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DENTURES

Dentists prefer to do everything possible to save your natural teeth. Unfortunately, many people have come to think that dentures will be required at some point in life. Typically, if you take proper care of your teeth, they will last for a lifetime. While dentures can help you chew your food, and help you manage aesthetic issues, they will never work as well as your natural teeth.

DENTURES: Why Procedure is Used

Dentures are used to replace teeth that have been extracted, as well as ones lost as a result of injury. For the most part, if you avoid injuries, and take proper care of your teeth, they will last a lifetime. As may be expected, a major part of avoiding the need for dentures also includes preventing gum (periodontal) disease. This includes avoiding injuries from teeth grinding, as well as receding gums.

DENTURES: Patient Concerns to be Addressed

Typically, dentures are not anchored into the jaw bones. As a result, they will constantly rub against the bone, and wear it down. In addition, your mouth will change over time, thus causing dentures to lose their proper fit. Aside from leading to denture slippage, this can also cause mouth sores and infections.

DENTURES: How is Procedure Performed

If your dentist is able to save a few teeth, you will be able to use a partial denture. In the most extreme cases, all of your teeth will be replaced, and you will receive complete dentures. Depending on the opinion of your dentist, he/she may elect to place stabilizing posts in your jawbone that will help prevent bone erosion.

DENTURES: Complete (or Plate) Dentures

A complete denture sits directly on the gum, and covers either the upper or lower jaw. Your dentist will try to preserve at least one or two of your natural teeth, or use implants in order to anchor the denture and improve stability. In most cases, the anchor teeth will need root canals, and some form of covering if the pulp is exposed. Once the tooth is modified, your dentist will place a thin metal covering, or coping over it. The coping will exactly match the anchor point in your denture. If your natural tooth is not covered, it is important to make use of fluoride drops to prevent decay. Depending on the shape of your mouth, the dentist may also create additional attachments to improve denture stability.

In most cases, dentists will prefer to use an anchored denture, also known as an overdenture. Among other things, you will not have as much bone loss. Overdentures are also easier to adapt to because you will still have a few teeth with intact nerves. This, in turn, will make it easier to adjust your bite and speech patterns.

As you may be aware, upper dentures have a natural suction that will be lacking for lower dentures. Therefore, your dentist will often recommend overdentures for your lower jaw. Unfortunately, if your teeth are not in good health, your dentist may have to replace all of them with a full plate. Whenever possible, a dentist will look to use canines and premolars, as they tend to have the longest roots. They are also ideally situated in terms of creating anchor points.

DENTURES: Partial Dentures

As with full dentures, you can also remove partial ones. They are often composed of a metal frame and plastic teeth. The area that covers the gum is usually made from a softer plastic that will match the exact shape of the gum. In most cases, partial dentures must be affixed to surrounding teeth with metal clasps. On the other hand, bridges can be cemented into place. While they are not removable, they tend to work better when it comes to mimicking your natural teeth.

In order to attach partial dentures, your dentist will create a ”lock and key” mechanism to ensure the plate fits properly. When you are inserting these dentures, you must make sure that the anchoring tooth fits perfectly into the hole created for it in the denture. Depending on the shape of the anchoring teeth, the metal clasps will be shaped like a ”C”, ”Y”, or ”I”. As may be expected, the anchor tooth may need to be reshaped in order to accommodate the denture.

DENTURES: Special Types of Partial Dentures

Nesbit Denture - This type of denture is used to replace molars and other back teeth. Even though metal clasps are used to support the teeth, a Nesbit denture can be swallowed during an accident or seizure. Because this type of denture replaces the teeth that you normally apply the most force to, anchor teeth will be adversely affected. Typically, dentists will prefer to use a bilateral partial denture as opposed to a Nesbit.

Flipper Denture - These dentures are mainly for the sake of appearance. They are made from acrylic, and can be used until you receive a bridge or implants. In most cases, you can get a Flipper as soon as teeth are extracted. Unfortunately, flippers will not hold up for very long.

DENTURES: Getting Your Dentures

Once your natural teeth are extracted, and anchoring teeth prepared, your gums will need to heal. Even though you can have an immediate denture after teeth are extracted, they will need to be adjusted as your gums and bones adjust to the tooth loss. From there, your dentist will make models of your mouth, and create the permanent denture. Usually, these fittings will be carried out over the course of two months. You will need to make approximately four appointments. Among other things, you will have a chance to choose the colour and shape of your teeth, as well as select ones that match your skin colour and skull shape.

After the dentures are made, you will have one trial fitting. This will give you an opportunity to see how the dentures look, as well as ensure they do not rub or cause injury to your gums. If the dentures fit and work properly, you will receive your complete denture on the next visit. From there, you will need to visit your dentist for several more follow up visits in order to make sure that you are adjusting to the dentures.

DENTURES: Post-Operative Concerns

Once extractions, root canals, and implants are done, you will not need to worry about pain management. Today, dentures can look exactly like natural teeth. Unfortunately, the lack of roots and nerves will prevent them from ever functioning like normal teeth. In most cases, it will take some time to relearn simple activities like chewing and speaking. While most people learn in a few weeks, it can take several months before you fully adapt to dentures.

DENTURES: Perils of Disease

Fortunately, dentures aren't as uncomfortable as they used to be. For the most part, newer materials and technologies eliminate slipping, as well as clicking, odour, and gum irritation. That said, your dentures will still need to be adjusted or relined on a routine basis. You will also need to make sure that you keep your dentures as clean as possible in order to avoid infection