What are dentures?
Dentures are removable false teeth that replace your missing teeth. You can get partial dentures when you have some of your natural teeth remaining. Or you can have complete dentures in case you have lost all of your teeth. Dentures can offer you a cosmetic look with all functions that a normal pair of teeth has.
You will have your regular chewing, eating, speaking and smiling with your dentures on. Whether you have lost some teeth or all teeth in your mouth due to gum diseases, injuries, tooth decay, aging or other tooth loss causes, dentures are one great option to choose for treating your missing teeth. Dentures provide you with an attractive look for your face.
You may not be able to get dental implant because of low density bone and weak or low quality bone that is necessary for implant procedure. On the other hand, you may not be able to get dental bridges due to multiple missing teeth in your dental arch, which makes dental bridge a risk and a waste of money and time. So you can select dentures as they have been used by majority of people from every age group to replace your missing teeth.
Who needs dentures?
Dentures are not just for the aging population. Young individuals who have large edentulous empty space caused by missing teeth are also good candidates for dentures. Denture wearing is necessary to socialize, save your teeth function, and moving on to your daily normal activities. Dentures are for:
- Anyone that has multiple or completely missing teeth
- The elderly. Our seniors when get to ages above 60 are most likely the candidates for dentures. Around 90 percent of edentulous people (who have lost all teeth) wear dentures
- Young children and persons that have lost their teeth due to accidents and injuries, diseases and extreme forms of tooth decay
When dental implant is not possible to do. As in young persons and people with weak and low bone quality
Types of dentures
Complete (full) dentures
These types of denture are for those people who have lost all of their teeth (edentulous patients). Complete dentures are made for either upper or lower teeth depending on whether you have complete tooth loss in just lower or upper teeth or both jaws. Full dentures consist of plastic denture base which has the same color of your gums and full range of false teeth on top.
The denture base has the same color of your gums and palate of your mouth. And the false teeth on top of this base will function as your normal teeth for chewing, speaking and other teeth activities. To place and prepare your complete denture, the remaining teeth should be extracted. Dentists extract these teeth also to design and replace your full dentures.
Your gums and soft tissue areas of the extracted teeth should heal and then dentures are placed. During this time, you can wear immediate dentures that have been made as your temporary dentures until healing will end. It takes 2 to 3 month for healing.
Partial dentures are for those people that have lost several teeth and they have their multiple natural teeth remained in their mouth. Partial dentures come in two types: removable partial dentures (RPD), which can be removed and fixed partial dentures (FPD), which are fixed on your missing teeth area.
Partial dentures have also gum-colored denture base and several false teeth on top of this base depending on the number of missing teeth. But unlike complete denture, which uses the bulkier denture base to hold and be fixed in place, partial dentures uses clasps or sometimes metal framework to be fit and firm in your mouth.
Implant-supported dentures (overdentures)
Implant supported dentures offer a stable and a lifetime denture type. These dentures are also known as overdenture. Dentist use multiple implants, which screwed into your dental arch jaw bone to retain and support your dentures. Then they mount the false teeth on the abutments of the implants. Implant-supported dentures are an excellent option for denture wearers who are tired of refitting and relining, which are common problem for conventional dentures types.
Overdentures preserve your bone and prevent more bone loss and this is helpful for having healthier bone quality for many years.But not everyone can get implants to retain their dentures.If you have low bone quality and bone loss in your jaws and gums, implants can be inserted, so you should select other dentures.
How are dentures made?
Generally, you will need several appointments to get your custom-made dentures. A dentist or prosthodontist who specializes in dental restorations will be involved with lab technicians to make your dentures. The main steps to make dentures are:
- Impressions are taken of your oral structures, gums, dental arches and jaw bones to find the best upper and lower occlusion of your jaws, gums or remaining teeth. Dentist will have access to high-tech scanning devices that will take impressions with much precision
- Next, wax patterns and models created in the lab based on the impressions that are taken. Dentist will add artificial teeth and denture base with color of your gum to cover oral soft tissues. You will be able to choose the best shade and tooth color that match your appearance or other remaining teeth (in case of partial denture).
- At the try-in appointment, you try your dentures to make sure they fit well in your mouth or if any adjustment is necessary for having a comfortable denture.
