If you have lost several or all of your teeth due to periodontal disease, accident or illness, you still have to eat and to correct the problem you have, you will need dentures. There are two types of dentures; partial and full. The severity of your tooth loss will dictate which type of denture you will need.
Simply put, dentures are false teeth that replace missing teeth. They are made mostly of plastic and can be removable or fixed depending on the pattern of your tooth loss. When a patient comes in with damaged teeth, whether from disease or injury, the dentist tries to save as many as he can. Your natural teeth help retain the bone in your jaw and can act as supports for bridges, over-dentures and partial dentures that are removable.
Complete dentures replace all of the teeth; upper, lower or both upper and lower. Partial dentures replace only the teeth that are missing. Due to advances in dental technology, dentures have vastly improved over time. Dentures can now be fitted so that they look natural, feel comfortable and help you maintain your health.
Complete dentures replace all of your teeth and cover your entire jaw. They rest directly on your gums. When you arrive to get your dentures, it will be the first of approximately five appointments. The dentist will take impressions of your mouth. He will later choose the color of the teeth. He will also choose the size and shape.
If possible, the dentist will try to keep healthy remaining teeth on where the denture will be placed. If he can, the dentures are referred to as over-dentures. The advantage is that the remaining natural teeth help to maintain the bone and bear some of the burden of chewing. Natural teeth can also help maintain the stability of the dentures and reduce the shifting that sometimes occurs.
If you can’t retain any of your natural teeth, you may be a candidate for dental implant-retained denture treatment. Dental implants give you an artificial root, similar to the roots that your natural teeth have. If you are a candidate for dental implants, the complete denture will fit directly on the implants or can be attached to a metal bar between the implants.
Partial dentures are just like they sound, they cover the part of your jaw that has missing teeth. Partial dentures come in two types; removable and fixed. Removable partial dentures are attached to existing natural teeth They have a metal framework with plastic teeth and a gum area. Metal clasps hold the partial dentures in place.
You may be a candidate for fixed dentures if you have nearby healthy teeth that can support the structure. Fixed partial dentures are frequently referred to as bridges. They are cemented in place and more resemble natural teeth. There are several ways to make these bridges. Some are made completely of porcelain and others are porcelain that covers a metal framework. Both have attachments that fit over the nearby natural teeth to hold them in place. They are then cemented so that they can’t be removed or fall out.
How Do Dentures Work?
If you have had to have teeth extracted, you won’t be able to begin the process until your mouth is healed. This could take up to four weeks. You may get what is called an immediate denture. This denture is meant to be temporary. This is generally given if you haven’t had all of your teeth extracted. After your mouth has had time to recover and heal, you will come in and have your first appointment.
If you have a picture of yourself smiling, bring it to your first appointment. You and your dentist will decide on the size of the teeth for your denture. The size depends on several factors, including your jaw size, your mouth and how your jaws come together when you bite. A picture helps your dentist and the dental lab make the transition more natural looking.
Once you pick out your teeth the dentist will make an impression of your mouth. He sends the impression to the dental lab and if you brought a picture, he’ll send that too. The lab will then make your dentures and send them back. You’ll be able to get a trial fit of them to see if they work. Once you determine they are comfortable and you can eat and talk well, you’ll get your completed dentures.
Wearing dentures is different from having natural teeth. You will speak and eat differently and you may have to cut your food into smaller pieces to eat. There are some things you will no longer be able to eat. Dentures take some getting used to but you will. Your dentist will make any adjustments needed as time goes on.