Dentures are a removable set of teeth designed to replace your teeth following extractions (the removal of all teeth). These false teeth are embedded in acrylic designed to match the pigment of the natural gum tissue. Ideally, the acrylic is designed to rest on your gums or oral soft tissue that is firmly attached to bone.
When are dentures necessary?
- In the course of a lifetime, when home care and/or professional dental care is either neglected or absent, your teeth may suffer tremendous damage.
- Large fillings, fractures, or premature loss of teeth (causing the remaining teeth to tip and drift) creates a situation that can be too expensive and overwhelming for the average dental patient to fix. In many situations, the patient chooses to have all of their teeth removed and replaced by dentures.
- In uncontrolled Gum Disease (Periodontal Disease), when your teeth are missing sufficient bone support, full dentures may be your only choice to restore your ability to chew. The problem with the loss of bone is that there will be less bone available to support and retain your denture.
What are the different types of dentures?
These types of dentures are constructed when you do not want to go without teeth in the transition between having your own remaining teeth and getting your denture. After the dentures are constructed, your teeth are removed and the dentures are placed on the same day. This procedure means that you do not have to be without teeth for any period of time.
These dentures will likely become loose in about three to four months as the swelling decreases and your bone and gums heal. To help with the loose fit, your dentist may recommend a “reline” of your dentures at about three-six months. A reline is an acrylic lining that fills the space on the underside of the denture, allowing it to make greater contact with your gum tissue, producing a better fit. Although a reline will help improve the fit of your dentures, over time your bone continues to shrink (resorbs) without the presence of teeth. Further relines and/or a remake (a new set of dentures) may be necessary given time.
1. You do not have to be without teeth for any period of time.
- The complete remolding of the bone and the discomfort following full-mouth extractions takes time and patience to resolve.
- During the healing phase, it may be necessary to have several adjustments due to “denture sore spots.”
- Before it is time to do a reline, it may also be necessary to use a denture adhesive; adhesives come in the form of pastes, powders, and a cloth-like material. You may find the use of these adhesives very necessary yet undesirable.
Dentures following healing
These types of dentures are constructed after all of your teeth have been removed and bone and gums are healed. If it doesn’t bother you to be without teeth, you can have your teeth removed, wait about three to six months, and then have your dentures constructed. Over time, without teeth, your bone continues to shrink (resorb) and your dentures may need to be reline.
- Initially, this is a better-fitting denture than an immediate denture, because the bone and gums are healed prior to construction.
- Healing prior to construction eliminates the need for a six-month reline (but will probably require a reline over long periods of time).
- You are without teeth for three-six months during the healing phase.
- Without the presence of your teeth to chew food, you may likely lose weight.
- Following any weight loss (as little as five pounds), your dentures may become loose.
Implant-supported dentures/bar over-dentures
Bone resorption is probably the single most misunderstood factor in any decision to restore your mouth with dentures. Without the presence of teeth, your bone will continue to dissolve and shrink throughout your lifetime. Eventually, the fit and retention of your dentures, especially the lower denture, will be affected by this resorption. This is why a dental professional may discourage young patients from removing their teeth as an answer to their dental problems.
When there is not enough bone to support your dentures, bone grafts and implants can give you amazing support and retention. Once the implants have firmly attached themselves to your jaw bone (in about four to six months), the dentures can snap on over the implants or onto a bar attached to several implants. In some instances, the dentures are screwed onto the implants.
- An implant-supported denture demonstrates superior retention.
- Implants need to be cleaned thoroughly twice daily at home, just like your own teeth.
- Implants need to be cleaned by a dental professional at regular intervals.
- Without appropriate home care, the bone surrounding your implants can be affected by bacterial plaque, just like the bone around your natural teeth.
Partial dentures, or partials, accomplish just what the name implies: They are a removable set of teeth designed to fill the spaces between teeth you are planning to keep. There are basically two types of partials: the conventional cast chrome and acrylic partial and the “flexible” or all acrylic partial.
What are the different kinds of partials and how are they held in place?
- Conventional metal based partials have clasps made of metal “arms” that wrap around the teeth on either side of the space being restored by the artificial teeth in the partial. One of the disadvantages of clasps is that they may be seen when you talk or smile.
- Precision attachments, although more expensive, cannot be seen and may be a desirable alternative if you don’t want anything to show when you talk or smile. Precision attachments are built into the partial and added to a Crown or a Bridge with “boy and girl” parts. Once the crown with the attachment is cemented into place, the partial snaps down onto the crown, making the partial virtually undetectable to the average eye.
Flexible partials have clasps as well, however they are made out of the tooth or gum color of the flexible material; these partials show no metal, but have some disadvantages: it is difficult to add teeth to flexible partials if the patient should lose another tooth.
Care of your dentures and partials ( and teeth that anchor your partial)
Partials must be removed every night, and the remaining teeth must be thoroughly cleaned. Without proper home care and regular visits to a licensed dentist and dental hygienist, partials can create the further loss of teeth because it is very difficult to clean teeth with spaces throughout the mouth.
These removable appliances need to be thoroughly cleaned every day to remove bacterial plaque using an appropriate cleanser designed for dentures and partials only. Toothpaste is designed for teeth and is inappropriate for dentures and partials. Toothpaste will scratch the acrylic and create areas where bacteria and fungus can more effectively hide and grow. Do not use bleach or peroxide on these appliances, as they will lighten and whiten the color of the pink acrylic, and these agents will not whiten the teeth.
Remove your dentures and/or partials every night and soak them in a denture cleaner. The nighttime removal of your appliances allows your soft tissue to relax; if you neglect to remove them while sleeping, the tissue may become compressed and the appliance may start to feel loose. Furthermore, no matter how well you clean the tissue side of your appliances, they will still harbor bacteria against your soft tissue that may contribute to denture sore spots and mouth odor. In the morning, use a denture brush (not a toothbrush) and disinfectant hand soap to remove the loosened bacteria.
If your appliance should break, do not repair it with superglue. This type of repair will probably not hold up for any significant period of time. Superglue embeds itself into the acrylic and irreversibly alters the chemistry of the acrylic, making it more difficult to repair in the future.