Though every effort is made to maintain the health of one’s natural teeth, there are yet some instances where teeth are lost or must be removed due to extensive decay or injury. Where this is the case, some sort of replacement teeth are absolutely essentially in order to restore proper structure and function in the oral cavity. Complete and partial dentures are one such tooth replacement option.
Unlike dental implants, dentures are usually removable replacement teeth. That said, there are actually two main types of dentures:
These are used when all of the individual’s natural teeth are missing. The individual has two options when it comes to complete dentures: immediate dentures that are made in advance of final tooth removal and that are then placed in the mouth as soon as any remaining teeth are removed, and conventional dentures that are made only after all remaining teeth have been removed and the gum tissue has healed–typically eight to twelve weeks later. The benefit of immediate dentures is obviously the fact that the individual has replacement teeth immediately after the removal of their remaining natural teeth. The drawback of immediate dentures is that they will not work well for a significant period of time without constant adjustments, since bones and gums tend to shrink after tooth removal. However, where immediate dentures are simply used as a “filler” replacement until gums are fully healed and conventional dentures can be made and used, they can be useful.
These are used when only some of the individual’s natural teeth are missing, and are sometimes referred to as dental bridges. Replacement teeth are affixed to a gum-colored plastic base which can either be permanently attached to crowns on the natural teeth adjacent to the gap, in which case the dentures are not removable, or they can be temporarily attached to the crowns, in which case they are removable. While partial dentures serve to replace only a few teeth, they are yet essential to oral health because they prevent natural teeth from changing position in order to fill the gap.
What to Expect
In order to create dentures that fit and work well for you, your dentist will need to:
- Take impressions of your jaw and any remaining teeth.
- Measure your jaws to see how they relate to one another and to determine how much space there is between them.
- Create denture models for you to try before the final denture is cast–this is the point at which your dentist will also determine what color your dentures should be in order to look as natural as possible.
- Cast the final denture (in many cases they will send the impressions, measurements and information to a dental laboratory to cast the final dentures).
- Help you fit the dentures into your mouth and make any necessary final adjustments.
It is not unusual for your dentures to feel odd and even loose for a short time after placement–especially since the muscles of your cheeks and your tongue have to learn how to interact with them and hold them in place. You may even experience a mild amount of irritation and soreness. That said, you should not experience extreme discomfort or pain–if you do, it is important you contact your dentist immediately so they can inspect the dentures for possible problems and make any necessary adjustments.
It will take some time and practice to learn how to eat with your new dentures, and it is recommended that you begin with small pieces of soft foods that you chew slowly. You should avoid any foods that are particularly hard or sticky, and be careful when eating hot foods. Likewise, it may take time and practice to learn how to speak with your new dentures, but with patience this too should resolve. Any clicking sounds that occur while you’re talking need to be reported to your dentist, as it may indicate that your dentures need to be adjusted or tightened.
Your dentist will instruct you in proper denture care, including how to clean them each night and inspect them before placing them in your mouth each morning. If ever you have any questions about your dentures, contact Today’s Dental.