then you and your dentist decide on a final model for the dentures. You’ll return after a few weeks to pick up your dentures and have them adjusted.
Implant-Supported Dentures Process
The process of having implant-supported dentures or mini-implants applied is a bit more extensive. Your prosthodontist or dental surgeon will x-ray your jaw to ensure your bone structure is strong enough to support the implants. Then, you will undergo a procedure in which four or more screws are implanted into your jaw bone. You’ll then be allowed to heal for three to six months. During this time, your jaw bone integrates with the implants, creating a stable platform for your dentures. During this time, you may wear a temporary denture to cover the surgical sites and provide you with a chewing surface. When you are sufficiently healed, your dentist will design a specialized denture which will snap onto the screws that protrude from your jaw.
How to Get Used to Dentures
It takes patients anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to feel completely comfortable wearing their dentures. In the first few weeks with your dentures, you will want to stick to soft foods so you can get used to chewing with the dentures in place. It’s normal to experience a little soreness or tightness in your jaw or cheeks as your muscles get used to chewing with the dentures. You may have difficulty making certain sounds at first, but with practice, you should soon be able to speak normally and clearly with your dentures in place.
With proper care, your dentures will last for many years, though you should return to your prosthodontist at least once a year to have their fit evaluated and adjusted. Your mouth may change shape gradually over the years, causing your dentures to feel loose or insecure if you do not have them refitted. Follow these tips to care for your dentures properly:
- Remove your dentures every night, and clean them by brushing them with a toothbrush and toothpaste.
- Always store your dentures in a denture cleaning solution. Place them directly into this solution after cleaning and rinsing; do not allow them to dry out.
- Brush your gums and any remaining teeth each morning before you put your dentures in place. This helps prevent gum disease and also stimulates circulation to your gums, which helps prevent irritation from your dentures.
- If your dentures begin rubbing or feel uncomfortable, schedule an appointment with your dentist. Never try to reshape or refit your dentures yourself. They are quite delicate, and you could break them accidentally.