A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth and the surrounding tissues. There are two types of dentures: complete and partial. Complete dentures are used when all the teeth are missing. Partial dentures are used when some of a person’s natural teeth still remain.
Complete dentures can be either “conventional” or “immediate.” Made after the teeth have been removed and the gum tissue has begun to heal, a conventional denture is ready for placement in the mouth about eight to 12 weeks after the teeth have been removed.
Unlike conventional dentures, immediate dentures are made in advance and can be positioned as soon as the teeth are removed. As a result, the wearer does not have to be without teeth during the healing period. However, bones and gums shrink over time, especially during the healing period following tooth removal. Therefore a disadvantage of immediate dentures compared with conventional dentures is that they require more adjustments to fit properly during the healing process and generally should only be considered a temporary solution until conventional dentures can be made.
How are dentures made?
The denture development process takes about three to six weeks and several appointments. Once Dr. Farahmand determines what type of appliance is best for you, the general steps are to:
- Make a series of impressions of your jaw and take measurements of how your jaws relate to one another and how much space is between them.
- Create models, wax forms, and/or plastic patterns in the exact shape and position of the denture to be made. You will “try in” this model several times and the denture will be assessed for color, shape, and fit before the final denture is cast.
- Cast a final denture
- Adjustments will be made as necessary
Getting used to your dentures.
Your new dentures may feel a little odd or loose for a few weeks until the muscles of the cheeks and tongue get accustomed to keeping them in place and you get comfortable inserting and removing them. Also, it is not unusual for minor irritation or soreness to occur and for saliva flow to increase when you first start wearing dentures, but these problems will diminish as the mouth adjusts.
Dentures are made to closely resemble your natural teeth so there should be little or no noticeable change in your appearance. In fact, dentures may even help improve your smile.
Eating with new dentures will take a little practice and may seem a bit uncomfortable for a few weeks. To get used to the new dentures, start with soft foods cut into small pieces. Chew slowly using both sides of your mouth. As you get used to new dentures, add other foods until you return to a normal diet.
Be cautious with hot or hard foods and sharp-edged bones or shells. And, avoid foods that are extremely sticky or hard. You may want to avoid chewing gum while you adjust to your dentures. Also, it’s best to avoid using toothpicks.
If your dentures “click” while you’re talking or you have trouble with your speech, contact our office. Dentures may occasionally slip when you laugh, cough or smile. You can usually reposition your dentures by gently biting down and swallowing.
Dr. Farahmand will instruct you as to how long to wear dentures and when to remove them. During the first several days, you may be asked to wear then all the time, including while you sleep. Although this may be temporarily uncomfortable, it is the quickest way to identify the areas on the dentures that may need adjusting. Once adjustments are made, you should remove dentures before going to sleep. This allows gum tissues to rest and allows normal stimulation and cleansing by the tongue and saliva. The denture can be put back in your mouth when you awake in the morning.
Are there alternatives to dentures?
Yes, dental implants can be used to support permanently cemented bridges, and they eliminate the need for a denture. While they generally cost more, implants and bridges more closely resemble the feel of real teeth — and have become a more popular alternative. However, dental implants are not an option for everyone. Talk to Dr. Farahmand about whether or not they are right for you.
Removable partial dentures are replacement teeth for people who have lost one or more of their teeth. Partial dentures can be taken in and out of the mouth and consist of a denture base which closely resembles the color of your gums and denture teeth, which are attached to a supporting framework. The partial denture then attaches to the existing teeth via a clasp or some other retentive device.
Removable partial dentures usually consist of replacement teeth attached to pink or gum-colored plastic bases, which are connected by metal framework. Removable partial dentures attach to a person’s natural teeth with metal clasps or devices called precision attachments. Precision attachments are generally more aesthetic than metal clasps and they are nearly invisible. Crowns on the natural teeth may improve the fit of a removable partial denture and they are usually required with attachments.
Making a partial denture requires about six weeks to eight weeks; however, this can vary from one patient to another. It also could depend on the type of denture and the technique that is used.
The first step in making a partial denture is preparation of the teeth. During this phase, Dr. Farahmand may prepare the teeth that the partial denture will use for support.
Next, he takes an accurate impression of the upper and lower arches of your mouth and records your bite. The impressions are then sent to the dental laboratory.
One or two more visits may be necessary before you partial denture is delivered to you. At the subsequent visits, Dr. Farahmand will evaluate your bite, test your speech, and check the appearance and function of the partial denture teeth and gums. After the final satisfactory fit and appearance are achieved, the denture is then sent back to the laboratory for final fabrication.
While every effort is made to make a good and functional partial denture it may require a few adjustment visits and a little time for you and your partial denture to adapt to each other. The most important point to remember is that adjusting to your partial denture is a necessary process. In some cases it takes weeks to get used to a partial denture. A new partial denture can also alter your eating and speaking habits slightly and it may require some practice before you get completely comfortable wearing it.
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