What are Dentures?
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's best for you based on whether some
or all of your teeth are going to be replaced and the cost
How do Dentures Work?
With full dentures, 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.
Dentures are custom-made in a dental
laboratory from impressions taken of your mouth. Your dentist
will determine which of the three types of dentures described
below is best for you.
Conventional Full Denture
A conventional full denture is placed in your mouth after
any remaining teeth are removed and tissues have healed.
Healing may take several months, during which time you are
Immediate Full Denture
An immediate full denture is inserted
immediately after the remaining teeth are removed. (Your
dentist takes measurements and makes models of your jaw
during a prior visit.) While immediate dentures offer the
benefit of never having to be without your teeth, they must
be relined several months after being inserted. The reason
is that the bone supporting the teeth reshapes as it heals,
causing the denture to become loose.
A partial denture rests on a metal
framework that attaches to your natural teeth. Sometimes
crowns are placed on some of your natural teeth and serve
as anchors for the denture. Partial dentures offer a removable
alternative to bridges.
How Long Before I Get Used
to My Dentures?
New dentures may feel awkward or
uncomfortable for the first few weeks or even months. Eating
and speaking with dentures might take a little practice.
A bulky or loose feeling is not uncommon, while the muscles
of your cheeks and tongue learn to hold your dentures in
place. Excessive saliva flow, a feeling that the tongue
does not have adequate room, and minor irritation or soreness
are also not unusual. If you experience irritation, see
How Long do Dentures Last?
Over a period of time, your denture
will need to be relined, remade, or rebased due to normal
wear. Rebasing means making a new base while keeping the
existing denture teeth. Also, as you age, your mouth naturally
changes. These changes cause your dentures to loosen, making
chewing difficult and irritating your gums. At a minimum,
you should see your dentist annually for a checkup.
Here are tips for caring
for your 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 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
- 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.
- See your dentist if your dentures
break, chip, crack or become loose. Don't be tempted to
adjust them yourself — this can damage them beyond repair.
In general, partial dentures fit into one of two categories,
depending on the material of which they are made.
a) Plastic - These are dentures made
of a plastic material termed acrylic. The plastic forms
a plate which may cover the whole of the roof of the mouth
in the upper arch, or the whole of the lingual surface of
the lower arch. Such dentures may have metal clasps fitted
to some of the remaining natural teeth to help retention,
or may rely solely on a close adaptation to the mucous membrane
and teeth to hold the denture in place.
b) Metal - The metal used in partial
dentures is usually chrome cobalt. This is a very strong,
light material which remains rigid even in quite thin sections.
A metal denture usually only covers part of the oral mucous
membrane and can be quite complex in design. Metal dentures
consist of thin straps of metal and clasps which fit very
precisely to the natural teeth to hold the denture firmly
in place.They are called skeleton dentures because of their
design and they enable patients to maintain a better standard
of oral hygiene. They are more expensive than plastic dentures.
COSMETIC DENTISTRY - DENTURES