Tooth loss may result from a number of reasons, including periodontal disease, tooth decay, or traumatic injury. The ill effects of not replacing missing teeth can be: Shift in remaining teeth
- Inability to bite and chew properly
- Sagging facial appearance or a sunken look (which makes one appear older than they are)
- Inability to pronounce words properly
Dentures are removable solution for replacement teeth. Complete (or full) dentures are used to replace missing teeth for people with no remaining teeth. Partial dentures (or overdentures) replace just some missing teeth. Dentures are made primarily from acrylic resin.
Types of Dentures
Conventional Complete or Full Dentures: Conventional full dentures are removable teeth replacements that are made and placed after the remaining teeth have been removed and the gum tissues have healed. The healing process usually take from six weeks to several months, during which the patient may be without teeth or can use a temporary “immediate” denture.
Partial Dentures: When only some teeth are missing, a partial denture serves the purpose. The healthy teeth that remain act as anchors for the partial denture, using metal attachments.
Overdentures: Overdentures are conventional dentures with one or more of your natural teeth as anchors. Overdentures require preparation of the remaining teeth to provide support for the appliance, with the denture designed to fit right over them, resulting in a stable fit that makes eating easier and more comfortable.
Immediate Dentures: During the period between the removal of your remaining teeth and the final placement of your permanent conventional dentures, your dentist would put in place what is called an “immediate denture”. This saves you from going without teeth as your mouth tissues heal and the bone stabilizes. Once in place, immediate dentures help reduce the initial swelling from the teeth removal. During the healing process, you may be required to make several visits to have the immediate dentures relined to adjust their fit. After the healing process is complete, permanent conventional dentures can replace the immediate dentures.
Denture after Care
Complete dentures, overdentures, and removable partial dentures must be removed at night while you sleep. This enables the patient’s gums to be bathed by saliva, which aids in maintaining a healthy mouth and has important properties for controlling the naturally occurring flora found in the oral cavity. It also is extremely important to practice healthy dental hygiene when wearing dentures. There’s a risk of developing a more serious medical condition should irritation result from improper denture hygiene. These conditions include, but are not limited to:
- Periodontal disease (gum disease),
- Leukoplakia (thickened white, potentially precancerous patches on the mucous membranes, (also called smoker’s tongue)
- Fungal (denture stomatitis) infections
The gums, tongue and palate should be brushed with a soft bristle brush every evening when the dentures are removed, and each day before you insert the dentures to stimulate the gums and remove plaque accumulation. When removing dentures at night, brush the dentures carefully to remove any loose debris and plaque then soak them in a cleansing solution. Some patients keep their dentures in an ultrasonic cleaner, but keep in mind that an ultrasonic cleaner doesn’t replace brushing. When cleaning your dentures, place a towel beneath the denture or clean them over a sink filled with water to avoid breakage.
In addition to adjusting to the feel of new dentures, it will also take some practice learning to chew with them. Begin by slowly chewing on very small pieces of soft food, using both sides of the mouth simultaneously. As your comfort and confidence increase you can progress to larger pieces of soft food and then proceed to harder foods.
Speaking may also require practice. It may be difficult to pronounce certain words. Usually, this problem is overcome within a couple of weeks. New denture wearers can adjust more quickly to their new prosthesis by practicing reading aloud.
With a well-fitting denture and practice, denture adhesives may not be necessary. Denture wearers should expect the lower denture to fit somewhat loosely. They may need to learn how to use the muscles of the cheeks and tongue to keep the denture in place. Although this might sound bothersome, with practice, it becomes second nature.
Denture Readjustment or Replacement
If your dentures fit poorly, cause persistent mouth irritation, chip, crack, or break, it is important to see your dentist. Although most gum remodeling occurs within the first year, changes in gums and bone continue throughout one’s lifetime. Over time this may result in ill-fitting or loose dentures and may compromise comfort and facial appearance. In addition, movement of the dentures on the gums may cause significant irritation. For this reason, it is recommended that complete dentures be remade or at least relined every five to seven years.