Dentures are basically false teeth that are used to replace missing natural teeth. When natural teeth are lost, facial muscles sag and make a person look older. Not only that, but it also causes problems in eating and speaking, things that are often taken granted before you lose your natural teeth.
Here is everything you need to know about dentures and their types, the procedure used to create them, maintenance and care, and the costs involved.
Types of Dentures
There are two types of dentures, complete and partial. Complete dentures are used to replace all natural teeth in either the upper or lower jaw. Partial dentures, on the other hand, are used to replace only some missing teeth.
A complete denture is fitted if all your upper or lower teeth need to be removed. There are two types of complete dentures: “conventional” or “immediate”.
Conventional Dentures are fitted a few weeks after your teeth are removed. Using conventional dentures, you give time to your gums to heal and change their shape before measurements for your dentures are taken. This ensures your dentures fit snugly in your mouth and wouldn’t need to be adjusted later.
Immediate Dentures are made in advance and are fitted immediately after your teeth are removed, which means you won’t be without teeth. However, your gums and tissues start altering their shape after extraction and during the healing process and so, the dentures will need to be adjusted several times to fit the new shape and size. Hence, immediate dentures can be thought of as a temporary solution.
Partial dentures are used to fill in the gaps left by one or few missing teeth. A partial denture consists of a base plate made of plastic, nylon or metal with one or few false teeth attached to it. The denture gets attached to your natural teeth using metal clasps. The base plate can also be gum or tooth colored to give a natural appearance.
An alternative to partial denture is a fixed bridge. Crowns are put on the teeth either side of the gap and a false tooth is used to bridge the gap. Bridges are more expensive but are more comfortable and feel more natural than dentures.
How do you get your dentures made?
To get your dentures made, you should either visit a dentist or a clinical dental technician. A dentist takes your measurements and gum impressions, examines your mouth and orders your dentures from a dental technician. A dental technician, on the other hand, provides you with a full set of dentures without you having to see a dentist.
A trial denture is first created from the impressions taken of your mouth. Your dentist or the technician gives you the trial denture to assess the fit, comfort and appearance before the final denture is created.
Taking care of your dentures
Your dentures might feel strange in the beginning and will almost never feel the same as natural teeth. However, it takes some getting used to time before you’ll feel comfortable in them.
Initially, you might be required to keep them on at all times. You should ask your dentist whether you should take them off when sleeping or keep them on.
When taking off your dentures, make sure you keep them moist to prevent them from drying out and altering shape. You should keep them in a bowl filled with water or in an overnight denture cleaning solution.
To clean them, you should brush them with a toothpaste twice a day. Soak them in a fizzy solution of denture cleaning tablets and then brush them again.
Even with dentures on, dental hygiene can’t be ignored. You should brush your tongue, remaining teeth and gums every morning to prevent oral problems.
Eating with dentures
When you first get your dentures fixed, you’ll need to eat soft foods and chew slowly with both sides of the mouth. You should avoid eating sticky food or gums or other hard food that can damage your dentures.
You should add back other items gradually until you’re back to your old diet.
Using denture adhesives
If your dentures don’t fit comfortably, you may consider using an adhesive to retain them. For example, if your jawbone has shrunk, the dentures are likely not going to fit. In that case, your dentist can advise you on using adhesives.
Problems with dentures
Keep visiting your dentist for regular checkups to make sure there are no problems with your dentures. Since your jawbone and gums will eventually shrink, your dentures will come loose. You need to be careful and note any problems you face with them. Loose and worn out dentures need to be replaced otherwise they cause great discomfort, infection and sores in the mouth.
Dentures can improve your smile and appearance, aid in speech and talking and also prevent oral problems that are caused by gaps left by missing teeth. With proper care and maintenance, these can last a long time.