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Dentures

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Dentures Overview

Dentures are replacements for missing teeth that can be taken out and put back into your mouth. While dentures take some getting used to, and will never feel exactly the same as your natural teeth, today’s dentures are natural looking and more comfortable than ever.

There are two main types of dentures: full and partial. Your dentist will help you choose the type of denture that’s best for you based on whether some or all of your teeth are going to be replaced and the cost involved.

With full dentures, a flesh-coloured acrylic base fits over your gums. The base of the upper denture covers the palate (the roof of your mouth), while that of the lower denture is shaped like a horseshoe to accommodate your tongue.

Dentures are custom-made in a dental laboratory from impressions taken of your mouth. Your dentist will determine which type of denture is best for you.

Additional Information

Conventional Full Denture

A conventional full denture is placed in your mouth after any remaining teeth are removed and tissues have healed. Healing may take several months, during which time you are without teeth.

Immediate Full Denture

An immediate full denture is inserted immediately after the remaining teeth are removed. (Your dentist takes measurements and makes models of your jaw during a prior visit.) While immediate dentures offer the benefit of never having to be without your teeth, they must be relined several months after being inserted. The reason is that the bone supporting the teeth reshapes as it heals, causing the denture to become loose.

Partial Denture

A partial denture rests on a metal framework that attaches to your natural teeth. Sometimes crowns are placed on some of your natural teeth and serve as anchors for the denture. Partial dentures offer a removable alternative to bridges.

What to expect:

In the beginning, your new denture may feel awkward or bulky. This is normal, and you will eventually become accustomed to wearing it.

Inserting and removing the denture will require some practice.

Follow all instructions given by your dentist. Your denture should fit into place with relative ease. Never force the denture into position by biting down. This could bend or break the clasps.

Your dentist will give you specific instruction about how long the denture should be worn and when it should be removed.

Initially, you may be asked to wear your denture all the time. Although this may be uncomfortable at first, it’s the quickest way to identify areas that may need adjustment.

If the denture puts too much pressure on a particular area, that spot will become sore. Your dentist will adjust the denture to fit more comfortably. After making adjustments, your dentist will probably recommend that you take the denture out of your mouth before going to bed and replace it in the morning.

Eating should become a more pleasant experience with dentures. Start out by eating soft foods that are cut into small pieces. Chew on both sides of the mouth to keep even pressure on both sides. Avoid foods that are extremely sticky or hard. You may want to avoid chewing gum during the adjustment period.

The denture can also help improve your speech. If you find it difficult to pronounce certain words, practice reading out loud. Repeat the words that give you trouble. With time, you will become accustomed to speaking properly with your denture.

How long before I get used to my dentures?

New dentures may feel awkward or uncomfortable for the first few weeks or even months. Eating and speaking with dentures might take a little practice. A bulky or loose feeling is not uncommon, while the muscles of your cheeks and tongue learn to hold your dentures in place. Excessive saliva flow, a feeling that the tongue does not have adequate room, and minor irritation or soreness are also not unusual. If you experience irritation, see your dentist.

Adjustments

Over time, adjusting the denture may be necessary. As you age, your mouth naturally changes, which can affect the fit of the denture. Your bone and gum ridges can recede or shrink, resulting in a poorly fitting denture.

Dentures that do not fit properly should be adjusted by your dentist. Poorly fitting dentures can cause various problems, including sores or infections. See your dentist promptly if your denture becomes loose, and maintain your regular visits, too.

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