Dentures

Introduction

Denture wearers, whether experienced or new, may have questions about their dentures. Advanced technologies and techniques have led to improved denture products to replace missing teeth. Wearers have options in types and fixatives to secure dentures for greater comfort. Nowadays, denture retention may be improved through the use of dental implants.

Why bother with dentures?

Missing teeth may cause further oral trauma and detract from physical beauty. By replacing missing teeth with dentures, bite function is restored and appearance is improved for a beautiful, natural smile. Our teeth support our facial structures and expressions and so dentures provide this lost support to prevent facial sagging and volume loss.

Partial and full dentures improve our ability to eat and speak for better nutrition and greater confidence in social interactions.

What is a denture?

Dentures are a solution for replacing teeth lost due to injury, tooth decay and gum disease. One or more missing teeth may be replaced by a partial or full denture that restores oral function and health. Dentures look just like natural teeth and may be anchored to existing teeth using precision metal clasps or suction to the gums of the upper and lower jaw arches.

What are dentures made of?

Dentures comprise of acrylic resin teeth and a gum base that is usually made up of acrylic plastic or metal. The restoration mimics natural teeth and the acrylic base is usually gum-coloured for aesthetic reasons. In partial dentures, the metal clasps may also be created using a tooth-coloured material for the same reasons.

Will dentures make me look different?

Dentures imitate natural teeth very well, making it difficult to notice that a user is in fact wearing a type of restoration. Initial adjustment to dentures may take some time, but remember this is not as noticeable to others as it may seem. When smiling, dentures support expression for a natural looking yet beautiful smile.

Will I be able to eat with dentures?

Initially, eating with dentures takes some practice and getting used to. By consuming softer foods in smaller bite sizes at first, an individual gradually grows accustomed to chewing and swallowing foods with their dentures. How food is balanced in the mouth while eating may prevent dentures from moving out of place. Denture fixatives may be used to provide better retention for eating a wide variety of foods.

Will dentures change how I speak?

At first, some words may feel difficult to pronounce. Word pronunciation may be improved by reading aloud. Practicing speaking with dentures allows the mouth and tongue to become more accustomed to dentures for communication.

Initially, dentures may slip when smiling, coughing or laughing, but this will pass as confidence in biting down and swallowing improves. Your dentist can provide good advice on how to quickly adjust to denture wear.

Will my sense of taste be affected?

An individual's sense of taste and denture wear is not related because taste buds are present on the tongue and not on teeth that are missing or replaced. Denture wear does not impact taste bud function. However a person may take some time to adjust to denture wear when eating and drinking fluids. The sensations may be affected so it is important to take care, particularly when consuming hot foods and liquids.

How long should I wear my dentures?

Initially, dentures should be worn as regularly as possible in order to adjust to the replacement teeth. Some dentists recommend wearing dentures during sleep while going through this adjustment period.

However, once used to the restorations, dentures should be removed and soaked overnight to allow the gums to rest. By cleaning the mouth and dentures before sleep, on awakening and after meals, oral health is vastly improved.

Do I have to do anything special to care for my mouth?

Oral hygiene is crucial for denture wearers and involves cleaning of both the appliance and natural teeth.

  • Any existing teeth, the gums, tongue and palate should be cleaned with fluoride-containing toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • Rinse the mouth with fluoride mouthwash.
  • Dentures should be cleaned using denture solution and a special denture brush.
  • By keeping the mouth and dentures clean and fresh, plaque and infection-causing bacteria are kept at bay, preventing decay and gum disease.

What is the difference between conventional and Immediate Dentures?

The main difference between conventional and immediate dentures is the amount of time that passes after teeth are extracted before dentures are inserted.

  • Conventional types - the dentist waits for gum tissue to heal, which may take several months before the dentures can be inserted.
  • Immediate dentures - are put in place as soon as teeth are extracted or lost. The dentist does this by obtaining dental impression to create dentures that may immediately be inserted to replace one or more missing teeth. If oral structures shrink, the dentures may need relining or replacing for a more comfortable fit.

What will dentures feel like?

When dentures are newly fitted they may feel uncomfortable at first as the mouth gets used to their presence. The tongue and facial muscles learn to respond to the dentures for oral functions such as swallowing, chewing, eating and speaking.

At first these activities may feel difficult and some gum irritation may be experienced. However the mouth soon adjusts and dentures then feel just like normal teeth. If awkward sensations continue, it is best to consult your dentist for a solution. By wearing the dentures as prescribed, the dentist may then better identify where adjustment is necessary.

How do I take care of my dentures?

  • Dentures are easily cared for and maintained, however if dropped, dentures may break. Therefore it is important to clean dentures over a basin filled with water that may catch the fall if they are dropped.
  • Store dentures, not worn, in a proper denture container for protection.
  • Dentures act like natural teeth and need to be cleaned with denture solution and a soft-bristled brush. By softly brushing dentures, all plaque and debris that bacteria may adhere to are removed.
  • Dentures may be soaked overnight in luke-warm water or denture solution in addition to this cleaning.
  • The mouth including tongue, palate, gums and any existing teeth should also be adequately cleaned before sleep, on awakening and after meals.

Can dentures be re-polished?

Over time, dentures can turn dull and alter in texture. Having regular dental check-ups enables a dentist to assess oral and denture condition for care. Dentures may be re-polished and restored so that they appear as good as new. Keeping dentures fresh gives a bright and natural-looking smile.

Will my dentures need to be replaced?

Normal wear and tear including natural changes to oral contours will require relining or replacing of dentures over time. Our oral structures including gums and bone naturally shrink as we age. Dentures may then become loose, causing irritation or trauma. By having dentures assessed, relined or replaced, oral health is maintained and trauma is thus prevented.

How often should I see my dentist?

Dentists will check denture condition and oral health during, regular every six-month appointments. In the interim, a dental hygienist may help with denture maintenance and oral hygiene care every three months. Anyone with a concern about their dentures should see a dentist immediately. Receiving dental treatment such as dentures means hygiene must be kept at high standard, oral health at its best, and well-being at a level that gives confidence and quality of life.

 

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