Dentures 1


While it is certainly understandable that you want to try everything else first, there are simply some situations where natural teeth are beyond repair and need to be extracted. When this occurs with more than one or even just a few of your teeth, it is important to use a replacement tooth or replacement teeth. Not only can these replacement teeth help to keep the mouth comfortable and functioning properly, they help to maintain important structure of the mouth and face, preventing other teeth from moving to fill the gap or gaps.

There are several types of restorative dental procedures that have to do with replacing missing teeth, including bridges and implants. In the case that many or all of the teeth in the mouth are missing, one of the most common options are dentures.

About Dentures

Dentures are tooth replacements that fit over your gums and can be removed for daily cleaning. Partial dentures are used in cases where only some of the patient’s teeth are missing, whereas full dentures are used in cases where all of the patient’s teeth are missing. Either type of denture must be created with the help of a dentist and a dental laboratory through the following process:

  • With conventional full dentures, any tooth extractions that need to occur prior to your dentures being made will need to occur first, and your gum tissues will need time to heal. This can take several months, which means that you will likely need to adhere to a highly liquid diet as you will not have teeth with which to chew. Once your gums are healed and healthy, your dentist will make an impression of your gums using a soft, putty-like substance placed inside a tray that is put into your mouth. The dental impression is sent to a dental laboratory so the dentures can be made. When the dentures have arrived, your dentist will have you come in to the office to ensure that they fit properly, and so that they can make any minor adjustments necessary.
  • With immediate full dentures, the dentist will take measurements and make impressions of your jaw during one of your office visits prior to final tooth removal. The dental impression is sent to a dental laboratory so the dentures can be made. When the dentures have arrived, you will go to the dentist for final tooth removal and to have the dentures placed in your mouth for minor adjustments as necessary. This means that you will not have any “down period” without teeth, but it also means that as your bone heals and reshapes over the succeeding months, your dentures will become loose and need to be relined and refitted by the dentist.
  • With partial dentures, a metal framework with replacement teeth is placed over your natural teeth. A dental impression will be taken and sent to a dental laboratory so the partial dentures can be made. Depending on your specific situation, the dentist may choose to place crowns on healthy, natural teeth in order to further strengthen and stabilize the partial denture. When this occurs, the partial denture is essentially a removable alternative to a dental bridge.

Some individuals are uncertain about whether dentures exist merely for cosmetic purposes or whether they can actually be used to bite and chew food. Dentures are definitely for both cosmetic and functional purposes. The acrylic base fits over the gums, and while the base of upper dentures are designed to cover the palate, the base of bottom dentures are designed more as a horseshoe so as not to get in the way of the tongue. As one would imagine, since dentures are not the same as one’s natural teeth, they will not feel or function the same way as one’s natural teeth do. This means that it can take time for a patient to become accustomed to their dentures, and learn how best to use them. Since dentures are not permanently fixed in the mouth, the muscles of the cheek and the tongue have to learn how to work together in order to help hold the dentures in place. That said, they are certainly far more comfortable than having nothing in the mouth, especially when one needs to bite and chew food.

Dentures are designed to be used over a period of some time, and can last well if they are used as intended and properly cared for. However, it is not unusual to need denture repair of greater or lesser degree at some point. In order to minimize damage, you should always handle your dentures carefully over a soft surface (like a folded towel) so that they will not drop and break. It is also important to keep them from drying out when not in use by placing them in a specially-designed cleansing solution or room temperature water. Dentures should be cared for in the same way you care for your natural teeth, which means daily brushing and flossing are important. You can also brush your gums, tongue and palate before and after wearing your dentures to help protect your oral health. Regularly inspecting your dentures for signs of wear and damage and contacting your dentist if you notice anything can help to ensure that repairs are easy and minimal.

As is the case with other types of dental technology, treatments and procedures, dentures have come a long way and are far more comfortable today than ever before. Consult with your dentist to find out if they are the right solution for you.


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