If you have lost all of your natural upper or lower teeth, whether from periodontal disease, tooth decay or injury, full dentures can replace your missing teeth – and your smile. Replacing your missing teeth will benefit not only your appearance but also your health. You’ll be better able to eat and speak. Complete dentures replace natural teeth and provide support for cheeks and lips. Without this support from the denture, facial muscles sag, making a person appear older.
Types of Complete Dentures
There are various types of complete dentures. A conventional complete denture is made and placed in the patient’s mouth after the teeth are removed and tissues have healed.
An immediate complete denture is inserted as soon as the remaining teeth are removed. We will take impressions and make models of your jaw during a preliminary visit. With immediate dentures, the denture wearer does not have to be without teeth during the healing period.
The framework of the complete denture, called the base, is made of a gum-colored acrylic plastic. The base of the upper denture covers the roof of the mouth, while the lower denture is shaped like a horseshoe to allow room for your tongue. The gum and bone tissues of the dental ridge support the denture.
When several teeth are missing, we may recommend a partial denture for replacing them. A partial denture can solve a number of problems caused by missing teeth, including ease of eating and clear speech. The process of making a partial denture varies in each case and usually involves a series of appointments. The first step is to shape the supporting teeth. Next, we take impressions of your mouth and make a model of your teeth. The dental laboratory uses the model to create a denture framework. In some cases, a wax rim is mounted on the framework for you to try in. This helps confirm the correct relationship between the upper and lower teeth. After the laboratory completes the partial denture, you try it in, and we make any necessary adjustments here in our office.
Adjustments and Relines
New dentures are made to fit properly, but as the tissues in your mouth change over time, your dentures will need to be adjusted, relined, and eventually replaced.
A new denture often requires adjustments to relieve sore spots that may have developed while you are becoming used to your new denture. We can often make these adjustments right here in our office.
Dentures need to be relined because the fit of your denture will change noticeably over time. The main reason is that the bone in your jaw continually shrinks when natural teeth are missing. In fact, during the first three years, it is not uncommon to lose 40% to 60% of the jawbone. In addition, some habits, such as sleeping with dentures or grinding and clenching your jaw, can accelerate the shrinkage. Weight loss or gain can also change the contours of your gums.
These changes mean that several months after you get your new dentures, the surface of the denture base may need to be relined for a better fit. During the lifetime of the denture, it will periodically need to be relined again.
Every 5 to 10 years or so, your mouth will change so much that the denture simply needs to be replaced. Sometimes we can have the same teeth set in an entirely new denture base. In other cases, we will have an all new denture made for you.
You may realize that your denture needs to be replaced when –
- a reline is not enough to improve the fit
- your mouth is always sore or irritated
- your facial features change
- you have difficulty chewing certain foods
- the dentures fall out when you talk or laugh
- the denture teeth are worn or the denture is broken
- you have headaches or pain in your jaw joints or neck
The Importance of a Good Fit
It is important to wear dentures that fit well because loose or ill-fitting dentures can lead to infections, sores, and excess scar tissue in the mouth. Poorly fitting dentures can make chewing more difficult and affect how your jaw muscles and joints function.
Caring for Your Dentures
Now that you have received your dentures, it is important to follow these recommendations to ensure its success.
To protect your dentures, avoid chewing ice or other hard objects. If small pieces of food work their way under your dentures while you eat, simply remove your dentures and rinse it with water.
Brush your tongue, gums, palate, and any remaining teeth at least twice daily to keep them free of plaque and bacteria. Brushing also massages the gums and keeps your breath fresh. In addition, we may recommend dental floss, mouth rinses, or other cleaning aids.
Cleaning Your Denture
Clean your denture over a sink full of water to prevent your denture from breaking if it is accidentally dropped. Use a denture brush and a denture cleaning product at least once a day to thoroughly clean all of the surfaces of your denture. Also, soak your denture periodically in a commercial soaking solution, or, if your denture has no metal parts, you can soak it in a solution of 50% white vinegar and 50% water. After soaking, rinse the dentures thoroughly with cool water.
Sleeping and Storing Your Denture
Unless we tell you otherwise, remove your dentures for sleeping. Store you denture in water or a soaking solution whenever it is out of your mouth, so it does not dry out.
If you have any questions regarding your dentures or if dentures are an option for you, call our office at 440-282-2023.
At Whispering Pines Dental in Lorain, Ohio, we serve the Lorain, Amherst, Vermilion, Elyria, Sheffield Village, Avon, and surrounding areas. We provide the best fitting new dentures and adjustments or repairs to existing dentures. Feel free to contact us using our contact form.