A removable placement for missing teeth and adjacent tissues are called dentures. Dentures are made of acrylic resin, sometimes with different types of metals. Complete dentures replace all teeth in your mouth, but a partial denture fills the spaces created by missing teeth and also prevents other teeth from changing position. Complete dentures are considered either “conventional” or “immediate.” A conventional denture is placed in the mouth a month after all teeth are removed so it can properly heal, but an immediate denture is placed right after the teeth are removed. The bad thing about immediate dentures is that it could require additional adjustments after healing.
Is there a difference between conventional dentures and immediate dentures?
Complete dentures are also called conventional or immediate according to when they were inserted in the mouth and when they were made.
Immediate dentures are placed right after the removal of the remaining teeth. The dentist takes measurements and models of the patient’s jaws in a consultation visit.
The advantage of immediate dentures is that the patient doesn’t have to be without teeth during the period of healing. This is because the bones and gums shrink over time, in particular the healing period of the first six months. When gums shrink, immediate dentures may require rebasing or relining to fit properly. A conventional denture can then be made once the tissues have healed. Healing may take at least 6-8 weeks
Who needs a denture?
Candidates for complete dentures have lost most or all of their teeth. A partial denture is suitable for those who have some natural teeth remaining. A denture improves chewing ability and speech, and provides support for facial muscles. It will greatly enhance the facial appearance and smile.
A dentist can make a full conventional denture when all teeth have been lost or all extraction sites have healed (up to eight weeks or longer.) The denture process takes about one month and five appointments: the initial diagnosis is made; an impression and a wax bite are made to determine vertical dimensions and proper jaw position; a “try-in” is placed to assure proper color, shape and fit; and the patient’s final denture is placed, following any minor adjustments.
New denture wearers need time to get accustomed to their new “teeth” because even the best fitting dentures will feel awkward at first. While most patients can begin to speak normally within a few hours, many patients report discomfort with eating for several days to a few weeks. To get accustomed to chewing with a new denture, start with soft, easy-to-chew foods. In addition, denture wearers often notice a slight change in facial appearance, increased salivary flow, or minor speech difficulty.
How do you care for a denture?
Dentures are fragile so they must be handled with care. Remove and brush the denture daily, preferably with a brush designed specifically for cleaning dentures, using either a denture cleanser or toothpastes. Never use harsh, abrasive cleansers, including abrasives toothpastes, because they may scratch the surface of the denture. Don’t sterilize your denture with boiling water because it will cause it to warp. You must remove your partial denture before brushing your natural teeth. When not in use, soak it in a cleanser solution or in water. Get in the habit of keeping the denture in the same safe and handy place to reduce the likelihood of misplacement.
Should a denture be worn at night?
While you may be advised to wear your 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 the gums.
It is important to continue having regular dental checkups so that a dentist can examine oral tissues for signs of disease or cancer. As of aging, your mouth will continue to change as the bone under your denture shrinks or recedes. To maintain a proper fit over time, it may be necessary to adjust your denture or possibly remake your denture. Never attempt to adjust a denture yourself and do not use denture adhesives for a prolonged period because it can contribute to bone loss. When in doubt, consult your dentist.
Is there any type of alternative to dentures?
There are alternative to dentures. Implants can now be used to cement bridges permanently, which takes out the need for a denture. Implants are more expensive, but they resemble natural teeth more. Dental implants are becoming a popular alternative to dentures, but sadly, not everyone is a candidate for implants. Call your dentist for a consultation to see which is best for you.