Dr. Hanan A. Elsaie DDS,
America’s Top Dentists, Consumers’ Research Council of America, Guide to America’s Top Dentists
Dominion 1 Dental - Arlington, TX. Tel: (817) 784-7888
A denture is an artificial set of removable teeth which serves as replacement for missing teeth and adjacent tissues. A denture is made of acrylic resin, sometimes in combination with different metals. Dentures can be partial and complete; a partial denture fills in the spaces made by missing teeth and prevents other teeth from changing position, while complete dentures replace all the teeth, which are either immediate or conventional. An immediate denture is placed in the mouth as soon as the teeth are removed. A conventional denture, on the other hand, is placed in the mouth for about a month after all the teeth are removed for proper healing. An immediate denture may need more adjustments after the healing has taken place.
People who have some remaining natural teeth are advised to have a partial denture. Those people who have lost all or most of their teeth are advised to have complete dentures. The smile as well as facial appearance can be greatly improved with the use of dentures, which also improve speech, chewing ability and gives support for facial muscles.
The process of denture takes an approximate of one month and five dental visits. When all the teeth have been lost or all extraction sites have healed, a dentist can make a full conventional denture. In the denture process, the first diagnosis is made, an impression and a wax bite are made to determine the vertical dimensions and proper jaw position, a trial or a try-in is positioned to make sure of the right shape and color as well as proper fit. Minor adjustments are needed when the patient’s final denture is placed.
Patients who undergo the process of denture need time to get used to their new teeth, due to feelings of awkwardness at first. A minor speech difficulty, an increased salivary flow, as well as a slight change in facial appearance, are often noticed by people who wear dentures. A way of getting used to chewing with a new denture is by starting to chew soft and easy-to-chew foods.
It is essential to handle a denture with much care because it is fragile. A brush which is designed specifically for cleaning dentures can be used, with a denture cleanser or toothpastes. Remove and brush the denture daily. Use of abrasive toothpastes and harsh abrasive cleansers are discouraged because those products may scratch the surface of the denture. Never sterilize the denture with boiling water because this will cause it to become deformed or warped. Cleaning a partial denture before brushing the natural teeth is also a way of taking good care of dentures. Keep the denture in a safe and handy place to avoid the likelihood of misplacement. Soak the denture in water or in a cleanser solution when not in use.
Dentures, under normal circumstances, are considered best to remove at night; even if it is advised to wear it almost continuously during the first two weeks even while sleeping. Removing the denture for at least eight hours during the day or night lets the gum tissue rest and allows normal stimulation and cleansing by the tongue and saliva, as revealed by research studies. This helps better long-term health of the gums.
It is essential to have regular dental checkups so that the dentist can examine oral tissues for symptoms of disease or cancer. The mouth will continue to change as the bone under the denture shrinks or recedes, as in aging. It may be necessary to adjust the denture or possibly remake the denture to maintain a proper fit over time. Always consult a dentist when in doubt and never use denture adhesives for a prolonged period because it can contribute to bone loss, and never adjust the denture yourself.
Dentures are not just the only way to restore a mouth that has little or non-restorable teeth. Implants or strategically placed support can be used to support permanently cemented bridges, eliminating the need for a denture. The implants and bridges more closely resemble the feelings of real teeth, though the cost tends to be greater. It is always best to consult a dentist for advice.