Dentures, commonly known as false teeth, are a custom-made replacement for missing teeth and gums. For patients who are missing teeth, whether it be one tooth, a few, or all of them, dentures serve as a viable, affordable replacement option.
While dental implants are supported by the bone and provide a more permanent solution to missing teeth, patients can remove dentures at any time. The ability to take them in and out provides patients with a more flexible option that costs significantly less than dental implants.
What’s the Difference Between Full and Partial Dentures?
Depending on the number of missing teeth, there are two primary types of dentures: partial dentures and full dentures. They differ in the number of teeth they replace, as well as their design.
For a patient who cannot obtain a dental implant for a more permanent solution, partial dentures can effectively replace consecutive missing teeth. A removable partial denture usually contains a metal framework that anchors with clasps or gaskets to the remaining teeth. Where teeth are missing, replacement teeth stick to the framework, which is gum-colored to appear natural.
On the other hand, full dentures, also known as complete dentures, can replace all of the teeth in the upper or lower jaw, or both. Instead of a framework that attaches to natural teeth, a full set of dentures consists of an acrylic band that rests on your gum tissues and extends all the way around your mouth, with replacement teeth appearing where the natural one previously were.
What’s the Process Like?
There are two primary ways that a patient can get dentures. Ideally, the place where the dentures will go has been vacant for several months—either because they fell out naturally or because a dental professional removed them. At this point, the gum tissues should have healed, allowing for a more accurate impression of the ridge, which results in a better fit.
More commonly, however, we will take impressions of the patient’s mouth while the teeth remain, since they do not want to spend significant amounts of time without their replacement tooth or teeth. Once we have made the replacements from the impression, we can both remove the faulty teeth and install the replacement teeth in the same day.
Is It Painful?
The only painful aspect of obtaining dentures is the removal of any faulty teeth, which may or may not be necessary. If your teeth have already fallen out or been removed, then the entire process is typically painless.
What Do They Feel Like?
Wearing dentures may feel odd at first. Having replacement teeth that you can remove at any time will require an adjustment period. Initially, before your mouth grows accustomed, they may feel uncomfortable. You should consider using denture adhesives soon after you get dentures, but after a few weeks you should no longer need them.
What Do I Have to Do Once I Have Them?
Maintaining proper oral health is always important, and that is especially true when you have dentures. Here are a few common steps that a patient with dentures will have to take to ensure that their dentures and mouth remain in good health.
- Rinse overnight: Every night while you are sleeping, you should soak your dentures and rinse them before putting them back in your mouth.
- Clean after every meal: After you eat, you should remove and clean your dentures, as well as your mouth. When you clean them, use a soft toothbrush with warm water. Never use toothpaste or hot water, as both can do significant damage to the structure and surface of the dentures.
- Use denture cleanser: To ensure that harmful microorganisms do not grow, use denture cleanser. This will not only protect your oral health, but your overall health as well.
What Are They Made Of?
Most are made out of a combination of acrylic resin and plastic, with some including metal plates as well.
Are Dentures Right for Me?
If you are looking to replace multiple teeth, dentures are a great option. They are affordable and flexible and will restore your smile and mouth without crushing your bank account. Since dentures are not permanent, you can easily change your mind if you do not like the way they look.