Dentures

Replacing lost or missing teeth has substantial benefits for your health and appearance. A complete or full denture replaces the natural teeth and provides support for cheeks and lips. Without this support, sagging facial muscles can make a person appear older and reduce their ability to eat and speak.

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What is a denture?

A denture is an appliance which is worn to replace lost or missing teeth to enable you to enjoy a healthy diet and smile with confidence. A complete or full denture is one which replaces all of the natural teeth in either the upper or lower jaws. A partial denture fills in the spaces created by lost or missing teeth and is attached to your natural teeth with metal clasps or devices called precision attachments.

What are dentures made of?

The base of a denture is called a plate and can be made of either acrylic (plastic) or metal. The teeth are normally made of acrylic and can be made to match your natural teeth. This is especially important in the case of partial dentures.

Will dentures make me look different?

Dentures can be made to closely resemble your natural teeth so that little change in appearance will be noticeable. Modern dentures may even improve the look of your smile and help fill out the appearance of your face.

Will I be able to eat with dentures?

Eating will take a little practice. Start with soft foods cut into small pieces. Chew slowly using both sides of your mouth at the same time to prevent the denture from moving. As you become more used to your denture, add other foods until you return to your normal healthy diet.

Will dentures change how I speak?

Pronouncing certain words may require practice. Reading out loud and repeating difficult words will help. If you find that your dentures occasionally slip when you laugh, cough or smile, reposition the denture by gently biting down and swallowing. If this continues consult your dentist.

How long should I wear my dentures?

During the first few days, you may be advised to wear them for most of the time, including while you are asleep. After an initial period of adjustment your dentist may advise that you remove them before going to bed. This allows your gums to rest and helps promote oral health.

Should I use a denture fixative?

Dentures are custom made to fit your mouth and a denture fixative should not be necessary. However, over a period, dentures may become loose and ill-fitting and a fixative may be used for a short period prior to having them replaced. A poorly fitting denture may cause irritation and possible sores, this can often happen if you have worn Immediate Dentures for some time.

What is the difference between conventional and Immediate Dentures?

Conventional dentures are made and inserted after teeth have been removed and the tissues have healed. Healing may take several months. Immediate Dentures are inserted immediately after teeth have been removed. To do this, the dentist takes measurements and impressions of your mouth during a preliminary visit An advantage of Immediate Dentures is that the wearer does not have to be without teeth during the healing period. However, bone and gums can shrink over time, especially during the first six months after teeth have been removed. When gums shrink, Immediate Dentures may require relining or even replacing to fit properly.

What will dentures feel like?

New dentures may feel awkward or even uncomfortable for a few weeks until you become accustomed to them. The dentures may feel loose while the muscles of your cheek and tongue learn to keep them in place. Should this continue, consult your dentist. It is not unusual to experience minor irritation or soreness during this period. You may also find that saliva flow temporarily increases. As your mouth becomes accustomed to the dentures, these problems should diminish. If any problems persist, particularly irritation or soreness, be sure to consult your dentist.

How do I take care of my dentures?

Dentures are very delicate and may break if dropped. When cleaning dentures it is recommended that you do so over a folded towel or sink of water. When you are not wearing your dentures, they should be stored in a container containing enough water to cover them. Like natural teeth, dentures must be brushed daily to remove food debris and plaque. Brushing helps prevent dentures becoming stained and helps your mouth stay healthy. There are special denture cleaning brushes available but a soft bristled toothbrush can also be used. Avoid using hard-bristled brushes which can cause damage. The use of an effervescent denture cleaner will help remove stubborn stains and leave your denture feeling fresher.

Will my dentures need to be replaced?

Over a period of time, dentures will need to be relined or re-made due to normal wear or a change in the shape of your mouth. Bone and gum ridges can recede or shrink causing jaws to align differently. Loose dentures can cause health problems, including sores and infections not to mention discomfort. A loose or ill-fitting denture can also make eating and speaking more difficult. It is important to replace worn or poorly fitting dentures before they cause problems.

How often should I see my dentist?

Regular dental check-ups and having your teeth professionally cleaned are vital for maintaining healthy teeth and gums, most dentists recommend that under normal circumstances this should be done every 6 months. Full denture wearers should consult their dentist as to the frequency of visits.