What is a Denture?
A Denture is a removable appliance designed as a replacement for missing teeth and the tissues connected to those teeth. Dentures are made of acrylic, plastic, sometimes porcelain and metal materials. A Denture closely resembles natural gum tissue and teeth.
What types of Dentures are there?
Complete Dentures are for people who have no natural teeth left or are intending on having all their teeth removed due to ongoing Dental problems and/or Periodontal Disease. Above is a picture of a complete upper and lower Denture.
A Partial Denture is for people who still have some of their natural teeth and intend on keeping them. The Partial Denture fits between the natural teeth to replace the ones that are missing. To the left is a picture of a Partial Denture where the back teeth are missing and the front teeth are present. Partial Dentures do not harm remaining natural teeth. A Partial denture may prevent your natural teeth from shifting or drifting into the space left by the loss of a natural tooth. In fact, a partial denture may help maintain the position of your natural teeth by providing them with additional support.
Immediate Dentures are inserted immediately after the removal of teeth. To make this possible, the Dentist takes measurements and makes the models of the patient’s jaws while natural teeth are still in position, during a preliminary visit prior to extraction.
An advantage of immediate dentures is that the wearer does not have to be without teeth during the healing period. However, bones and gums can shrink over time, especially during the period of healing in the first six months after the removal of teeth. When gums shrink, immediate dentures may require rebasing or relining to fit properly. A conventional denture can then be made once the tissues have healed. Healing of the soft tissue may take up to 8 weeks. Bone can take many months to heal completely.
How is a Denture different from a bridge or crown?
A Denture replaces many or all the teeth in the mouth, a Bridge can replace one or more teeth but uses the adjacent teeth to support it, meaning that if your adjacent teeth are mobile a bridge would not be suitable for you. A Crown requires part of or the entire tooth to be present as it is a covering for a weak or damaged tooth.
Are there alternatives to Dentures?
Yes there are implants, Implant supported Dentures and Bridges.
Implants are used for single teeth but can also be connected to a bridge or Denture. An Implant-Supported Denture is a type of over-denture that is supported by and attached to implants. A regular denture rests on the gums, and is not supported by implants.
An Implant-Supported Denture is used when a person doesn’t have any teeth in the jaw, but has enough bone in the jaw to support Implants. An Implant-Supported Denture has special attachments that snap onto attachments on the Implants. To the right are two pictures of what the Implant-Supported Dentures look like and how the Denture attaches to the Implants.
Implant-supported dentures are usually made for the lower jaw because regular dentures tend to be less stable there. Usually, a regular denture made to fit an upper jaw is quite stable on its own and doesn’t need the extra support offered by implants. However, you can receive an implant-supported denture in either the upper or lower jaw.
You should remove an Implant-Supported Denture daily to clean the denture and gum area. Just as with regular dentures, you should not sleep with the Implant-Supported Dentures at night. Some people prefer to have fixed (permanent) crown and bridgework in their mouths that can’t be removed. Your dentist will consider your particular needs and preferences when suggesting fixed or removable options.
Your upper Denture will rest comfortably in place with moderate to strong “suction.” Although your lower denture will have good stability, it is infrequent that “suction” can be expected on a lower Denture. Future dental implants can significantly help provide stability for a lower denture if they continue to be unstable.
When should I wear my Denture?
You should wear your Denture during the day and take it out when you sleep and leave it in a glass of water.
How do I clean my Denture?
Your Dentures can be cleaned easily by using a Denture brush and mild toothpaste. There are also Denture soaks which are quite useful. Brush your gums with a regular toothbrush once per day to toughen and clean them. Just like teeth, Dentures can collect bacteria so should be cleaned regularly. Leave the Dentures out of your mouth at night and soak them in a glass of water.
• Denture adhesives may be useful, especially for the first-time denture wearer. Adhesives may improve the retention and stability of dentures for those with minimal bone support or small ridges. Stability of the denture will help the wearer’s confidence.
• Remove and brush the Denture daily with a denture cleanser and a brush (one specifically designed for cleaning dentures or a soft toothbrush).
• Avoid using boiling water to sterilize the denture, because hot water can cause the denture to lose its shape.
• If you wear a Partial Denture remove it before brushing your natural teeth.
• When you’re not wearing the denture soak it in denture cleanser or water.
• To avoid misplacing your dentures store it in the same place after removal.
My Denture is sore, what should I do?
If your Denture is sore or doesn’t feel right please do not hesitate to book an appointment to have it looked at and adjusted.
Will Denture make me look and talk differently?
You might think you talk and look different but chances are no one else will notice. It will feel strange at first but it gets easier the more you wear the Denture.
Will it be hard to eat at first?
You may find it a bit difficult or tricky to eat at first, the more you wear your Denture the easier it will become. Eating with new dentures will take a little practice and may be uncomfortable for some wearers for a few weeks. To get used to the new denture, start with soft foods cut into small pieces. Chew slowly using both sides of your mouth. As you get used to new dentures, add other foods until you return to a normal diet. Be cautious with hot or hard foods and sharp-edged bones or shells. And, avoid foods that are extremely sticky or hard. You should also avoid chewing gum while you wear the denture.