What are Dentures?
Dentures are removable appliances that can replace missing teeth and help restore your smile. If you’ve lost all of your natural teeth, whether from gum disease, tooth decay or injury, replacing missing teeth will benefit your appearance and your health. That’s because dentures make it easier to eat and speak better than you could without teeth—things that people often take for granted. When you lose all of your teeth, facial muscles can sag, making you look older. Dentures can help fill out the appearance of your face and profile. They can be made to closely resemble your natural teeth so that your appearance does not change much. Dentures may even improve the look of your smile. Dentures should not be considered a replacement for teeth. They are a replacement for no teeth. Dentures are prosthetic appliances, not real teeth, made to imitate the function of teeth as closely as possible. However, most people end up with about 20% efficiency of their natural teeth.
What are conventional complete dentures?
Complete dentures are dentures that replace both the upper and lower teeth. They are a treatment option for patients that have no teeth. This full removable denture is made and placed in your mouth after the remaining teeth are removed and tissues have healed, which can take several weeks. Complete dentures can take up to 5 dental visits to make, in some situations or special cases it can take longer.
A set of complete dentures.
What should I expect with having dentures?
o It is important to remember that there are no teeth to help to retain the complete denture. Because of this, retention can be a challenge, especially in the lower jaw (mandible). Retention and adapting to new dentures may be even more challenging when significant ridge resorption, or shrinkage, has taken place.
o In addition, when a patient has “dry mouth”, denture retention is also greatly affected.
o A period of adapting to new dentures must be anticipated. This includes learning to wear, eat and speak with the teeth.
Immediate dentures are inserted on the same day that the remaining teeth are removed. Your dentist will take measurements and make models of your jaw prior to teeth being extracted. With immediate dentures you won’t have to be without teeth during the healing period. However, you may need to have the denture relined or remade after your jaw has healed, usually within six months.
This is necessary because of gum shrinkage, not because of the way the dentures were made. Bones and gums shrink over time, especially during the healing period following tooth removal.Choosing immediate dentures can usually be costly for patients as some insurance will not cover a second pair of dentures or benefits may be maxed out by this point. Patients are usually responsible for paying for these procedures out of pocket.
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.
Removable partial dentures (RPDs) provide a viable alternative to fixed bridgework or implants as a means of replacing missing teeth.A partial denture replaces one or more teeth, as opposed to a full denture, which replaces all the teeth in a jaw. RPDs generally attach to the remaining teeth by means of rests and clasps. It is removable by you; it is not fixed in place in your mouth. It is supported by the gum ridge areas where the teeth once were and, in the case of an upper RPD, the palate (roof of the mouth). Most importantly, it is designed to last for years.
You can discuss the best option for you with your dentist, as there are past partials and flexible partials to select from.
Cast metal Partial Dentures
Cast-metal partial dentures are so named because their underlying metal framework (substructure, major connector and tooth clasps) is custom fabricated (cast from metal alloy). Denture teeth and gum-colored plastic are then added to this framework to complete the appliance. Cast partials are typically the standard by which other types of partial dentures are compared. Due to the advantages they offer (strength, durability, excellent fit and retention, minimal thickness), they are typically considered to be the preferred type for most applications.
Flexible Partial Dentures
“Flexible” partials are appliances where both their base and tooth clasps are made out of a pliable (bendable) tissue-colored plastic. Their flexible nature can make wearing this type of appliance less irritating to teeth and soft tissues. The fact that the tooth clasps are the same color as gum tissue can help to make them less noticeable.
Some of the brand names involved with this type of appliance are Valplast® and Duraflex
A flipper tooth is a removable, lightweight partial denture that is used as a temporary replacement for one or more missing teeth. It fills in any visible gaps so you don’t have to go without a tooth while waiting for a more permanent replacement.
A flipper tooth can be constructed before the natural tooth is removed. It is made from pink gum-colored denture acrylic that supports the replacement tooth. It may have clasps that fit around existing teeth to help hold it in place. This appliance is easy for the patient to insert and is easily taken out for regular cleaning. A flipper also improves the ability to eat and chew food.
A maxillectomy is a surgical procedure removing all or part of the hard or soft palate. The resulting defect make swallowing, speaking, chewing, and the use of regular denture appliances almost impossible.A maxillectomy/ palatectomy prosthesis or “obturator” restores the surgical defect and aids in the function of speaking, chewing, or swallowing. It fills the void left by the surgery and artificially replaces lost tissues and teeth.
Prosthodontic treatment involves:
• Patient counseling and instruction
• Physical therapy (oral – physical)
• Dietary counseling
• Hygiene maintenance and instruction
• Fabrication of prosthodontic appliances
Fabrication of obturators is usually accomplished in three phases:
A prosthesis may be placed at the time of surgery
This phase is started 10-14 days after surgery when surgical dressings or immediate prosthesis are removed. The transitional prosthesis is placed and modified until healing is complete. This phase may extend from 2-24 months.
This phase begins when healing is complete and involves fabrication of prosthesis intended for long term use. Definitive treatment may involve fixed prosthesis (crowns) and / or removable prosthesis.
Any phase of treatment may be altered dependent on the nature of the disease and its staging, radiation, chemotherapy, surgical complications, and the morbidity of the disease.
Caring for your removable prosthesis:
- Rinse your dentures before brushing to remove any loose food or debris.
- Use a soft bristle toothbrush and a non-abrasive cleanser to gently brush all the surfaces of the dentures so they don’t get scratched.
- When brushing, clean your mouth thoroughly—including your gums, cheeks, roof of your mouth and tongue to remove any plaque. This can help reduce the risk of oral irritation and bad breath.
- When you’re not wearing your dentures, put them in a safe place covered in water to keep them from warping.
- Occasionally, denture wearers may use adhesives. Adhesives come in many forms: creams, powders, pads/wafers, strips or liquids. If you use one of these products, read the instructions, and use them exactly as directed. Your dentist can recommend appropriate cleansers and adhesives; look for products with the ADA Seal of Acceptance. Products with the ADA Seal have been evaluated for safety and effectiveness.
If you have any questions about your dentures, or if they stop fitting well or become damaged, contact us at +1 505 554 2262 Be sure to schedule regular dental checkups too. The dentist will examine your mouth to see if your dentures continue to fit properly.