Dentures are a removable, convenient (one of the quicker options for full tooth replacement), beautiful and a natural-looking tooth replacement option, that replaces missing or decayed teeth. The dental profession uses the word partial denture if a removable denture is expected to replace one or more missing teeth, but not a whole arch of teeth. There are different types of dentures available based on your needs including:
- Removable partial dentures - This type of denture replaces one or more missing teeth either in the lower or upper jaw, but not a whole arch. A partial denture glides or snaps to place by attaching to typically two or more remaining natural teeth. The materials of a partial consist of pink acrylic to resemble gum tissue, strong and reinforced plastic teeth (there are a few teeth choices) and then what we call a major connector. The major connector is the part that attaches the partial to natural remaining teeth. This connector can be made of a cobalt chromium alloy metal or a variety of tooth colored options.
- Implant retained dentures - An implant retained denture is one that is attached to and supported by two or more implants, which improves the denture's stability and bite function. An implant is a screw-like fixture that is surgically placed and the bone grows to this structure and an attachment in the denture will adhere to the immobile implant creating an improved stable denture base for eating and speaking. Implants are commonplace and routine and while it may sound daunting, people that have implants placed typically report little to no discomfort.
- Removable full dentures - A full or complete denture is a removable tooth replacement option that we have clearly already reviewed that all the teeth in at least one arch are replaced. (There can be an upper denture and a lower denture per individual.)
As your dentist in Scottsdale, AZ, we will review all your options as well as the pro and cons of each option to help recommend the denture type best suited for your needs and expectations depending on the number of teeth that need to be replaced. Whether a full or partial denture not only will it improve the appearance of your face and smile but also ensure long-term oral health and provide facial support. Having dentures enhances your oral function and helps you look and feel good. Teeth replacement is essential to your health as chewing your food is necessary for digestion and if not properly chewed, it can alter nutrition and even cause gastrointestinal (G.I.) or “stomach” issues.
Advantages of Dentures
- Dentures are designed to be comfortable, fully functional, and aesthetically pleasing, so you can eat and speak without any issues.
- They are a cost-effective option to replace your missing teeth
- They quickly restore your oral functionality, smile, and confidence, as they are designed to function as closely to your natural teeth as possible.
- They support facial muscles and structures of your lips and cheeks to ensure a beautiful and healthy smile and improved facial appearance.
- They can be customized to match your natural teeth size, shape, and color.
- You can get dentures on the same day immediately after the tooth extraction process. So, you never have to be without teeth!
- If additional teeth are removed or lost in the future, it is sometimes possible to modify partial dentures to accommodate the additional tooth loss.
Disadvantages of Dentures
- Dentures may initially require frequent adjustments especially immediate dentures, including soft and hard relining procedures to accommodate the changes in the gums and bone structure.
- Dentures cover the roof of your mouth, so you might initially have difficulty tasting food. Rest assured that your other taste buds will start to accommodate this change and you will taste food normally with time.
- Dentures and partial dentures should be taken out of the mouth at night and kept in water overnight. Your mouth needs time to rest and breathe while sleeping.
- Dentures and partial dentures need to be thoroughly cleaned every day by brushing both the teeth side and the tissue side out of your mouth, over a soft surface is advised if one is accidently dropped.
- Sometimes, dentures can slide or slip, making it difficult to eat and speak. It is also inevitable that some food particles will get lodged under a denture. If this happens, one needs to rinse the mouth with water and may need to take one or both dentures out to rinse as well.
- Dentures may break or crack if dropped, requiring adjustments, repairs or replacements.
What to Expect with New Dentures
Making a habit of wearing new dentures may take some time. Once your denture is fitted, it may feel strange at the beginning, but this is normal. As new dentures settle in, you might experience minor difficulties and soreness for the first few hours to weeks. However, everything will feel normal once your mouth, tongue, and facial muscles get used to dentures.
Here are some difficulties that you can expect with your new dentures:
- Sore Spots:Your dentist will schedule a follow-up appointment within 24-48 hours of delivering your new dentures to you, as you may develop sore spots during this time. Determine and make note of the areas of your sore spots so that you can translate this information to us to more easily locate the areas that need to be adjusted to prevent future problems. It is not advisable to adjust your dentures yourself, as you might harm your mouth, misshape or break your new teeth replacement prosthesis. If you remove your dentures, make sure you put them back in your mouth and eat one to two meals before your next dental appointment. This will help us find the exact problems more quickly, save you time and help us adjust your dentures accordingly.
- Eating with New Dentures: Eating with new dentures requires some practice. You should first start with soft foods, including bananas, scrambled eggs, pastas and mashed potatoes. Make sure to cut the food into small pieces and chew slowly to help keep your dentures in place. You should chew on both sides of your mouth, rather than with your front teeth. This will prevent your dentures from dislodging. It may be difficult to hold your lower denture in place. In such circumstances, you can hold it in place with your tongue by touching the inner surface of the lower denture. Dentures only function about 10% as to your natural teeth, so avoid chewy and hard foods. You will learn tips for eating on your own quickly and know what works for you. For instance, if you want to bite into something firm, by placing your tongue on the roof of the mouth, this will help an upper denture stay in place.
- Speaking with New Dentures: Speaking with new dentures also requires some time to get used to. Certain sounds and words might be more difficult than before. To get used to dentures, practice speaking, or reading out loud. Speak slowly until you have mastered holding your dentures in place if your dentures make a clicking sound when you talk. This happens when your dentures are not placed perfectly, and it is normal for new denture-users.
- Increased Saliva: It is quite normal to experience an increased saliva flow with new dentures. However, it will diminish once you get used to wearing dentures.
How Long Can Dentures Last?
A denture typically should be remade every 5 years but sometimes the life can be extended to 10 years with excellent maintenance and care. Regardless if you have teeth or do not have any natural teeth, it is always safest to have a thorough exam and tissue by a dentist every six months. Your mouth tissues and dentures change over time and your dentures may become loose. Denture wearers experience these changes within a few weeks to a year which is why you need to see your dentist on a regular basis for any adjustments and to have a tissue check for any abnormalities including oral cancer screenings.