So you’re considering getting dentures. You’ve realized you need them, whether you’ve lost some teeth due to injury, gum disease, or tooth decay, or you just want a full, bright smile. Whatever the case, we have all the info that you’ll need to know about dentures and what to expect if you decide to get them.
What Are Dentures?
Dentures are basically replacements for any missing teeth. This can include full dentures or partial dentures. There are two basic types of dentures: full and partial. Although they may seem self-explanatory, there are also details that many people don’t know about.
Full dentures are the type that most people imagine — a full set of pearly whites with a flesh-colored section that fits over your gums. The base of an upper denture covers the entire roof of your mouth, while the lower denture is shaped like a horseshoe (otherwise it would get in the way of your tongue). Under the umbrella of full dentures, there are two subtypes of full replacements: conventional and immediate.
Conventional Full Dentures
A conventional full denture job is when the dentist removes any remaining teeth and gives your tissues time to heal, which can take several months. So yes, you will have no teeth for many months. Then once all the tissues in your mouth are healed, they will give you a full set of teeth.
Immediate Full Denture
When you get immediate full dentures, you get your replacement teeth right after your remaining teeth are removed. This option is nice because you don’t go without teeth for months. But on the flip side, several months after you get them, the dentist will have to reline them because the bone supporting your teeth re-shapes as it heals.
Partial denture replacements, which can be removable, involve attaching a metal framework to your natural teeth. Sometimes the dentist will have to put crowns in, then attach the denture to those crowns as anchors. The temporary partial denture is often called a tooth flipper.
The Materials In Dentures
You probably want to know what dentures are made of, seeing that you’ll be putting them in your mouth and eating and drinking with them in. Let’s break down each part of dentures and look at what the materials are.
Typically, the teeth of dentures are made from different types of resin or porcelain. Although resin is the preferred material nowadays, porcelain is still used in some cases. Some of the benefits of porcelain teeth are:
- They look very similar to real tooth enamel and can be color matched to natural teeth
- They feel similar to real teeth, making them easier to get used to
- They are much harder than resin dentures, making them last longer
But they do have some disadvantages:
- They are more breakable if dropped
- They can wear down natural teeth when biting
Recently, acrylic resin dentures have been the most common type. Here’s why:
- Thanks to a new technique, they’re more durable
- Acrylic adheres better
- They’re significantly cheaper than porcelain dentures
But of course, these, too, have disadvantages:
- They wear down faster than porcelain teeth
- They may need to be replaced every 5-8 years
All dentures need a framework for support, which is also called a plate. This plate is usually made from one or more of these types of materials: acrylic resin, nylon polymer, or chrome cobalt metal.
How Dentures Are Made
If you choose to get dentures, the dentist will take an impression of your gums, which they then use to create a mold. They take that mold and use it as the basis for a wax model, to which they add the artificial teeth. And this can take differing amounts of time, depending on whether you choose a conventional or immediate denture replacement.
Dentures Near Me
You don’t want to travel across your state just to take care of your teeth. That’s why the question on your mind may be, “How can I find someone near me to do my dental work?” We actually have a tool to answer this very question. Using this search tool, you can enter your zip code to see what dentists are near you. We have a database of 100,000 dental professionals, so you’re bound to find a quality one near you.
How To Get Dentures
This brings us to the question, how do you go about getting dentures? In this section, we’ll take you through the step-by-step process of getting dentures so you know what to expect.
Talk With Your Dentist
This is a conversation that will probably happen naturally as you have regular dentist visits. You or your dentist can bring it up and talk about your options. Once you’ve settled on getting dentures, with your dentist’s recommendation, you’ll start the process of removing unhealthy teeth and getting fitted for a replacement piece.
After your dentist has evaluated the condition of your natural teeth and determined the best course of action and what type of dentures to get, they will figure out which teeth are healthy or unhealthy. You’ll schedule a time to have the unhealthy teeth removed and leave any remaining teeth intact. And as mentioned before, it will take several months for your gums to heal, and your dentist will discuss waiting for dentures or getting immediate dentures.
Next, your dentist will take an impression of your mouth, as we briefly mentioned above. You’ll continue to go back for appointments where they will take more impressions of your mouth to track any changes (as healing mouth will change slightly). This will give your dentist an exact image of your mouth in order to get perfectly fitted dentures.
Choosing Your Teeth
This may seem like a big decision, but just think of it like trying on some new clothes. They have to blend well with your face and fit your personality. Basically, they should look like your natural teeth. Dentures come with different shapes, sizes, and hues of teeth, so you’ll have options. And not to worry, your dentist will be there to help you decide. Also, it’s a great idea to bring a close friend or family member with you so they can give you their input.
This is the moment when the dentures go into your mouth for the first time. Your dentist will put them in, and you’ll wear them every day until your next visit, where you can make any adjustments to make sure they fit perfectly and are as comfortable as possible.
Getting Used To Your New Dentures
Understandably, adjusting to your dentures can be difficult, especially for the first few weeks or months. Simple things like talking or eating may need some practice. The muscles of your cheeks and tongue will have to learn to hold the dentures in place. You may have extra saliva. It might feel like your tongue doesn’t have enough room. And your mouth may be generally sore or irritated. These are all common issues. Fortunately, there are things you can do to ease the process of getting used to your dentures.
Here’s a list of some things you can do to care for your dentures and make the adjustment to your new teeth easier:
- Remove and rinse: after you’re done eating, remove your dentures and rinse them with water to remove any food particles.
- Handle with care: these are your new teeth, so it’s important to be careful with them — try not to bend or damage any of the parts during cleaning.
- Clean your mouth: after you remove the dentures to clean them, don’t forget to clean your mouth as well — simply get a soft toothbrush and lightly brush any of your remaining teeth, your tongue, the roof of your mouth, and your gums.
- Brush daily: you’ll want to brush your dentures at least daily — when you brush your mouth with a toothbrush, brush every part of your dentures. We recommend using ultrasonic denture cleaner for a perfect clean up.
- Soak overnight: when you go to bed, drop your dentures in water or a gentle denture-soaking solution (check with your dentist and the manufacturer’s soaking instructions).
- Checkups: it’s important to have regular dental checkups so your dentist can examine your dentures and give them a professional cleaning.
In addition to proactively caring for your dentures, you will want to avoid certain things too. Here are just a few things to stay away from:
- Rough cleaning materials: stiff-bristled toothbrushes, harsh toothpaste, etc.
- Whitening toothpaste: the peroxide won’t actually change the color of your dentures much.
- Bleach products: these can weaken your dentures and change their color for the worse.
- Hot water: this could warp your dentures.
Common Denture Problems
If you experience problems with your new dentures, just know that it’s common for that to happen. The most common issues with dentures include soreness, difficulty swallowing or talking, and loosening when your mouth is open wide (like during yawning). You may experience the dentures shifting in your mouth — if this continues to happen, you should a use a denture adhesive.
Also don’t be surprised if you have problems saying certain sounds, like “S” or “Th” sounds. This isn’t something you should worry about as your dentist can usually correct it by adjusting the dentures. Basically, anything that seems like a denture problem, the best thing to do is contact your dentist.
Dentures vs. Implants
Just a quick word here on how dentures and dental implants are different. Both meet the need of replacing missing teeth. Generally, dentures are not as expensive as implants. In fact, there are a lot of options to get cheap or even free dentures.
Also dentures are more easily removable. However, implants can be easier to care for as you can treat them like your natural teeth. It all comes down to your preference and what your dentist recommends for you. Every mouth is different.