What Are Dentures?
Having teeth that are missing causes many problems. We need a full set of healthy teeth to be able to eat properly, talk clearly and keep our gums healthy. Dentures are customized appliances that we use to replace missing teeth, as well as the tissues around the tooth sockets. You are able to replace a few adjacent teeth or all teeth.
A denture is a custom-made oral fixture that looks like a set of natural teeth and gums. In the past, the teeth in dentures were made from plastic or porcelain. Artificial teeth in dentures are now most commonly made of durable, lifelike resin. The “gums” that support artificial teeth and hold the denture in place may be a layer of flexible polymer that lies over the natural ridge.
Candidates for Dentures
Most people who have experienced significant tooth loss or are living with failing teeth are good candidates for dentures. We conduct a thorough examination of the teeth and gums and also observe structures beneath the gums using high-quality imaging. The information obtained during our consultation and examination enables us to confirm that the gums are in good health and that minimal, if any, bone deterioration has occurred as a result of disease or tooth loss.
More than asking if you are a good candidate for dentures, we ask if dentures are the right solution for your needs and long-term desires for your smile and oral health. Sometimes, a dental bridge or dental implant is an ideal option when only one or a few teeth are missing.
“Dr. Brown and his staff are professional, knowledgeable and friendly. Dr. Brown has seen me in emergency situations and his work is impeccable. I would recommend Dr. Brown to anyone looking for an exceptional dentist.” -Debra
Benefits of Dentures
Dentures, whether full or partial, offer significant value. For the jaw to be able to close correctly, every arch must be filled with teeth. Specifically, one right next to the other. Additional benefits of denture treatment include:
- Ability to bite and chew a variety of foods.
- Preserve or restore the underlying structure for optimal facial contouring.
- Improve confidence from correcting gaps in the mouth or visibly diseased teeth.
- Preservation of any remaining natural teeth through the disbursement of bite force.
Types of Dentures
At Implant Dentistry of Florida, we two types of dentures, depending on the needs of the patient. The more teeth needing replacement, the likelier the patient needs full dentures. The dentist wants to give as natural of a look as possible.
- Full Dentures
- Partial Dentures
Dentures are great options for men and women who are missing several teeth or more. Most people can imagine a full denture; that set of artificial teeth that have a line of gum tissue to make them look completely natural. Full dentures may be affixed by are usually removable. The contouring of the bottom side of the complete denture is what keeps it in place as it sits over the gums.
A partial denture looks similar to a full denture because it has the same structure of “teeth and gums.” However, there are fewer teeth in a partial. This fixture may have as few as one tooth, though in this instance a dental bridge may be a more suitable treatment option because the artificial tooth will have better stabilization from surrounding teeth. A partial denture is a removable structure with an acrylic base that may cover small metal clasps that secure the artificial tooth or teeth to neighboring teeth.
Each person’s denture process may be slightly unique based on their needs. Dr. Brown will go through the steps with you during the consultation. Generally, these steps to receiving a new denture include:
- Extraction of unhealthy teeth, if it is necessary.
- Impressions. This may occur once the gums have healed after teeth have been extracted. Impressions provide us with an accurate mold of the mouth, a model from which new dentures can be customized to fit over the arch.
- Denture selection. During this phase, of care, you work with your dentist to select the shade, size, and shape of your new teeth to perfectly complement your facial contours, complexion, and personality.
- Fitting. A fitting is scheduled several weeks after we have sent the order for dentures to the dental lab. During this visit, we insert the fixture and carefully observe how it looks, feels, and fits. Adjustments are made as needed to achieve adherence that is comfortable and supportive of functional speech and chewing.
What to Expect after Getting Dentures
Getting new dentures can be an exciting prospect. Once your final dentures are made and inserted over your gums, it is essential to know that they are likely to feel unnatural at first.
New dentures may create several sensations. This is because the muscles in the cheeks, lips, and tongue have been accustomed to natural teeth and then, in some cases, to having no teeth for a short time. Initially, the new structure in the mouth may lead to a full sensation, like there isn’t enough room in the mouth for all these teeth.
The gums may also feel slightly irritated or sore. In response to additional structure, the saliva glands may become overactive for a few days, and the gag reflex may also be stimulated at first. Continued wear is a critical aspect of overcoming these side effects of new dentures.
How Long Do Dentures Last?
High-quality dentures that are fit properly typically last five to eight years, although this depends on how well you care for your dentures and gums. You can maximize the lifetime of your dentures by having them adjusted as needed and following best practices for dentures care and oral hygiene.
Dentures Care and Maintenance
Caring for your dentures involves steps that you follow throughout the day, as well as regular cleaning.
- After you eat, remove your dentures and rinse them with water.
- Full and partial dentures are made from thin plastic, so be careful when handling your dentures.
- Each time that you remove your dentures, brush your teeth and use gauze to clean the soft tissues. You should do this at least once each day, but preferably twice per day.
- Use a soft toothbrush to clean your dentures with a non-abrasive cleaner specifically for dentures. Be sure to spend extra time cleaning the ridges where denture adhesive and food particles may hide.
- Soaking your dentures overnight helps keep them moist. If your dentures dry out, they may lose shape. You can use regular water or a special solution that is made for soaking dentures.
- After you clean or soak your dentures, rinse them before you put them in your mouth.
- Routine dental examinations and fittings help prevent problems with your oral hygiene and dentures
Alternatives to Dentures
Denture treatment may not meet every patient’s needs. Alternatives include a dental bridge for partial tooth replacement and dental implants for single or multiple tooth replacement.