Dentures: Giving You A New Functional Smile
Having many missing teeth is not only a cosmetic problem but a problem for overall oral health. If you don’t have your teeth replaced with dental implants, the next best thing is to replace them with dentures. At Clear Lake Dental Care, 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, however, 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 or permanent denture and the temporary denture patients receive while fabricating the final dentures.
Benefits of Dentures
One-quarter of all Americans over 65 have lost all of their natural teeth. After a person loses a few teeth due to a dental issue, it can be tempting to simply let the process continue. Patients often choose to avoid certain foods and save money they don’t want to spend on dentures. Dentures can provide a significant amount of benefits which include:
- Improving the ability to chew and bite properly
- Improving the patient’s self-confidence and self-image
- Allowing the patient to again eat healthy foods such as nuts and fruit
- Improving the wearer’s facial structure
- Improving the patient’s diction
- Keeping the patient’s other teeth in place with partial dentures
Types of Dentures
When choosing the type of dentures a patient needs there is a direct correlation between the choice and the health of their remaining teeth. In many cases, patients allow decay and gum disease to reach a point where there is bone loss. This results in the extraction of remaining teeth. After these extractions, the gums need to fully heal before the denture process begins. During your consultation, Drs. Das, Darcey, or Pham can discuss which type of denture, including a partial or full set, is the best choice. Full dentures are held in place through two forces. This includes suction created by the gums and pressure from the tongue and cheeks.
If the patient has some remaining teeth that are healthy enough, partial dentures are always the preferable solution. The remaining teeth provide great natural anchors for partial dentures to replace the missing teeth. Partial dentures are sometimes referred to as bridges and they can either be fixed or removable. A fixed partial denture is anchored to crowns placed on the remaining healthy teeth. Metal framework on the healthy teeth hold the dentures in place but allow them to also be removable.
Learn about permanent and removable dentures from Dr. Das of Clear Lake Dental Care
Denture Placement Process
Getting a set of dentures from the Clear Lake Dental Care team isn’t an overnight deal. Particularly in the case of full dentures, getting the right fit is a process that can take about two to three months. First, impressions will be taken and then sent to our lab. There, they will fabricate your temporary denture. Next, before removing any teeth, we will have the denture ready so our patients never have to go without teeth. Then, we will remove any irreparably damaged teeth and fit the temporary denture. These temporary dentures will be worn throughout the healing phase.
Once your gums have healed, we take a variety of measurements of the upper and lower jaws, and the relationship between them. We then take full impressions to make test dentures. These are 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. Finally, when your dentures are finished, we test them for fit and begin a process of adjustments. Patients can begin wearing the new dentures, but we will continue to fine-tune the fit until it’s just right.
Dr. Das talks about Clear Lake Dental Care solutions for denture problems
Adjusting to New 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, cheeks, and gums quickly adjust. 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. 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!
caring for 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. Additionally, your gums need normal stimulation by your tongue and cleansing by your saliva. Patients will need to brush their 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. After brushing, your dentures will then spend the night in a denture cleaning solution or water so that they stay moist.
How Long do dentures last?
Complete dentures last from five to seven years, but sometimes much longer. How well the patient takes care of the denture also plays a factor in how long they last. They will eventually need to be relined, rebased, or remade because of changes that occur in the gum tissue and jawbone.
dentures 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 to 4 dental implants to use in conjunction with a denture. This provides more stability for the denture and increases chewing function.