What are dentures?
A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth and surrounding tissues. They can be full (replacing all the teeth on either the upper or lower jaw) or partial. When only some teeth are damaged, partial dentures will do just fine in restoring their appearance. When all of the teeth are missing or removed, a complete denture is the obvious choice.
Full or partial dentures from Dr. Smith can give you back your smile and your confidence.
Why choose dentures?
- Improve the ability to chew and bite properly.
- Allow the patient to again eat healthy hard foods such as nuts and fruit.
- Improve the wearer’s self-confidence and self-image.
- End the slurred consonant sounds created by missing teeth.
- Improve the wearer’s facial structure.
- Keep remaining teeth from moving (partial dentures).
What’s the difference between full and partial dentures?
Full dentures replace the entire span of teeth. Often if poor hygiene and gum disease have run their course, a person missing most of his or her teeth has to have the remaining teeth extracted due to decay within those teeth. When all of the teeth in the mouth have been removed, the gum tissues will be given enough time to heal, which may take eight to 12 months. The patient can choose between “conventional” or “immediate” dentures. Unlike conventional dentures, immediate ones have an advanced design and can be placed in the mouth even during the healing period. Full dentures are held in place through pressure provided by the tongue and cheeks, and suction created onto the gums. Some people use adhesive to add stability, but Dr. Smith believes they shouldn’t require adhesive.
Partial dentures can be fixed or removable. They consist of replacement teeth attached to a pink, gum-colored plastic base. In a removable partial, they are connected to metal framework that holds them in place, but also allows it to be removed. When fixed, the partial denture is anchored permanently to crowns on the adjacent natural teeth. This treatment is truly beneficial not only on the aesthetic side, but also since it prevents remaining teeth from shifting out of their normal positions, giving an undesirable appearance.
How are dentures made?
The entire process usually takes from two to three months. In many cases, the first step in the process is to remove badly decayed teeth. This is done so you’re able to chew while your gums heal, Dr. Smith makes an immediate denture.
After your gums have healed, this is the process Dr. Smith follows:
- Your jaws are measured for the relationship between the upper and lower jaw and space between. A series of impressions are taken.
- From those impressions, we make what you could think of as “demo dentures” out of wax or plastic. These are made in the exact shape and position of your conventional dentures but are used to check color, shape, thickness, fit, and function.
- Once Dr. Smith and you agree that you like the fit and structure, final impressions are made. These are sent to the dental lab for fabrication.
- When the dentures are finished we test them for fit and make further adjustments. From there, we will probably make a few more minute adjustments as you get used to wearing them.
Getting used to wearing dentures
New dentures do take getting used to. At first, they will feel loose, possibly feeling as if they could fall out. But your muscles in the cheeks and tongue soon adjust, as do your gums. Sometimes your gums can become irritated as they adjust.
Eating and speaking will take some practice. In the beginning, you’ll need to eat soft foods cut into small pieces. As you get the hang of eating, you can return to a normal diet, but you should avoid extremely sticky and hard foods. Your speaking will also be an adjustment; the best way to practice is to simply read aloud.
These are all issues with full, not partials. There is a little adjustment needed with partials, although avoiding sticky foods is a must.
How long do dentures last?
They usually last from five to seven years. At some point, they need to be relined, rebased, or remade. This is because of your underlying gum tissues and jawbone change over time. Dr. Smith will have the base refit, or a new base may be created using the existing false teeth.
The lifespan is highly variable depending on location in the mouth and care of the appliance.
Caring for your dentures
Dentures are not meant to be worn 24 hours a day. Removing them allows your gum tissues to rest and allows normal stimulation and cleansing by the tongue and your saliva.
You brush them, but not with toothpaste, as it is too abrasive and can create microscopic scratches that allow food and plaque to build up. Brushing removes stains and any food or plaque build-up. When brushing is complete, they need to stay moist so they need to be put in a cleanser soaking solution or in water.
Schedule a consultation
If you are missing teeth and would like to explore dentures as a treatment, contact our Beaumont, TX office today! Call (409) 895-0089 to schedule a consultation.