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What are dentures?
Dentures are dental prosthetics that we use to replace missing teeth. Some people call them “plates” or “false teeth”. Dentists have replaced missing teeth with these removable appliances for hundreds of years. Officially, the word denture can describe both cemented and removable tooth replacements for one or all of the teeth. For our purposes here, we will describe only the removable prosthetics used to replace all of the teeth.
What are the Different Types of Dentures?
We typically divide dentures into a few different categories. They are all removable, and they all contain pink gum material as well as the teeth.
- Traditional Full Dentures – Traditional dentures include a large pink acrylic base that contains the plastic teeth. They rest on the gum tissues inside the mouth and rely on both a suction effect and muscle training to stay in the mouth.
- Immediate Dentures – Immediate dentures are a type of traditional dentures that are ready for placement before the dentist extracts the teeth. That means the dentist extracts the teeth and immediately places the denture in the mouth. Most people prefer this treatment because it does not require you to go through any period without teeth.
- Implant-Supported Dentures – Implant-supported dentures connect with dental implants in the jawbone, creating a secure attachment between the denture and the implant. The connection with the implants eliminates the possibility of the denture falling out. Implant-supported dentures do need to be removed nightly for cleaning.
What does the Denture Process Involve?
In order to make a denture, your dentist works closely with a dental lab technician. We begin with detailed replicas of your gums (and teeth if we are planning an immediate denture). We work with the patient to select the size, shape, position and color of the teeth. The denture process includes several visits in our office for molds, measurements and try-ins.
When the final denture is ready, you return for a delivery appointment, which includes bite adjustments and fit adjustments as needed.
What Should I Expect After Receiving Dentures?
If you have never worn dentures before, you can expect a significant adjustment period. It takes time to develop the muscle control necessary to eat, drink, speak, and laugh with the new prosthetics in place in your mouth. You will begin with soft foods only, and over time, you will be able to return to eating a relatively normal diet.
It is common for the dentures to create sore spots on the gums due to friction. You should expect to return for adjustments several times within the first few weeks of wearing your new dentures.
Once I Have Dentures, Do I Still Have to Go to the Dentist?
We still recommend yearly visits for evaluation of the dentures, professional cleaning of the dentures, and most importantly, an oral cancer screening.
It is common for denture fit to deteriorate over time due to changes in the gums and underlying jawbones. We can improve the fit of a denture with adjustments and relining the interior surface. Cleaning the dentures in a professional solution reduces the risk of fungal infections like thrush and keeps the denture teeth from looking yellow or dingy.
Oral cancer screenings are for every person, with or without teeth. Early detection is the key to beating oral cancer, so don’t miss a yearly visit with your dentist!