Dentures are replacements for missing teeth that can be taken out and put back into the mouth. While dentures take some getting used to, today’s dentures are natural looking and more comfortable than ever.
There are two main types of dentures: full and partial. Dr. Shore will help you choose the type of denture that’s best for you based on whether some or all of your teeth are going to be replaced. Dental implants may be used with a full or partial denture to help increase the retention of the denture and keep it more stable for chewing.
Types of Dentures
- Conventional Full Denture – A conventional full denture is placed in your mouth after any remaining teeth are removed and tissues have healed. Healing may take several months, during which time you are without teeth.
- Immediate Full Denture – An immediate full denture is inserted immediately after the remaining teeth are removed. (Dr. Shore will take measurements and makes models of your jaw during a prior visit.) While immediate dentures offer the benefit of never having to be without your teeth, they must be relined several months after being inserted. The reason is that the bone supporting the teeth reshapes as it heals, causing the denture to become loose.
- Partial Denture – Partial dentures are used to replace multiple missing teeth by utilizing a metal or plastic framework that rests on your natural teeth. Sometimes crowns are placed on some of your natural teeth to serve as anchors for the denture. Partial dentures offer a removable alternative to bridges.
- Snap-On Overdentures – This denture snaps into place in your mouth easily over implants. These implants are placed into your jaw and allow for the simple insert and removal of these dentures. These dentures are typically more secure and comfortable than traditional dentures. Overdentures may also be made utilizing natural tooth roots that have had special clips worked into them.
How Do Dentures Work?
With full dentures, a flesh-colored acrylic base fits over your gums. The base of the upper denture covers the palate (the roof of your mouth), while that of the lower denture is shaped like a horseshoe to accommodate your tongue.
Dentures are custom-made in a dental laboratory from impressions taken of your mouth. Dr. Shore will determine which type of dentures is best for you.
How Long Do Dentures Last? How Do I Care for My Dentures?
Over a period of time, your denture may need to be relined, remade, or rebased due to normal wear. Rebasing means making a new base while keeping the existing denture teeth. Also, as you age, your mouth naturally changes. These changes may cause your dentures to loosen, making chewing difficult and irritating your gums. At a minimum, you should see Dr. Shore annually for a checkup.
Here are tips for caring for your dentures:
- When handling your dentures, stand over a folded towel or basin of water. Dentures are delicate and may break if dropped.
- Don’t let your dentures dry out. Place them in a denture cleanser soaking solution or in plain water when you’re not wearing them. Never use hot water, which can cause them to warp.
- Brushing your dentures daily will remove food deposits and plaque, and help prevent them from becoming stained. An ultrasonic cleaner may be used to care for your dentures, but it does not replace a thorough daily brushing. Do not use toothpaste when brushing your denture. Plain water is sufficient.
- Brush your gums, tongue and palate every morning with a soft-bristled brush before you insert your dentures. This stimulates circulation in your tissues and helps remove plaque.
- Visit Dr. Shore if your dentures break, chip, crack, become loose, or lose a tooth. Don’t be tempted to adjust or repair them yourself as this can damage them permanently.
How Long Before I Get Used to My Dentures?
New dentures may feel awkward or uncomfortable for the first few weeks or even months. Eating and speaking with dentures will take a little practice. A bulky or loose feeling is not uncommon, while the muscles of your cheeks and tongue learn to hold your dentures in place. Excessive saliva flow, a feeling that the tongue does not have adequate room, and minor irritation or soreness are also not unusual. If you experience irritation, see Dr. Shore.
Post-Treatment Care Instructions
For post-treatment care instructions for dentures, click the link below (instructions are in Adobe PDF file format; if you need the Adobe Reader software to view these files, visit the Adobe website by clicking here):
Dentures Before and After
If you would like to see before and after photos of denture procedures by Dr. Stefanie Shore, visit our Smile Gallery.