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Dentures

Introduction

Types of Dentures

What will dentures feel like?

Should I use a denture adhesive?

Will I be able to eat with my dentures?

How long should I wear my dentures?

Will dentures change how I speak?

Should a denture be worn at night?

How do I take care of my dentures?

Can I make minor adjustments or repairs to my dentures?

Will my dentures need to be replaced?

How often do I need to visit the Dentist?

Summary

References


Introduction

A Denture is a set of false teeth. Dentures have been around for many years. The earliest form of denture was introduced more than 2,000 years ago.

Today, dentures are of better quality and are more comfortable than ever before. Modern dentures can be made of acrylic, fiberglass, metal, or a combination of these materials. A denture is generally made to replace missing teeth that are not possible to replace by a fixed bridge. Replacing missing teeth has substantial benefits for your health and your appearance.

Getting a denture made can prevent problems that arise when missing teeth are not replaced:

  • Inability to eat properly.

  • Appearance problems - missing teeth in the front of the mouth are obviously visible. The lips and cheeks may also sink-in to give a wrinkled appearance.

  • Drifting of adjoining teeth and over-eruption of opposing teeth.

  • Improved speech

A fixed bridge is superior to a removable denture because it is anchored more securely is less bulky, and places less stress on the underlying gums. It easier to chew food and speak naturally. However, there are situations when it is technically not possible to make a bridge.


Types of Dentures

A complete denture, also called a full denture, replaces all the natural teeth and provides support for cheeks and lips. Without this support, sagging facial muscles can make a person appear older. Complete dentures can be either "conventional" or "immediate" according to when they are made and when they are inserted into the mouth. A Partial denture replaces some teeth.

  • Conventional dentures are made and inserted after the remaining teeth are removed and the tissues have healed. Healing may take several months.

  • Immediate dentures are inserted immediately after the removal of the remaining teeth. To make this possible, the dentist takes measurements and makes the models of the patient's jaws 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, bones and gums can shrink over time, especially during the period of healing in the first six months after the removal of teeth. When gums shrink, immediate dentures may require rebasing or relining to fit properly.


What will dentures feel like?

Your new dentures are likely to hurt for some time after being inserted in the mouth. This should settle down within a few days. New dentures may feel awkward 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 and you may find that saliva flow temporarily increases. This is something new for the mouth and the mouth will need some days to adjust. If your dentures still hurt after the initial period, you may need to get them adjusted.

One or more follow-up appointments with the dentist are generally needed after a denture is inserted.


Should I use a denture adhesive?

Dentures are made to fit precisely and usually do not require use of an adhesive for comfort. In an emergency, denture adhesives can be used to keep the dentures stable until you see the dentist, but prolonged use can mask infections and cause bone loss in the jaw. Likewise, a poorly-fitting denture, which causes constant irritation over a long period, may lead to the development of sores. If your dentures begin to feel loose, or cause pronounced discomfort, see your dentist immediately.


Will I be able to eat with my dentures?

Eating will take a bit of practice. Start with soft foods cut into small pieces. Chew slowly using both sides of your mouth at the same time to prevent the dentures from tipping. Gradually add other foods until you return to your normal diet. Be cautious with hot or hard foods and sharp-edged bones or shells.


How long should I wear my dentures?

Your dentist will provide instructions about how long dentures should be kept in place. During the first few days, you may be advised to wear them most of the time, including while you sleep. After the initial adjustment period, you may be instructed to remove the dentures before going to bed. This allows gum tissues to rest and promotes oral health.


Will dentures change how I speak?

Pronouncing certain words may require practice. Reading out loud and repeating troublesome words will help. If your dentures "click" while you're talking, speak more slowly.

You may find that your dentures occasionally slip when you laugh, cough or smile. Reposition the dentures by gently biting down and swallowing. If a speaking problem persists, consult your dentist.


Should a denture be worn at night?

While you may be advised to wear your new denture almost constantly during the first two weeks-even while you sleep-under normal circumstances it is considered best to remove it at night. 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 gums.


How do I take care of my dentures?

Dentures are delicate and may break if dropped even a few inches. When you are not wearing them, store your dentures away from children and pets.

It is very important to look after your dentures properly. Dentures need to be removed after every meal, cleaned and then reinserted. It is necessary to thoroughly clean your dentures at least once every day to remove the accumulated deposits.

Brushing helps prevent dentures from becoming permanently stained and helps your mouth stay healthy. It's best to use a brush designed for cleaning dentures. A toothbrush with soft bristles can also be used. Avoid using hard-bristled brushes that can damage dentures.

Some denture wearers use hand soap or mild dishwashing liquid, which are both acceptable for cleaning dentures. Avoid using other powdered household cleansers, which may be too abrasive.

Dentures may lose their shape if they are allowed to dry out. When they are not worn, dentures should be placed in a denture cleanser soaking solution or in water. Your dentist can recommend the best method. Never place dentures in hot water, which could cause them to warp.

Ultrasonic cleaners are also used to care for dentures. However, using an ultrasonic cleaner does not replace a thorough daily brushing.


Can I make minor adjustments or repairs to my dentures?

No! See your dentist if your dentures break, crack, chip, or if one of the teeth becomes loose. A dentist can often make the necessary adjustments or repairs on the same day. A person who lacks the proper training will not be able to reconstruct the denture. This can cause greater damage to the denture and may cause problems in your mouth. Glue sold over-the-counter often contains harmful chemicals and should not be used on dentures.


Will my dentures need to be replaced?

A well-made denture will help you eat better, feel better and look better. But these dentures have a life span, depending on the material chosen.

Over time, dentures will need to be relined, remade or rebased due to normal wear. To make a rebased denture, the dentists uses the existing denture teeth and makes a new denture base. Dentures may need to be replaced because a mouth naturally changes with age. After a denture has given it's life it needs to be replaced to prevent damaging your mouth.


How often do I need to visit the Dentist?

Your dentist will advise you about how often to visit. Regular dental check-ups are important. The dentist will examine your mouth to see if your dentures continue to fit properly. The dentist also examines your mouth for signs of oral diseases including cancer.


Summary

It is important to appreciate that a denture is basically a compromise. Only when other solutions are not possible will your dentist think of making a denture. But then having some teeth to chew with and show-off is better than having nothing in the mouth.

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References

Dr. Deepak Vaswani, Oral Surgeon @ http://members.rediff.com/deepakvaswani/index.htm

American Dental Association @ http://www.ada.org

Dentures: Get your smile back @ http://www.drjay.com/dentures.htm


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