Dentures are false teeth made to replace teeth you have lost. Dentures can be complete or partial. Complete dentures cover your entire upper or lower jaw. Partials replace one or a few teeth.
Advances in dentistry have made many improvements in dentures. They are more natural looking and comfortable than they used to be. But they still may feel strange at first. In the beginning, your dentist may want to see you often to make sure the dentures fit. Over time, your mouth will change and your dentures may need to be adjusted or replaced. Be sure to let your dentist handle these adjustments.
Speaking and eating may feel different with dentures. Be careful when wearing dentures because they may make it harder for you to feel hot foods and liquids. Also, you may not notice biting on a bone from your food. (Source: NIH: National Institute on Aging)
Getting Full Dentures
If all your teeth are missing, or if the teeth you have are so severely damaged that they need to be removed, you may need dentures as the best way to improve your appearance and your oral health.
Dentists will work with you to preserve your natural teeth if at all possible, rather than extract them, but sometimes complete dentures are the only way to provide the appearance of teeth and facilitate eating and speaking.
Getting permanent, full dentures takes about three to six weeks. The denture-making process involves several dental appointments and follows these steps:
- Impressions. Your dentist takes several impressions of your jaw and measures the space in your mouth.
- Models. Your dentist makes a mold of wax or plastic in the exact shape of the denture so you can try it and make any adjustments to the color, shape, and fit before the permanent dentures are made.
- Cast. The final dentures are cast, and then adjusted as necessary.
When you first receive your permanent dentures, your dentist may recommend that you wear them 24 hours a day, even while sleeping, because this is the easiest and quickest way to determine whether there are any spots that need adjustment. It’s important to ensure a good fit right away, because poorly fitting dentures can be irritating to the gums.
Once you have adjusted to the dentures, you can remove them at night to allow normal stimulation of the gum tissues by the tongue and saliva, which helps keep your gum tissue healthy. (Source: Oral B)
Things To Consider To Keep Dentures In Top Shape
Your dentures will last longer and fit better if you take proper care of them. Keep these points in mind to keep your dentures in top shape:
- Clean dentures daily. Brush your dentures each day the same way that you would brush your teeth, with one key difference: Skip the toothpaste. Many commercial types of toothpaste can damage dentures. Instead, use a soft-bristle denture brush, designed specifically for cleaning dentures, and water to brush all surfaces of the dentures, but be careful not to bend any attachments. Rinse your dentures with water after each meal. You can buy specialized denture cleaners for soaking dentures, but soaking is not a substitute for brushing—you need to brush the dentures to remove plaque.
- Treat dentures right. Fill the sink with water or place a folded towel in it when handling your dentures, so you don’t break them if they should fall into the sink. When you aren’t wearing your dentures, let them soak in cool water or a denture cleaning solution to keep them from drying out. Be careful of cleaning solutions if your dentures have metal attachments—the solutions could cause the metal to tarnish. And don’t soak dentures in hot water—they could warp.
- Remove your dentures (full or partial) every night. This allows the gum tissue beneath them a chance to rest.
If you take care of your dentures, you should be able to use them for five to seven years before you need to replace them. It’s important to see your dentist every six months to check the condition and fit of your dentures and to look for any signs of irritation or gum disease so they can be treated immediately. (Source: Oral B)