A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth. A denture is made of acrylic resin, sometimes in combination with various metals, and comes in two types; complete denture or partial denture.
Complete dentures replace all the teeth, while a partial denture fills in the spaces created by missing teeth and prevents other teeth from changing position.
Complete dentures are either "conventional" or "immediate."
A conventional denture is placed in the mouth about a month after all the teeth are removed to allow for proper healing, whereas an immediate denture is placed as soon as the teeth are
removed, however a drawback to the immediate denture is that it may require more adjustments after the healing has taken place.
People who have lost most or all of their teeth are ideal candidates for complete dentures. A partial denture is suitable for those who have some natural teeth remaining.
Advantages of using a denture are that it improves chewing ability, speech and provides support for facial muscles whilst greatly enhancing the facial appearance and smile.
Fitting a denture takes about one month and five appointments. The process required to have a denture fitted is more complex than people think and follow the following pattern. An initial diagnosis is made then an impression and a wax bite are made to determine vertical dimensions and proper jaw position. After the taking dimensions a "try-in" is placed to assure proper color, shape and fit. Only after these steps have been taken is the patient's final denture placed.
New denture wearers need time to get accustomed to their new teeth because even the best fitting dentures will feel awkward at first. While most people can begin to speak normally within a few hours, many people report discomfort with eating for several days to a few weeks after having dentures fitted.
A denture is fragile, so it is important to handle it with care. Cleaning the denture is also important and requires the removal and brushing of the denture daily, preferably with a brush designed specifically for cleaning dentures. You should never use harsh, abrasive cleansers, including abrasives toothpastes, when cleaning dentures as they may scratch the surface of the denture. Sterilizing your denture with boiling water will cause it to become warped and is not a good idea.
If you wear a partial denture remove it before brushing your natural teeth and when not in use soak it in a cleanser solution or in water.
While you may be advised to wear your denture almost constantly during the first two weeks under normal circumstances it is considered best to remove dentures at night as research has shown that removing the denture for at least eight hours during either the day or night allows the gum tissue to rest and allows normal stimulation and cleansing by the tongue and saliva. This promotes better long-term health of the gums.
To maintain a proper denture fit over time, it may be necessary to adjust your denture or possibly remake your denture. Never attempt to adjust a denture yourself and do not use denture adhesives for a prolonged period because it can contribute to bone loss.
Dentures are no longer the only way to restore a mouth that has little or no non-restorable teeth. Strategically placed implants can also used to support permanently cemented bridges, eliminating the need for a denture. The cost tends to be greater, but the implants and bridges more closely resemble the feel of real teeth, although not everyone is a candidate for implants.
Sometimes dentures or partial dentures may irritate soft tissues in the mouth. If the irritation continues, a person may develop mouth sores, which can be found on the upper jaw, lower jaw, under the tongue, or on the palate. They are usually red and a little swollen. The main causes of theses denture sores include alcoholism, allergies, smoking and chewing tobacco.