What are dentures?
Dentures are artificial teeth and gums that are formed to your mouth and created by your dentists to replace lost or removed natural teeth. Dentures can either be full or partial, meaning they can either replace all teeth on either the top or bottom gum line, or just a few that are missing. Regardless of what kind of dentures you may need, they will be custom designed to fit your mouth, and visually matched to your existing teeth.
Why wear dentures?
Dentures not only improve the appearance of a smile that has multiple missing teeth, but they also keep the structure of the mouth sound by supporting the structures around the cheeks and lips. Dentures also make it possible to eat foods that require chewing, making it possible to keep your diet the same and ensure that you are properly nourished. Lastly, dentures are a viable solution to replace teeth that are causing serious pain and oral health issues, such as those with rotted roots or severe damage. Having dentures fitted means that troublesome teeth are eliminated and replaced with a strong and beautiful alternative.
Complete dentures can be either “conventional” or “immediate.” Made after the teeth have been removed and the gum tissue has begun to heal, a conventional denture is ready for placement in the mouth about eight to 12 weeks after the teeth have been removed.
Unlike conventional dentures, immediate dentures are made in advance and can be positioned as soon as the teeth are removed. As a result, the wearer does not have to be without teeth during the healing period. However, bones and gums shrink over time, especially during the healing period following tooth removal. Therefore a disadvantage of immediate dentures compared with conventional dentures is that they require more adjustments to fit properly during the healing process and generally should only be considered a temporary solution until conventional dentures can be made.
A removable partial denture or bridge usually consists of replacement teeth attached to a pink or gum-colored plastic base, which is sometimes connected by metal framework that holds the denture in place in the mouth. Partial dentures are used when one or more natural teeth remain in the upper or lower jaw. A fixed bridge replaces one or more teeth by placing crowns on the teeth on either side of the space and attaching artificial teeth to them. This “bridge” is then cemented into place. Not only does a partial denture fill in the spaces created by missing teeth, it prevents other teeth from changing position. A precision partial denture is removable and has internal attachments rather than clasps that attach to the adjacent crowns. This is a more natural-looking appliance.
Flexible dentures are a type of partial denture, which are typically constructed of nylon, or other thin thermoplastics, which differ significantly from the thicker, harder acrylic that is often used in normal dentures. This helps make these types of dentures a lot more bendable and flexible, giving rise to their popular name. As flexible dentures are made up of softer, more comfortable materials, people of all ages often prefer them over regular dentures. However, it is always best to consult with your dentist or denture technician with regards to which type of dentures will best suit you, your needs and requirements.
Less likely to break – Flexible dentures with soft bases are much less likely to break if they’re dropped compared to other, more rigid and brittle types of dentures. This means that once you have acquired and purchased the necessary flexible denture you need; you will be less likely to ned to order new ones for quite some time.
How Are Dentures Made?
The denture development process takes a few weeks and several appointments. Once your dentist or prosthodontist (a dentist who specializes in the restoration and replacement of teeth) determines what type of appliance is best for you, the general steps are to:
- Make a series of impressions of your jaw and take measurements of how your jaws relate to one another and how much space is between them.
- Create models, wax forms, and/or plastic patterns in the exact shape and position of the denture to be made. You will “try in” this model several times and the denture will be assessed for color, shape, and fit before the final denture is cast.
- Cast a final denture
- Adjustments will be made as necessary
How to clean dentures ?
Regardless of what kind of dentures you may have, all dentures need to be cleaned daily, just like regular teeth. Even though dentures are made up of artificial teeth, bacteria, plaque, and tartar still build up on them and can harm existing teeth and gums.
To clean your dentures, take them out of your mouth and run clean water over them to dislodge any food particles that may be stuck between teeth, along the gum line, or underneath the structure. Then brush the dentures all over with a denture brush or very soft toothbrush using a mild soap or denture cleaner. Be sure not to use any other cleaners, regular toothpaste, or electric toothbrushes as these are all too abrasive and can damage and wear away the denture materials. After cleaning, make sure to rinse them well.
While your dentures are out of your mouth, be sure to clean your gums and any natural teeth with a very soft and wet toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste if needed. If your toothbrush is too harsh, wrap your finger in a wet, soft washcloth and gently rub your gums, making sure to cover all surfaces.
Preserving your dentures
Always remove your dentures before sleeping to avoid damaging them, dislodging them, and to give your gums some time to relax. Submerge your dentures fully in warm, but not hot, water to keep them from drying out and becoming misshapen. Only use denture soaking solution if your dentures do not have metal components as the solution can tarnish the metal.