For those patients that are missing all or multiple teeth, dentures can be an excellent way to help replace them. Dentures consist of porcelain or plastic teeth set in a pink acrylic material (the pink acrylic is used to replicate gum tissue that surrounds the teeth). There are two types of dentures - complete and partial dentures. Complete dentures are used when all of the teeth are missing, while partial dentures are used when some natural teeth remain.
A full denture rests solely on the edentulous gum ridges (and hard palate for the top denture). The acrylic and teeth support the lips and face as well as provide a surface for chewing. Most patients have little problems with their upper denture because of the “suction cup effect” it has onto the upper jaw. Lower dentures, however, do not have this suction cup effect and tend to dislodge more often from tongue movement and eating. In cases where the residual gum ridges have been lost (resorbed), the dentures can be supported by dental implants, creating much greater support and retention
A Complete denture may be either “conventional” or “immediate.” A conventional type is made after the teeth have been removed and the gum tissue has healed, usually taking 4 to 6 weeks. During this time the patient will go without teeth. Immediate dentures are made in advance and immediately placed after the teeth are removed, thus preventing the patient from having to be without teeth during the healing process. Once the tissues shrink and heal, adjustments will have to be made.
A partial denture may have a metal framework and clasps that holds the denture in place in the mouth, or they can have other connectors that are more natural looking. A Partial denture not only fills in the spaces created by missing teeth, it prevents other teeth from shifting.
What does getting dentures involve?
The process of getting dentures requires several appointments, usually over several weeks. Highly accurate impressions (molds) and measurements are taken and used to create your custom denture. Several “try-in” appointments may be necessary to ensure proper shape, color, and fit. At the final appointment, your dentist will precisely adjust and place the completed denture, ensuring a natural and comfortable fit.
It is normal to experience increased saliva flow, some soreness, and possible speech and chewing difficulty, however this will subside as your muscles and tissues get used to the new dentures.
You will be given care instructions for your new dentures. Proper cleaning of your new dental appliance, good oral hygiene, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new dentures.
How long do dentures last?
A new set of dentures should last for 5-10 years before they need to be replaced. However, dentures do need to be readjusted or relined periodically (once every year or two) depending on how quickly the gum tissue changes underneath the denture.