Dentures are a replacement for any teeth that are missing, yet differ from dental implants and other alternatives as they are removable. Individuals find they may either choose partial dentures, ones that only replace missing teeth, or complete dentures, suitable for those who have no natural teeth left. In addition, individuals find they may select between conventional dentures and immediate ones.
Conventional vs. Immediate Dentures
Conventional dentures are placed in the mouth after all teeth are removed and the healing process is complete. This process typically takes eight to 12 weeks. In contrast, immediate dentures are created in advance; thus they can be placed in the mouth as soon as the teeth are extracted.
Before choosing immediate dentures, individuals need to understand the healing process. Bones and gums tend to shrink during the healing process. As a result, the dentures must be adjusted during the healing process and after the healing is complete. Most dentists recommend immediate dentures only be worn for a short period of time, and conventional dentures be fitted once healing is complete.
Partial vs. Complete Dentures
Partial dentures consist of replacement teeth attached to a plastic base that is either pink or gum-colored. The upper denture features an acrylic foundation that rests against the roof of the mouth while the bottom denture is created in a horseshoe shape to leave ample room for the tongue. At times, a metal framework holds the denture in place, yet this is determined on a case-by-case basis. This option is suitable for those who have one or more of their natural teeth remaining in the mouth.
Fixed bridges replace one tooth or multiple teeth in the mouth. This type of denture requires that the tooth on either side of the bridge be fitted with a crown, as this helps to ensure the bridge remains in place and that other teeth won’t shift position.
Precision partial dentures are an additional option and are removable. These dentures have internal attachments which allow the denture to attach to the crowns on either side of the bridge. Many find this to be the most natural option of the three.
Complete dentures replace all teeth in either the upper or lower jaw bone or may be used to replace all teeth in both jaws. For those missing all teeth, this tends to be the preferred option. Dental implants offer an alternative, yet aren’t necessarily cost-effective for those missing a number of teeth.
The Denture-Making Process
Conventional dentures cannot be made overnight; thus the person obtaining the dentures will need to see the dentist on more than one occasion. He or she determines which appliance provides the best solution and goes forward from there. The first step involves making a series of impressions of the jaw. In addition, the dentist will take measurements of the jaw, their relation to one another, and the space between them.
With this information, the dental lab produces a model, wax form or plastic pattern of the position and exact shape of the denture to be created. This model is then fitted to the patient multiple times to ensure the color, fit, and shape are correct. Only then will the final denture be cast and adjustments made.
The Feel Of New Dentures
At first, patients typically state the dentures feel loose or odd. There is a learning curve when wearing these devices, as the person must learn to use the tongue and cheek muscles to keep them in place. In addition, wearers need to practice inserting and removing the replacement teeth. Soreness and minor irritation may be noticed at first, and saliva production tends to increase, yet these issues will decrease once the mouth adjusts to the dentures.
The Benefits Of Dentures
Dentures offer a noticeable change to the appearance when multiple teeth are failing or missing. The dentures appear to be natural teeth, however, so this isn’t a concern. Eating becomes easier once the adjustment period is over, and speech typically improves with time. If the dentures slip around in the mouth or click when speaking, contact the dentist, as more adjustments may need to be made.
How Long Should Dentures Be Worn?
In many cases, dentures need to be worn around the clock at first, as this helps to determine where adjustments need to be made. Once this period is over, dentures should be removed at bedtime. Doing so provides time for the gum tissues to rest. Furthermore, when the dentures are removed, the tongue and saliva clean and stimulate the gum tissues.
Speak to your dentist to determine if dentures are a suitable option for you. Depending on the number of teeth missing, many dentists recommend this option for the replacement of numerous teeth. Dental implants tend to be the better choice when only one or two teeth are missing, however. Be sure to visit the dental implants page to learn more about the similarities and differences between the two solutions, and schedule regular dental visits, regardless of which option is selected, to ensure oral health remains optimal at all times. If you have any questions about our dentures or any other dental services, call us at (202) 873-1341.