Dentures are a removable set of false teeth that are used to replace missing teeth and adjacent tissues. You may need dentures for a variety of reasons, ranging from missing or damaged teeth to tooth decay and periodontal disease. Dentures can restore oral functions that may be inhibited due to missing teeth, such as smiling and chewing. Depending on your specific dental needs, your dentist may recommend complete dentures or partial dentures as a restorative dental solution.
Complete dentures are used when all of a patient’s teeth are missing, as they are a full set of false teeth. These dentures are made of two parts: the artificial teeth and the denture base. Complete dentures are most often made of acrylic resin, yet they closely resemble natural teeth. It’s imperative that patients with complete dentures follow an oral hygiene regimen for cleaning their gums and dentures, as this will ensure good oral health and the longevity of their dentures.
Complete dentures can be either “conventional” or “immediate”. Much like the name may suggest, immediate dentures are available immediately after a patient has had teeth removed or has gone through the necessary preparations to have dentures placed. Conventional dentures may take a longer period of time before they are ready to be placed, sometimes up to 12 weeks. However, conventional dentures allow patients to customize the look of these false teeth. Because conventional dentures can be customized and made to uniquely fit an individual patient, they make take longer to create, process, and arrive at your dentist’s office. A benefit of conventional dentures is that they typically last much longer than immediate dentures.
Partial dentures consist of artificial teeth attached to an acrylic base, which is sometimes held in place by a metal frame. These dentures are a great solution for patients that have a succession of missing teeth yet don’t need entire upper or lower sets of artificial teeth. To be a candidate for partial dentures, you need to have healthy teeth remaining in both the upper and lower parts of your mouth, as the structure of these dentures depends on the support of your healthy teeth. These dentures can easily be removed to ensure easy cleaning and oral care.
Dental bridges consist of a series of fake teeth, made up of dental crowns and implants (abutments), which help to replace one or more missing teeth. Dental bridges are sometimes referred to as fixed partial dentures because they are a semi-permanent solution to replace missing teeth. Depending on the teeth that you’re missing, you may benefit most from traditional bridges, cantilever bridges, or Maryland bridges.
Dental implants replace missing teeth with metal screws that function as new tooth roots that are fitted with dental crowns. Dental implants are ideal for patients that have healthy jawbones, as these are crucial to the structural integrity of the metal implant. There are a variety of dental implants that can replace your missing teeth, so if you’re considering dental implants, consult with your dentist to determine the best solution.
Permanent dentures are a type of denture that is not removable. These dentures contain false teeth which are held in place by implants that are attached to the jawbone. The implants make these dentures incredibly stable, as the dentures will eventually bond with your bone structure. Patients may opt for removable dentures, however, due to cost, permanency, and general preference.
Sometimes patients will find that they are able to function normally without needing to use adhesives on their dentures. However, some patients may enjoy the additional security that denture adhesive can provide. Your dentures should always be properly fitted to avoid gum irritation, but you should ask your dentist about the best denture adhesives if you feel you could benefit from additional support.
As you begin to adjust to your dentures, you should consume foods that are soft, small, and neither too hot nor cold. Once you get used to your dentures, eating should become an easy task. Hard or sticky food may always be difficult to eat with dentures.
Dentures will eventually suffer some wear and tear, making most dentures last around 5 to 10 years. This depends on the patient and varies per person. Partial dentures tend to last much longer, up to 15 years.
Both partial dentures and bridges are solutions for missing teeth, however, they are tooth restoration solutions that are used in distinct instances. Bridges are fixed in place once they are inserted into the mouth, whereas partial dentures can be removed. Partial dentures may also last much longer than bridges, up to two times the typical lifespan of bridges.
We recommend that you use a soaking solution specifically designed for dentures, as soaking dentures in mouthwash for too long could potentially damage them due to the fact that many types of mouthwash contain alcohol. Talk with your dentist about the best denture soaking solutions that would be most effective for you.
In most cases, after you get dentures, your dentist will recommend that you wear them overnight for the first full 24 hours. This helps to protect your gums, helping them recover quicker. However, after you’ve settled into your dentures, you should not sleep with dentures in your mouth. Sleeping with your dentures in overnight can increase bacteria buildup, gum inflammation, and make your dentures loose over time.