Dentures – What You Should Know?

What is a denture? It’s actually a piece you can place in your mouth to cover missing teeth and the surrounding tissues that’s removable. There are two types of dentures you can choose from: complete or partial. If you’re missing all of your teeth, then you want the complete set, while you’ll want the partial if you’re only missing some teeth.

Complete Dentures

With these dentures, you’ll find that there are two types of complete dentures: conventional and immediate. For the conventional dentures, you’ll have the set made after all of your teeth have been removed and your gum tissue has had time to heal. This usually takes place about eight to twelve weeks after this removal of your teeth.

For immediate dentures, you’ll find that your set was made prior to the teeth being removed so that it would be ready to place upon the removal of your teeth. This means you’ll have teeth you can use even as your gums heal. The only problem you may run into with this type of denture is that you may experience shrinkage in your bones and gums during the healing phase, meaning these dentures may not fit as well. Because of this, you’ll need more fittings to get your immediate set to fit better than you would for a conventional set so they’ll fit properly as you heal. You may find that immediate dentures work best as a temporary set as you wait to place your conventional one upon the completion of your healing period.

Partial Dentures

This type of denture is also removable like the complete set, but it consists of teeth that are attached to a plastic base matched to your gum color, which can also be connected by framework  of metal to hold these dentures in place. If you have more than one natural teeth still in your mouth, you’ll find these are the dentures to use for either the upper or lower jaw. Also known as a bridge, this denture replaces your missing teeth through artificial ones. It’s cemented into place and has the ability to work much like a retainer by keeping your natural teeth from shifting even as it provides you with more teeth within your mouth. With a precision denture, you can remove it and place it through internal attachments rather than clasping it to adjacent crowns within your mouth. This gives you a more natural-looking appearance.

What are alternatives to dentures?

If you don’t like the idea of dentures, you can look into the possibility of tooth implants, which are used to support cemented bridges to rid yourself of the need for dentures. While the cost will be higher than it is for dentures, you’ll find that these implants and bridges will give your mouth and teeth a more natural appearance and feel. While they can be a great alternative, they aren’t meant for everyone. You’ll want to check available options with your dentist before setting your heart on them.

Are dentures covered by insurance?

While you’ll find that many insurance companies will cover some or all of these costs, you’ll want to consult your company prior to getting them so you know what they cover specifically.

How are they made?

The process of making your dentures will take several appointments and a few weeks to complete from start to finish. Your dentist or prosthodontist will determine which type is best for your mouth by following these steps:

  1. Create impressions of your jaw and measurements of both jaws as they relate to each other and the available space between them.
  2. These impressions will be followed with denture molds, wax forms, or plastic patterns to get the exact shape and size you’ll need. These models will need to be “try in” so your dentist can evaluate the color, shape, and fit before they make the final cast of your dentures.
  3. Then, it’s time to cast that final denture set.
  4. Any adjustments can be made as necessary with the final denture set.

How do they feel?

You may find that your new dentures will take some time to become comfortable and natural as you learn how to use your cheek muscles and tongue to keep them in place and as you learn to insert and remove them. Expect them to feel loose or odd at first. You may also find yourself feeling sore or irritated by your dentures as well as increased flow of your saliva, much like you would with a retainer or mouth guard, but these symptoms should subside as you adjust to the new dentures.

How will they affect my looks?

Because your dentures are made to look like your natural teeth, there shouldn’t be a large noticeable change with your appearance. You may even find that your dentures have improved your features by making your smile more pleasant and your face fuller and healthier.

How hard is it to eat with dentures?

Like anything new, you’ll need to practice with your new dentures as you eat. You can expect some discomfort for the first few weeks. You should start with soft foods that are cut into small pieces so you can get used to your dentures by chewing slowly with both sides of your mouth. The more you practice with your dentures, the quicker you’ll be able to return to your normal diet. You should be highly careful with any foods containing sharp bones or shells as well as anything hot or hard. The same can be said about sticky foods, including gum. One final piece of advice is avoid using toothpicks when you have your dentures in place.

Do they affect speech?

You may find some words are harder to pronounce with your new dentures, but you should be able to pronounce them with some time and practice. You should be able to speak properly with dentures after you’ve grown accustomed to them.

You should consult your dentist is you hear or feel a “click” in your dentures when you speak. They can slip a bit when you laugh, cough, or even smile. To get them back into position, you should bite down on them slightly and swallow. If you’re still experiencing problems, you should consult your dentist or prosthodontist.

How long should you wear dentures?

You may find you’ll need to wear your dentures all the time for the first several days depending on what your dentist or prosthodontist instructs you to do, even while you sleep. While it can be uncomfortable, it’s the easiest way for you to find spots where your dentures need some adjustments. With the adjustments correctly made, you’ll be instructed to take your dentures out before you go to sleep. This is how you’ll your gum tissue a break and give them time to regain normal stimulation with cleansing done by your tongue and saliva while you sleep. It can be replaced when you wake in the morning. Use ultrasonic cleaners to clean up your dentures.

When should I use adhesive?

Here are some circumstances when you can use adhesives for your dentures:

  1. To keep your dentures properly set after they’ve been constructed right. They can help with retention, stability, your sense of security, and your bite force.
  2. If you’re experiencing dry mouth conditions that are working against adhesion with your dentures naturally. This can happen to those taking cold medications, neurologic disabilities (strokes), and the elderly.
  3. To keep dentures stable and secure when one puts unusual demands on your facial muscles. Musicians and public speakers, for example, may find adhesives beneficial.

When are adhesives not advisable?

You will find that there are times you shouldn’t use denture adhesives, including:

  1. If you’re dentures don’t fit or they are constructed properly, this isn’t a fix for them. You should see your dentist quickly if your dentures are loose, uncomfortable, or causing sore.
  2. If you haven’t checked with your dentist in a while to see about your gum and jawbone health. You may find you need an adjustment or new dentures.
  3. If you can’t keep up with oral hygiene properly.
  4. If you find you need to keep increasing the amount of adhesive to keep your dentures in place because you haven’t visited your dentist in a long time. Again, you may need an adjustment or new dentures.
  5. If you’re allergic to any of the ingredients within an adhesive.

How do you apply adhesives to your dentures?

These are some helpful tips to assist you in applying your denture adhesive:

  • Only use a small amount that will provide you the most adhesion for your dentures. Less is more for this. You can always apply a little more until your dentures feel comfortable.
  • Make sure the adhesive is spread evenly over the tissue-bearing surface of your dentures.
  • Only use enough to give you the desired effect in application or re-application.
  • Make sure your dentures are clean before applying adhesive.
  • They are only as good as the dentures. Make sure your dentures fit well within your mouth.

Are there different types of adhesive?

  1. You can apply pastes to dry dentures, but they work better with wet ones. You’ll want to avoid the borders of the denture when applying paste. If there’s ooze, lessen the amount of product. The upper jaw denture only needs three small strips or even just dots along the ridge and center of the denture. The lower jaw denture needs three small strips or dots just along the ridge of the denture.
  2. Sprinkle a thin, even layer over the entire surface of the tissue-bearing side. You’ll need to shake off any excess before pressing the dentures into place. Some prefer powders over paste for their easier clean up. They also keep your dentures from moving away from your gum tissue like pastes can.

Are adhesives safe?

As with anything else, you’ll want to follow the directions to ensure safe use. When your dentures fit well and the adhesive you place on them gives added stability, you shouldn’t suffer any ill effects from the adhesive. However, if you’re using too much or your dentures don’t fit well, you could possibly be harming your soft and hard tissues of your gums and bones. You can tell by inflammation of your soft tissues or even bone loss from ill-fitting dentures.