If you’ve lost some or all your natural teeth, dentures can replace your missing teeth and restore your smile. Replacing missing teeth is essential for your appearance and overall health.
What types of dentures are available?
Dentures can either be complete or partial. Partial dentures are used if there are still some natural teeth in the mouth. Partials are removable, and typically consist of replacement teeth that are attached to a pink (gum-colored) plastic base, and connected by a metal framework.
Complete dentures are used when all the natural teeth are gone. Complete dentures can either be conventional or immediate. Conventional dentures are made once the remaining natural teeth are removed and the tissues have healed, which can take 6-8 weeks. Immediate dentures are placed as soon as the remaining natural teeth are removed. To do this, measurements are taken and jaw models are made in advance at a preliminary visit. A benefit of immediate dentures is that that patient does not have to be without any teeth while the gums heal. On the other hand, gums and bones can shrink during the healing period. When this happens, the dentures may need to be relined or rebased so they fit properly.
What is an overdenture?
An overdenture is removable. It is designed to fit over a small amount of natural teeth or dental implants. In order for the overdenture to fit properly, the natural teeth must be prepared.
How do dentures feel?
For the first few weeks, new dentures may feel awkward until you get used to them. They may feel loose, as your cheek muscles and tongue learn to keep them in place. Initially, you may also have soreness and mild irritation. Your saliva flow may increase. As you get used to your dentures, these problems should lessen.
Will eating and speaking be different?
Eating may be difficult at first. Begin with soft foods cut into small pieces. Chew slowly with both sides of your mouth. As you get used to chewing with dentures, you can progressively add foods until you resume your normal diet. Be careful of shells and bones with sharp edges. Also, be cautious when eating hard or hot foods.
Initially, you may have trouble speaking certain words. Practice reading and repeating out loud. If you hear a clicking sound when speaking, talk more slowly. Your dentures may slip when you cough, laugh or smile. To reposition your dentures, simply bite down carefully and swallow. If you continue to have problems speaking, speak with your dentist.
How long do I need to wear my dentures?
Your dentist will provide specific instructions. For the first few days, you may need to wear them most of the day and at bedtime. Once you adjust to your dentures, your dentist may instruct you to remove them before bed. This will allow your gums to rest and also promote oral health.
Can I use an adhesive?
Denture adhesive can be beneficial for well-fitting dentures, but not for dentures that fit poorly. Poor fitting dentures can cause irritation and maybe even sores, and therefore should be relined or replaced. If your dentures feel loose or are very uncomfortable after the initial adjustment period, please speak with your dentist.
How can I properly take care of my dentures?
Handle your dentures with care. They are very delicate and can break. When you are not wearing them, place them away from pets and children. Just like natural teeth, dentures need to be brushed daily to remove plaque and food. Brushing prevents staining and helps keep your mouth healthy. You should use a toothbrush designed for dentures. You can use mild soap or dishwashing liquid to clean your dentures. Do not use powdered household cleaning products or bleach. Your dentist can recommend a denture cleanser.
Will my dentures need to be replaced?
If dentures become loose or significantly worn, they may need to be replaced. Due to normal wear over time, dentures need to be rebased, relined or remade. Worn or poorly fitting dentures should be replaced before they cause problems. If your dentures break, chip, crack or if a tooth becomes loose, contact your dentist.
How often should I see my dentist?
Regular cleanings and exams are important to prevent oral disease and to ensure your dentures fit properly.