People are taking better care of their teeth, so dentures are required less frequently now than they have been in previous generations. However, dentures continue to be a replacement for missing teeth.
Depending on the patient’s individual needs, partial or full dentures may be used. Partial dentures are created when some of the patient’s natural teeth remain. Full dentures are used when a patient has no natural teeth remaining.
There are two types of full dentures.
Conventional full dentures: This appliance is created after all the natural teeth are removed from a patient’s mouth. Before the denture is placed, the mouth and gum tissue is given time to heal. The healing process can take months, which means the patient is likely to be without teeth the entire period.
Immediate full dentures: In this application, measurements are taken in advance and the denture is fabricated before the natural teeth are removed. When the appliance is ready, the natural teeth are removed and the dentures are immediately placed in the mouth. The benefit to this treatment is the patient is not without teeth for an extended period. Follow-up visits will need to be scheduled by the patient so the dentist can re-fit the denture if the jawbone has slightly changed shape as the mouth heals. Dentures usually need to be tightened as the jaw heals.
Partial dentures are used when some natural teeth remain. A partial denture is similar to a bridge, but a partial denture is not a permanent fixture in your mouth.
Some patience is required by patients as they adjust to the dentures. The flesh-colored base of the appliance is placed over the gum and patients often complain the denture is too bulky and there isn’t enough room for the tongue. At this stage, patients also complain the denture is loose and doesn’t fit correctly. Over time, the mouth gets used to the denture and it becomes a natural part of the mouth.
Dentures should be cared for like natural teeth. A denture should be brushed to remove plaque and food particles when it is removed from the mouth. Once the denture is removed, it should be placed in room temperature water or a denture cleaning solution.
Hot water should never be used because it can warp the denture. A denture is a delicate appliance and should be handled with care. Never try to adjust a denture at home. All adjustments should be done by a dentist.