Dentures: Giving You A New Functional Smile
Having many missing teeth is obviously a cosmetic problem. But it is also a problem for your overall oral health. If you don’t have your teeth replaced with dental implants, the next best thing is to have them replaced with dentures. At Clear Lake Dental, we have extensive experience fitting dentures for our patients who have lost many, most, or even all of their teeth. Our expertise ensures your dentures will fit great and give you a great-looking smile.
What Are Dentures?
Dentures are nothing new — there is evidence all the way back to the 7th century BC of people having false teeth. But technology has made today’s options for replacement of all or the majority of your teeth better than ever.A denture is a replacement for missing teeth and some of their surrounding tissue. Dentures may be full, replacing all of the teeth on the upper or lower jaw; or partial, replacing a series of teeth. You may have heard the terms “permanent” and “immediate” dentures. These are simply terms denoting the final denture (permanent) and the temporary denture given while the final dentures are being fabricated.
Why Should I Get Dentures?
One-quarter of all Americans over 65 have lost all of their natural teeth. After a person loses a few teeth due to gum disease and the like, it can be tempting to simply let the process continue, opting to avoid certain foods and save the money needed for dentures. But perfectly fit dentures from Clear Lake Dental have benefits other than being able to eat potato chips again.Dentures…
- Improve the ability to chew and bite properly.
- Improve the patient’s self-confidence and self-image.
- Allow the patient to again eat healthy foods such as nuts and fruit.
- Improve the wearer’s facial structure.
- Improve the patient’s diction.
- Keep the patient’s other teeth in place (partial dentures).
Partial vs. full Dentures
Whether a patient needs a partial denture or full dentures is direct correlated to the health of their remaining teeth. In many cases, decay and gum disease have been allowed to reach a point that any remaining teeth need to be extracted due to decay and bone loss in the jawbone. After these extractions, the gums are allowed to fully heal before the denture process begins. Full dentures are held in place through two forces — suction created by the gums and pressure from the tongue and cheeks.If possible, partial dentures are always the preferable solution.
If the patient has some remaining teeth that are healthy enough to be saved, they provide great natural anchors for partial dentures to replace the missing teeth. Partial dentures are sometimes referred to as bridges. They can either be fixed or removable. A fixed partial denture is anchored to crowns placed on the remaining healthy teeth. A removable partial denture is connected to metal framework on the healthy teeth that holds the denture, but also allows it to be removed.
Dentures Preparation and Placement
Getting a set of dentures from the team at Clear Lake isn’t an overnight deal. Particularly in the case of full dentures, getting the right fit is a back and forth process that will take from two to three months. First, impressions will be taken to send to our lab to fabricate your temporary denture. We will have the denture ready before any teeth are removed so that our patients never have to go without teeth. The next appointment, we will remove any irreparably damaged teeth and fit the temporary denture. These temporary dentures will be worn throughout the healing phase.
When your gums have healed, this is the procedure for getting dentures:
- We take a variety of measurements of the upper and lower jaws, and the relationship between them. We then take full impressions.
- We use those impressions to make test dentures in the exact shape and position of what will be your permanent dentures. We use these test dentures to check the shape, fit, function, thickness, and color.
- When you and our team agree that the fit and structure of the dentures is right, we take another set of final impressions. We send these to the lab, along with the test dentures, for fabrication of your dentures.
- When your dentures are finished, you come in and we test them for fit and begin a process of back and forth adjusting. You’ll begin wearing your new dentures, but we will continue to fine-tune the fit until it’s just right.
How long does it take to get accustomed to wearing dentures?
You won’t pop in your new dentures and feel great about them. They will take some getting used to, without a doubt. At first, your dentures will probably feel loose, and the dentures can irritate your gums. But your tongue and cheeks quickly adjust, as do your gums. As this happens, the fit becomes better and better.Speaking and eating will be a bit of a learning process. The best way to re-learn how to speak with your dentures is to simply read aloud. As for eating, you’ll start with very small pieces of soft foods; eating will seem awkward and you’ll lack confidence in your dentures. But you’ll get the hang of eating with them, and can soon progress to a normal diet. You’ll love that you can once again eat just about anything!
How do I care for my dentures?
Full dentures are not meant to be worn 24 hours a day. They need to be taken out at night to allow your gum tissues to rest, and for normal stimulation by your tongue and cleansing by your saliva.You brush your dentures with special denture toothpaste. This is because normal toothpaste contains various abrasive substances that can create minute scratches that allow food and plaque to build up on the dentures. Brushing removes food and plaque. After brushing, your dentures will then spend the night in a denture cleansing solution or in water so that they stay moist.
How long do dentures last?
How do dentures compare with dental implants?
While dentures are a good option to replace missing teeth, they may not be the best solution for everyone. Some people never quite get accustomed to the fit of dentures or can’t tolerate the feeling of something covering the roof of their mouth. Dental implants are a more permanent solution to replace missing teeth. An implant is a titanium post that acts as an anchor to support a single replacement tooth or multiple teeth. For some patients, a great option is to place 2 – 4 dental implants to use in conjunction with a denture. This provides more stability for the denture and increases chewing function.
There are many factors that determine what teeth replacement option would be best for you. Call our office to schedule a complimentary consultation to find out what would be the best solution for you.