How do dentures work?
Dentures are replacements for missing teeth that can be taken out and put back into your mouth. While dentures take some getting used to, and will never feel exactly the same as one’s natural teeth, today’s dentures are natural looking and more comfortable than ever. There are two main types of dentures: full and partial. Your dentist will help you choose the type of denture that is best for you, based on whether some or all of your teeth are going to be replaced and the cost involved.
Dentures are custom-made by a Dental Laboratory from impressions taken of your mouth. Your dentist will determine which type of denture described below is best for you:
- Conventional Full Denture – this is a full upper and lower set of teeth which is placed in your mouth after any remaining teeth are removed and tissues have healed. 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.
- Immediate Full Denture – these are a full denture which is inserted immediately after the remaining teeth are removed. While immediate dentures offer the benefit of never having to be without your teeth, they must be relined several months after being inserted because the bone supporting the teeth reshapes as it heals, causing the denture to become loose.
- Traditional Partial Denture – a partial denture rests on a metal framework that clips on to your natural teeth. Sometimes crowns are placed on some of your natural teeth and serve as anchors for the denture. For a cheaper option acrylic (plastic) may be used as the framework, but it is weaker, more bulky and more difficult to keep clean.
- Overdentures and hybrid Dentures – these may be full or partial and can be permanently attached or removable depending on what is suitable for your situation. Your dentist can advise you of the best solution for your mouth.
How Long Before I Get Used to My Dentures? New dentures may feel awkward or uncomfortable for the first few weeks or even months. If you experience irritation, see your dentist.
How Long do Dentures Last? Over a period of time, your denture will need to be relined, remade, or rebased due to normal wear or changes in your mouth over time. These changes cause your dentures to loosen, making chewing difficult and irritating your gums. It is important to see your dentist annually to check whether adjustments are required.
Caring for 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.
- Brushing your dentures daily with liquid hand soap will 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.
- Consult your dentist immediately if your dentures break, chip, crack or become loose.
Are dental implants right for me?
Dental implants can be an option for oral rehabilitation whether you are missing one tooth or many. Implants are a reliable alternative to dentures and offer excellent aesthetics and function. A dental implant is the closest thing to a natural tooth your dentist can give you. They feel much more natural and secure than traditional removable dentures. If several adjacent teeth are missing, a fixed bridge may be attached to dental implants as an alternative to a removable partial denture.
A dental implant can be thought of as an artificial tooth root that is submerged into the jawbone. It is fabricated from a very strong, biocompatible material and placed into the bone of the gum in a simple procedure that is generally only about as complicated as a tooth extraction. This material is titanium, and has been used for years to stabilise broken bones in the form of plates and pins. After an initial healing period, the implant is connected to a small metal post that supports an artificial tooth or set of teeth. The implant will eventually bond to the bone it is placed in, a process known as ‘osseointegration.’ This makes the implant very strong.