Dentures are a removable replacement for missing teeth. Dentures can help a person eat and speak much better as compared to missing teeth. It can also improve the appearance of your smile. Missing teeth also lead to sagging in the muscles of your face, making you appear older. Therefore, dentures also help in supporting your facial structure, making you look younger and also retaining the muscle tone in the face, neck and jaw.
Dentures are of two types- partial dentures and complete dentures. When all the teeth are missing, complete dentures are used, while partial dentures are used when some of the natural teeth remain.
Complete Dentures- Complete dentures are of two types- “conventional” or “immediate.” A conventional denture is made after the teeth have been removed and the gum tissue has begun to heal. This type of denture can be placed in the mouth about eight to twelve weeks after the removal of the teeth.
Immediate dentures, unlike conventional dentures, are made in advance and can be positioned just after the teeth are removed. Due to this, the wearer does not need to be without teeth during the healing period. However, bones and gums may shrink over time, especially during one’s healing period following the removal of the teeth. Therefore, immediate dentures have one disadvantage, compared with conventional dentures. They require more adjustments to fit properly during the healing process and they should generally only be considered a temporary solution until the conventional dentures are ready for use.
Partial Dentures- A removable partial denture or bridge consists of replacement teeth attached to a gum-colored plastic base. Sometimes, it is connected by a metal framework holding the denture in place in the mouth. Partial dentures can be used when one or more natural teeth remain in the lower or upper jaw. A fixed bridge can replace multiple teeth by placing crowns on the teeth on either side of the space and then attaching artificial teeth to them. Then the “bridge” can be then cemented into place. Not only does a partial denture fill in the spaces created by missing teeth, but it can also prevent other teeth from changing their positions. A precision partial denture is removable as well, and it comes with internal attachments instead of clasps that attach to the adjacent crowns.
You may require some time to prepare yourself emotionally for dentures. According to research, tooth loss can cause emotions like grief, denial, anger and even depression. Some people also feel a loss of self-confidence or feel self-conscious while eating, talking or smiling.
During your first visit to your dentist for evaluating the need for dentures, he/she will examine your gums and supporting bone structure. This will help him/her identify an appropriate treatment plan.
In some cases, oral surgery might be required to correct any bony ridges that can interfere with the stability of the denture. In a few other cases, the remaining teeth might need to be extracted before the dentures are placed. After your dentist decides that dentures are right for you, he/she will be making an impression of the gums. This will help him/her to identify every ridge and crevice for ensuring the best fit possible.
In cases where the teeth require removal, an immediate denture might be placed to enable complete healing of the extraction sites. They can also work as an esthetic replacement for the natural teeth. They can be modified as well, for changing ridge contours during healing until the final dentures are ready for use. To construct the immediate dentures, dentists will need to use a shade and mold chart for choosing replacement teeth that will most closely match your natural teeth. This helps to minimize any changes in appearance.
Placing the final Dentures
Once your gums are restored to a healthy condition and sufficient time has passed for healing, then it is time for the dentures to be made and placed in your mouth. The dentures will replace your teeth in the upper or/and lower jaws of the mouth.
Through the healing process of tooth loss, the gums will naturally shrink. This can normally take from six to twelve months.
Complete dentures and removable partial dentures should be removed at night before you go to sleep. This enables your gums to be bathed with saliva, which contains important properties for controlling the naturally occurring flora found in your oral cavity. Saliva helps to maintain a healthy mouth.
To keep your mouth healthy, it is important to look after your dentures. Clean your dentures in the morning as well as before going to bed. You might also want to rinse them in cold water after meals.
Remember to gently brush any parts of your mouth that are normally covered by the dentures using a soft toothbrush. This includes your gums as well as the roof of your mouth.
After cleaning, you can either keep the dentures in a cup of fresh cold water or a clean dry container. Rinse your dentures using fresh cold water before you put them on again.
There are few other things you can do for a healthy mouth which includes:
- Consuming nutritious food
- Avoiding any kind of sugary food or drink, especially between meals.
- Drinking plenty of tap water.
- Having dental check-ups regularly
- If you take any medication, ask your doctor, pharmacist, or oral health professional if it will be affecting your mouth.
- Quit or at least reduce smoking
Risks and complications
Sometimes it is possible that you experience issues with your dentures. See your oral health professional if you experience:
- dentures that are uncomfortable
- loss of teeth
- bleeding gums
- a gum abscess
- ulcers that last over two weeks
- bad breath
- soreness or cracks in the corner of your mouth