Are dentures right for you?

Dentures, also commonly known as false teeth, are prosthesis constructed and worn to replace missing teeth. Dentures are either removable or fixed. You may be considering of getting dentures to replace some or full set of missing teeth.

Dentures can be made to replace a full set of missing upper or lower teeth – we commonly refer to this as a full denture. It can also be made to replace some missing teeth – we refer to this as a partial denture.

Types of Dentures

A conventional full denture is constructed of a resin base and acrylic teeth, supported by your bone and surrounding tissues.

A partial denture is constructed of either conventional resin base, flexible resin base (valplast), or cobalt chromium base, with acrylic teeth. The base is supported by your bone and surrounding tissues including remaining teeth. Additional support with clasps on remaining teeth either rod wire clasp, cobalt chromium clasp, or valplast flexible clasps, are commonly used to help retain denture.

Nowadays, dentures may also be fixed to your bone with the help of dental implants. These dentures can either be constructed from the conventional resin base and acrylic teeth or full ceramics fixed to dental implants.

Unstable lower denture? You may want to consider an over-denture.

*Lower full “over-denture” fixed onto to dental implants with locator attachments aid in stabilizing lower denture.

What is an immediate denture? In the event of the removal of a single tooth, or the removal of all remaining teeth, patients may choose to replace  teeth with an immediate denture.  This denture is usually made ahead of time and inserted on the day the teeth are extracted.  This is important in highly cosmetic areas, for example the loss of a front tooth, and also to maintain function in the event the patient is replacing a full set of teeth. Immediate dentures will often require a reline following extraction and healing.

What is involved in getting dentures made?

Your dentist will first need to carefully examine the health of your gums, the remaining teeth if present to check the condition of existing fillings and presence of decay and finally assessing where the missing teeth are and how it affects your occlusion (bite). It is important that the underlying gums and teeth are in good condition to retain your dentures. Your dentist will be able to then recommend the suitable types of dentures to suit your needs.

You will need several appointments for the construction of the denture. Once you are ready to proceed, we will start with taking an initial mould of your teeth. From this mould we will proceed to fabricate a “trial denture”, with the teeth set up in a wax block.  Once you are satisfied with the fit, the occlusion (bite) and appearance of the teeth used, the trial denture will be finished at the laboratory. One final fitting will be required in the chair to insert the denture and ensure that you are comfortable with the fit of the new denture.

What complications will I expect with dentures? Mouth ulcers are common with new and old dentures. New denture may cause trauma to gum tissue if over-extended. This is easily remedied with minor adjustments chair-side during your review visit, following the issue of a new denture. Old dentures, particularly poorly fitting dentures or “loose” dentures from bone resorption (bone loss following tooth loss), can lead to frequent mouth ulcerations, poor function and patients usually present with complaints that he/she is unable to eat comfortably. The denture will need to be assessed and patients will be advised whether the denture can be adjusted, relined or a new denture may be required.

Long-term denture wear can also lead to denture stomatitis. This is a condition whereby the gums supporting the denture, particularly the gums on the roof of the mouth, appear inflamed. This is commonly caused by poor denture cleaning, resulting in a buildup of Candida albicans (fungal) and bacteria on the surface, poorly fitting dentures and wearing dentures at night. Patients who are particularly susceptible are those suffering from dry mouth (xerostomia), those using steroid inhalers, smokers and those suffering from chronic conditions such as diabetes and auto-immune conditions.

Your dentist and dental hygienist will show you how to clean your dentures to ensure proper care and maintenance of your dentures and gum health.  Good denture hygiene with proper cleaning of dentures daily and regularly immersing dentures in denture disinfectant solution, will help prevent occurrence of denture stomatitis.

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