Finally, with all the needed adjustments and refitting process is done, your dentures are ready. Your dentist provides instructions and maybe asks you to visit within days or weeks to check your gums and the condition of other oral soft tissues
Cost of dentures and insurance coverage
The prices of dentures depend on the types you choose from partial, complete or implant supported dentures. Insurance coverage for dentures also depends on type and the policies of the dental insurance providers. It is possible that 50 percent of the total cost is covered by insurance.
The cost of complete dentures both upper and lower can range anywhere from $3000 to $6000 or even more because of tooth extraction costs. Partial dentures can cost you $500 to $2500 and can vary because of material used in artificial teeth and location where placed (upper or lower jaws). Implant-supported dentures (overdentures) can cost between $4000 and $8000. But depending on the number of implants the prices will be different.
will dentures make me look better?
Dentures can change your appearance more than you think. Because denture look natural and made and developed from materials that look exactly like natural teeth, so you will be pleased if you know how your face have changed by wearing dentures. Dentures improve both your smile and your look.
Wearing dentures is a great way to have much younger face because it retain and holds your facial muscle in place. So if you want to wear dentures, take good care of them. Chew slowly and step by step choose your normal diet. Keep in mind that sticky foods can cause you problems and chewing gum should be avoided while you have your dentures on.
will eating be difficult with my dentures?
At first you may feel some uncomfortable feelings about eating, but you will get used to your dentures. To decrease and prevent discomfort, try soft foods at the beginning and cut the foods and fruits in smaller pieces. Why? Because you are new to wearing dentures and you may bite hard into foods and fruits, which may cause pain to your gums and even hurt your tongue unintentionally.
should I wear my dentures all the time?
During the first few days and weeks, your dentist may ask you to wear the dentures all the time. It is because of testing the denture in every aspect to check the uncomfortable parts and if necessary to adjust the denture well before causing more damages to your mouth and gum tissues. Dentist can refit and readjust the dentures for a better mouth and denture harmony.
When you go to sleep, you should remove your dentures to give your gums and soft tissues of your mouth a rest. Removing them will increase saliva stimulation by your tongue and soft tissues in your mouth, which gives you more chance for self-cleansing and cleaning of your mouth.
Cleaning dentures, caring and maintenance tips
- Use denture cleansers
to clean and disinfect your denture, you can use denture cleansers that come in pastes, creams, gels and solutions. At first, rinse the denture and clean the denture off any food debris. Then you can make a solution with warm water and the denture cleansers.
Finally, soak the denture in the solution for as long as the denture cleansers instruct you to do. By that, you prevent your denture from getting stained and you get rid of any bacteria and plaque build ups on the denture.
- Use soap and other mild home products
if you don’t have access to denture cleansers, you can use soap or dishwashing liquids to clean your dentures. Also, using a soft bristle toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste is a great way for cleaning dentures. Do not ever use abrasive toothpastes, household bleaches and powdered form of cleaning products as your home cleaning care for your dentures.
- Use denture adhesives but not much
denture adhesive or denture adherents are available in powder, paste and cream forms, which people use them when their dentures come loose or become uncomfortable in their mouth. Dentists usually prescribe adhesives for patients with xerostomia (dry mouth) due to the lack of saliva and dry mouth with no moisture in their mouth, which causes dentures to be loose and ill-fit.
Denture adhesive are just temporary way to refit and retain firmly your dentures in place and you should visit the dentist for adjustment and relining of your dentures. Use denture adhesive in a recommended size and frequency and read the instructions for each product. Do not overuse denture adhesive because of some ingredients like zinc, which too much of that can have harmful effects on your body.
- Take good care of your dentures
when you are not wearing your dentures, put them in denture cleanser solutions or in water. Do not carry them around or leave them where it can get broken.
- Brush your teeth and clean your gums
whether you are wearing partial or complete dentures or other types, you should remove plaques and foods that are trapped between your dentures and the gums. Morning rinsing before placing the dentures in the mouth and cleaning your gums with a very soft bristle toothbrush will not only help you have healthier gums but makes dentures a long life companion.
If you are wearing partial dentures, brushing your other teeth should never be forgotten and metal framework and clasps should be cleaned thoroughly to get rid of trapped foods and to prevent bacterial growth. If you are wearing complete dentures, with each removal and wearing, you can clean your mouth and gums and brush your dentures gently.