A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth and surrounding tissues. Dentures improve chewing ability and speech, and provide support for facial muscles. There are three basic types of dentures: full, partial, and overdentures. Complete dentures are used when all the teeth are missing, while partial dentures are used when some natural teeth remain.
Full Dentures can be either “conventional” or “immediate.” Made after teeth have been removed and remaining tissue has begun to heal, a conventional denture is ready for placement in the mouth about 8-12 weeks after teeth have been removed. Unlike conventional dentures, immediate dentures are made in advance and placed during the same appointment after extraction of the teeth. The advantage of immediate dentures is the patient does not have to wait 8-12 weeks to have teeth. A disadvantage of immediate dentures is that they require relining over time, especially in the first six months because bone and gum tissue shrink. Ridge preservation therapy at the time of tooth extraction minimizes the change in fit of the immediate dentures.
Partial dentures are a removable appliance replacing one or more natural teeth and associated tissues. It is supported by the remaining teeth and gums, replaces what is lost, and preserves what remains. Partials can be made of different materials including acrylics, a metal/acrylic combination or flexible thermoplastics. The number of teeth remaining, the position, and the stability of the teeth are only a few of the factors that help to determine what style or type of partial denture would be best for you. Acrylic or plastic base dentures are a quicker solution for removable dentures. They can be used for almost all cases, but they are not necessarily the best for the majority of cases. They are lightweight and easier to repair but are weaker and can fracture more easily. The metal/acrylic partial commonly called a cast partial is usually a more rigid and permanent style of denture. The metal is either a highly compatible chrome cobalt alloy or titanium, which are both ultra thin, light and very strong. The new flexible thermoplastics have the advantages of esthetics and flexibility.
All partials are designed to be removable and should be removed nightly to contribute to a healthy oral environment. The denture fabrication process can take up to two weeks and several appointments. After the initial diagnosis is made, impressions are made to register proper jaw position. An appointment to “try-in” your new denture will be scheduled to assure proper color, shape and fit. The final denture is then placed and any additional visits for needed adjustments are made. For the first few weeks, a new denture may feel awkward or bulky, but you will eventually become accustomed to wearing it.
Inserting and removing the denture requires some practice. Never force the denture into position by biting down, because it can bend, warp, or break the prosthesis. Start out with soft foods that are cut into small pieces. It is important to chew evenly on both sides of the mouth. Daily care and cleaning of new dentures is very important to help maintain good dental health. For everyday cleaning, use a soft brush and a cleaning agent, such as soap and water, or products sold especially to clean dentures. Be sure to brush both the inside and outside of your denture. This will help eliminate harmful bacteria. We also suggest soaking your denture in water or a denture-cleaning agent when you take them out at night. This is important, because the gums under your dentures need to rest. Even if you have lost all or some of your natural teeth, you should still visit your dentist once a year.
The dentist will be able to evaluate the fit of your denture, offer suggestions for denture care and hygiene, and check for issues that may arise, such as oral cancer. You should probably not keep the same dentures for more than five to seven years or after two alignments. Poorly fitting dentures can permanently change the shape of your face and the way you bite. A common problem among denture wearers is ill-fitting dentures, which cause pain. Pain is directly related to the way dentures fit. When dentures begin to rub against the gums, it leads to soreness and swelling. Left untreated, this can make wearing dentures intolerable. The denture may need to be relined to improve the fit. It is recommended to reline a denture every two years.
Relining involves putting a new surface on the part of the denture that fits against your gums. After teeth are extracted, the bone that once held your teeth shrinks. This process is called bone resorption. It is common to discover that dentures no longer fit properly as the process continues. If the denture is otherwise in good shape, your dentist may recommend an office reline. An office reline takes about 30 to 60 minutes. There are two types of relines, soft and hard. Each uses different materials. The material for soft relines remains somewhat flexible. Soft relines are generally considered temporary. The material used is biodegradable. It is not meant to last more than a few months. Soft relines can be repeated at regular intervals if your jawbone can’t tolerate the force of a hard-reline material. The softer material absorbs some of the stress of chewing. Some people receive a soft reline if the gums need to heal from the effects of an ill-fitting denture or another injury. In this situation, a hard reline would be done after the gums heal.
Rebasing is less common that relining. It involves replacing the entire base of the denture, but keeping the teeth. This process is more complex that relining. You will be without your denture for a period of time up to several days.
Even though dentures are fabricated from extremely durable materials, they will break, wear out, lose a tooth, or their fit will change. Then it is time for denture repair. See your dentist as soon as possible to have a permanent repair done. Don’t try to repair it yourself, because it can make a broken denture unable to be repaired. Broken dentures are an accident that creates some life problems and discomfort. A possible solution is to have a duplicate denture at home. Sometimes this type of denture is referred to “embarrassment denture” because it saves a person from the embarrassment of being without teeth in an emergency or planned denture maintenance.
Call Urgent Dental Care at 314-423-0000 for an appointment.