What are Dentures
Dentures are a replacement for missing teeth. Dentures can be removed and put back in your mouth at any time. There are two types of dentures – complete and partial.
Conventional complete dentures are the dentures you might be familiar with. A conventional full denture is placed in the mouth after any remaining teeth have been removed and tissue has fully healed. In this case, there may be a period of time where you are without teeth while your tissue heals.
Immediate dentures are inserted immediately after the teeth are removed. In this case, there is no period of time where you are without teeth since the dentures are immediately placed in your mouth. In a sense, they work as a bandage, cushioning sensitive tissue. However, the dentures must be relined several months after being inserted because the bone supporting the teeth reshapes as it heals, causing the dentures to become loose (more on that later).
Partial dentures are dentures that only replace a few teeth. The partial denture rests on a metal framework that is attached to your natural teeth. Crowns can serve as anchors on the natural teeth if need be.
How do I know if I need dentures?
Dentures are needed if teeth are lost. Here are a few signs that you may need dentures:
Your gums are swollen, red, tender and bleeding. Gum disease isn’t an automatic sign that you need dentures, but if left untreated can result in bone loss (which results in dentures). It’s important to schedule regular checkups with your dentist every six months so you can keep your natural teeth healthy and strong.
Your teeth feel loose. Loose teeth are often a symptom of advanced gum disease. In the worse cases, teeth must be extracted.
You have a bad toothache. Often, toothaches are only a minor concern and can be remedied. Sometimes, a bad toothache can signal extensive decay at the nerve which could mean an extraction is in order. Proper oral hygiene and regular checkups with your dentist are critical in preventing advanced decay. You’ve already lost a few teeth. Even if only a few teeth are missing, a prosthesis is necessary to relieve pressure on the remaining teeth. Just because your natural front teeth look great, doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods. The absence of teeth means more work for your remaining teeth and there is more chance of tooth loss down the road.
You have difficulty eating chewy and hard foods. This difficulty could be caused by gum disease, cracked teeth or cavities, and catching these symptoms before they worsen can save you a trip to the denturist.
You’re self-conscious about smiling. Sometimes dentures are an aesthetic choice, and there is nothing wrong with that.
How long does it take to get used to dentures?
New dentures might feel a bit awkward in your mouth for the first few days. Eating and speaking in particular may take a bit of practice. The muscles of your cheeks and tongue will learn to hold your dentures in place, but expect a few days to get used to it. Excessive saliva, minor irritation, soreness and a feeling that the tongue doesn’t have enough room are all common after dentures are inserted. If you experience prolonged irritation, give us a call. It is not uncommon to need a couple of minor adjustments following an insertion.
How long do dentures last?
Like your eyeglasses, dentures are durable but they don’t last forever. The way you care for your dentures will greatly impact their lifespan. That being said, with good care your dentures should last 5-10 years. Most insurance companies cover new dentures every 5-8 years, with relines covered every 2-3 years. Tissue in your mouth changes over time, and your dentures may require adjusting or rebasing periodically, so it’s important that you see your denturist at least once a year to ensure your dentures are fitting properly.
How should I care for my dentures?
Ideally, you should clean your dentures after every meal. Using a good denture brush and a good denture cleaner over a basin of lukewarm water will do the trick. Avoid grasping both ends of the lower denture as too much pressure could break the piece.