Dental dentures, or dentures as they are more simply known, are artificial teeth that are placed on the gums and remaining teeth in order to restore full dental function.
Dentures are necessary because life can become quite a task without all your natural teeth. Not only do you become self conscious and unwilling to participate in social circles, it will also affect your ability to enjoy everyday foods, speech and you may even find it changing the shape of your face. If you have more than a few missing teeth you should definitely consider having dentures installed. In fact, if you leave the gaps as they are over time the teeth next to them will begin to lean into the space and they may themselves eventually also fall out.
There are several benefits of having dentures. The first is that they restore your natural ability to chew. Decades ago, dentures were considered to be something that was used by old people to help them chew their food – not much attention was paid to how they could be used to improve speech. Over time, dentures are used by all adults and they have been refined over the years to help people pronounce their words correctly.
The other benefit that you get from wearing dentures is they can be customized to your needs. Today, there are different kinds of dentures available (more on that shortly) and they can be designed to suit your needs exactly. You don’t even have to be missing a large number of teeth – you can have dentures made that replace a section of missing.
Not many people know this, but when you have missing teeth your face will lose its shape over time – your teeth are part of the support structure for your facial muscles. If you have dentures placed you can retain the shape of your face of as long as you live.
Lastly, and this is a big one, dentures are the most cost effective way of replacing missing teeth!
It is important to mention that dentures do have some disadvantages. The first is that they can be uncomfortable – that is why many people choose to remove them as soon as they get home. Denture care can also be cumbersome especially for the elderly. The other disadvantage is that they can take a few adjustments before they fit correctly.
All these things considered, dentures still have more advantages than they do disadvantages.
Different types of dentures
There are different types of dentures that you can choose from and the ones that you choose will depend on your particular needs. The best thing to do is discuss your options with your dentist – he will examine you and tell you what the possibilities are and then you can make up your mind depending on your needs and also how much you plan to spend. Conventional dentures are the first kind, and these involve the removal of all the teeth, which takes several months, so that as soon as the gums are completely healed you can replace everything with a set of removable dentures. Immediate dentures take a shorter time to install since your measurements are taken and then when you come in the next time, they will be placed when the rest of the teeth are pulled out. You will go around teeth until your gums are healed after which you can come in for the rest of the dentures.
An overdenture is also a possibility when you have a few good remaining teeth left. The dentist may not find it necessary to pull them – in fact, because they provide support for the denture that will be installed he may be very much in favor of leaving them in. He will build a denture that he can fit around them.
The process of getting dentures
Getting dentures will require more than one visit to the dentist. The first thing he will do is a full examination to determine the health of your teeth. He will see how many of them he needs to pull and this will determine whether you require full or partial dentures. The pulling of the teeth can be a bit of a challenge but you shouldn’t worry too much as you will be under anesthesia the whole time. The rate of healing of the gums will depend on how many teeth are taken out and also your body’s natural healing ability.
After the teeth are pulled and the gums have healed a mold will be made of your mouth and gums so as to get the denture shape and size just right. You can then choose the kind of dentures you want depending on your former teeth (you don’t want to look too different) and also thinks like your skin color and style. You will then go home and wait until the dentist calls you to tell you that your dentures are ready for you to collect.
At the appointment you will try out the dentures to see how they fit. Most dentists ask their patients to go home and try their dentures for a week or two before adjustments can be made. The adjustments may take a few days depending on how many there are to be made and also whether they are done in the dentist’s office – if he has to send them off to a lab it can take a few days. Once all adjustments are made and you are more comfortable with your dentures you can go off and enjoy your new smile.
Care for dentures
After you get your new dentures you may feel uncomfortable for anything from a few weeks to a few months. Your mouth may also feel sore and the teeth unnatural – this is quite normal and will go away with time. As for the dentures themselves, the dentist will give you a solution or pills that you will use to clean your dentures every night. He will also show you the best technique. You also have to keep your guns clean for optimal oral hygiene – brush them with a soft brush every day and use a mouthwash to keep your breath fresh. If your dentures begin to discolor with time the dentist can bleach them back to a whiter shade. If they suffer any damage, such as cracks or chips make sure to take them in for repairs. Never leave your dentures out in the open – the dry air can cause them to dry and warp. If you take them out of your mouth place them in a glass of water until you can wear them again.