If you are considering dentures, you are not alone. According to a variety of sources, over 51% of Americans over the age of 50 are wearing dentures of some kind. Below you can learn all about dentures and some different options available. Please know that we are here to help you through this process. So when you are ready, please give our office a call for your free no obligation consultation to get you smiling again!
What are Dentures?
Dentures replace missing teeth and gum tissue. They can be taken out and put back into the mouth. While dentures take some getting used to, and will never feel exactly the same as one’s natural teeth, today’s dentures are more natural looking and comfortable than ever. There are two main types of dentures: full and partial. We will help you choose the type of denture that’s best satisfies your dental and budget concerns.
How do Dentures Work?
With full dentures, a flesh-colored acrylic base fits over your gums. The base of the upper denture covers the palate (the roof of your mouth), while that of the lower denture is shaped like a horseshoe to accommodate your tongue.
Dentures are custom-made in a dental laboratory from impressions taken of your mouth. We will determine which of the three types of dentures described below is best for you.
- Conventional Full Denture A conventional full denture is placed in your mouth after any remaining teeth are removed and tissues have healed. Healing may take several months, during which time you are without teeth.
- Immediate Full Denture An immediate full or partial denture is inserted immediately after teeth are removed. While these dentures offer the benefit of never having the appearance of being without teeth, they must be relined several months later. The reason being that the bone supporting the teeth reshapes as it heals, causing the denture to become loose.
- Partial Denture A partial denture rests on a metal framework that attaches to your natural teeth. Sometimes crowns are placed on some of your natural teeth and serve as anchors for the denture. Partial dentures offer a removable alternative to bridges.
How Long Before I Get Used to My Dentures?
New dentures may feel awkward or uncomfortable for the first few weeks or even months. Eating and speaking with dentures takes practice. A bulky or loose feeling is not uncommon, while the muscles of your cheeks and tongue learn to hold your dentures in place. Excessive saliva flow, a feeling that the tongue does not have adequate room and minor irritation or soreness are also not unusual.
How Long do Dentures Last?
Over a period of time, your denture will need to be relined, remade, or rebased due to normal wear. Rebasing means making a new base while keeping the existing denture teeth. Also, as you age, your mouth naturally changes. These changes cause your dentures to loosen, irritating your gums and making chewing difficult. At a minimum, you should have an annual denture check-up.
Here are tips for caring for your dentures:
- When handling your dentures, stand over a folded towel or basin of water. Dentures are delicate and may break if dropped.
- Don’t let your dentures dry out. Place them in a denture cleanser soaking solution or in plain water when you’re not wearing them. Never use hot water, which can cause them to warp.
- Brush your dentures daily to remove food deposits and plaque, and help prevent them from becoming stained. An ultrasonic cleaner may be used to care for your dentures, but it does not replace a thorough daily brushing.
- Brush your gums, tongue and palate every morning with a soft-bristled brush before you insert your dentures. This stimulates circulation in your tissues and helps remove plaque.
- See your dentist if your dentures break, chip, crack or become loose. Don’t be tempted to adjust them yourself — this can damage them beyond repair.
Are there options besides dentures?
Yes, other options we can provide you, if you’re not ready for dentures, include:
Dental bridges and/or implants – non-removable solutions for replacing one or more missing teeth.