Replacing missing teeth with dentures is important for maintaining the aesthetics of your face. Without the structure of the teeth as support, your cheeks & jaw may start to sag, leading to a more aged appearance.
With full or partial dentures, you will have your smile back & will regain chewing & biting ability, giving you the chance to enjoy foods that you may have had to avoid when you were missing teeth.
While dentures are an effective replacement for your teeth when it comes to the appearance of your smile & your face, when it comes to function, they are a prosthetic replacement. Just like someone with a prosthetic limb may have limited function compared to a real limb, dentures function differently from natural teeth. The stability of dentures varies from person to person, so the variety of foods that denture-wearers are able to eat also varies. The dentist can go over what foods you should avoid or eat differently (such as cutting meats into smaller pieces for ease of chewing). Speaking while wearing dentures sometimes takes getting used to, especially when forming “s” or “th” sounds. Any speech difficulty usually passes with practice.
What Are Dentures?
Dentures consist of a plastic base that is molded & colored to look like your gums. The teeth attached to this base are most often made from a plastic acrylic. The color of both the gums & tooth parts of dentures are customized in order to ensure they look as natural as possible in your mouth.
Dentures are false teeth for someone who is missing some or all of their teeth. Depending on how many teeth are missing, dentures can come with a full set of teeth or a partial set meant to fill in gaps between any remaining teeth.
Dentures on your top jaw typically cover the ridge of bone where your teeth used to be & the roof of your mouth (what dentists call the palate). Top dentures are held in place by suction between the palate & the denture. Because there is less for them to hold on to (no palate), dentures on your bottom jaw are not quite as secure & may take a little more getting used to.
Full dentures attach to your gums through suction between the roof of your mouth (what dentists call the palate) & the denture. Because there is less for them to hold on to (no palate), dentures on your bottom jaw are not quite as secure & may take a little more getting used to.
Partial dentures are secured in your mouth by clipping onto your existing teeth. In partials where the base structure is made of metal, the clips will be made from metal. This type of partial is also called a cast partial & it tends to be both thinner & more durable. However, the metal clips on a cast partial may be visible when a patient smiles, depending on which teeth are present & which are being replaced. In partials where the entire structure is plastic, sometimes called a flexible partial, the clips will also be made of plastic. These plastic clips are less visible when the patient smiles.
The procedure for getting dentures is fairly simple but may take multiple appointments. First, your dentist takes a mold or scan of your gums & any remaining teeth. From this mold we will make a model of your mouth so that we can create a denture that fits every small ridge or contour of your jawbone & gums. Your dentist will invite you back to try on your dentures & make sure they fit comfortably & securely. If the fit is good, you will be able to wear your new dentures home. If not, the dentist will make adjustments until it’s right.
Caring for your dentures is incredibly important — just as important as caring for natural teeth. Both full & partial dentures are removable & it is not recommended that they be worn at night. This gives your gums a chance to rest & allows your saliva to naturally lubricate your gums & the rest of your mouth. Dentures need to be cleaned overnight using special denture toothpaste & a soft-bristled toothbrush or denture brush. Be careful when cleaning not to drop your dentures on a hard surface; this is a frequent cause of denture breakage. We recommend laying out a towel or filling the sink basin with water while you clean your dentures. Dentures should be soaked overnight in a denture solution to keep them moist as drying out may cause brittleness.