Tooth loss may result from a number of reasons, including periodontal disease, tooth decay, or traumatic injury.
Dentures are removable solution for replacement teeth. They are comfortable and esthetic and may be your best option for teeth loss.
Complete (or full) dentures are used to replace missing teeth for people with no remaining teeth. Partial dentures (or overdentures) replace just some missing teeth. Dentures are made primarily from acrylic resin or milled from zirconia. They may have a metal substructure made out of vitallium or titanium. They can be attached with dental implants, too. We would discuss the alternatives of denture design during your denture consultation.
Why do I need dentures?
The ill effects of not replacing missing teeth can be:
Shift in remaining teeth
Inability to bite and chew properly
Sagging facial appearance or a sunken look (which makes one appear older than they are)
Inability to pronounce words properly
Types of Dentures
Conventional Complete or Full Dentures:
Conventional full dentures are removable teeth replacements that are made and placed after the remaining teeth have been removed and the gum tissues have healed. The healing process usually take from six weeks to several months, during which the patient may be without teeth or can use a temporary "immediate" denture.
When only some teeth are missing, a partial denture serves the purpose. The healthy teeth that remain act as anchors for the partial denture, using metal attachments.
Overdentures are conventional dentures with one or more of your natural teeth as anchors. Overdentures require preparation of the remaining teeth to provide support for the applicance, with the denture designed to fit right over them, resulting in a stable fit that makes eating easier and more comfortable.
During the period between the removal of your remaining teeth and the final placement of your permanent conventional dentures, your dentist would put in place what is called an "immediate denture". This saves you from going without teeth as your mouth tissues heal and the bone stabilizes. Once in place, immediate dentures help reduce the initial swelling from the teeth removal. During the healing process, you may be required to make several visits to have the immediate dentures relined to adjust their fit. After the healing process is complete, permanent conventional dentures can replace the immediate dentures.
The cost of dentures depends on several factors, including:
Additional procedures such as extractions of remaining teeth or oral surgery to refine bony ridges (requiring an oral surgeon's services)
Prosthodontic services (a specialist with additional training in crafting dentures)
Type of dental insurance you have (some insurance companies may offer a 15 percent reimbursement or up to a 50 percent absorption of the total procedure costs)
Complexity of the removable denture that is required
Dental materials selected by the patient and the dentist
Complete dentures can range in price. The difference in cost is related to fabrication time, cost of dental materials, additional procedures required, warranty offered, and the expertise / experience of the dentist.
Denture Preparation & Placement Procedure
Preparing for Dentures:
During the first dental visit to evaluate the need for dentures, your dentist will examine your gums and supporting bone structure to identify the appropriate treatment plan.
In some cases, oral surgery is performed to correct bony ridges that may interfere with the stability of the denture. In other cases, the remaining teeth may need to be extracted before dentures can be placed. After healing, impression of the gums to identify every ridge and crevice to ensure the best denture fit possible.
In cases where teeth need to be removed, an immediate denture is typically fitted to enable proper healing of the extraction sites and serve as an esthetic replacement for natural teeth. The immediate dentures can be easily modified for changing ridge contours during healing until final dentures can be made. In constructing the immediate dentures, dentists will use a shade and mold chart to choose replacement teeth that will most closely match your natural teeth, minimizing changes in appearance.
Placing the Final Dentures:
Complete dentures are made when gums are restored to a healthy condition and sufficient time has passed for healing. Complete dentures replace all teeth in the upper or lower jaws of the mouth. Gums will naturally shrink through the healing process of tooth loss, which normally takes from six to twelve months.
You should schedule for post operative care after delivery of your new dentures. It's not unusual to experience some initial discomfort. Minor adjustments to the denture can increase comfort and eliminate problems before they become more serious. Initially, a new denture may feel unusual in the mouth. The cheeks, lips, and tongue are very sensitive areas that require time to adjust to new dentures. It is not uncommon to bite one's cheek or tongue while acclimating to new dentures. However, persistent soreness or irritation should be reported to your dentist.
Denture After Care
Complete dentures, overdentures, and removable partial dentures must be removed at night while you sleep. This enables the patient's gums to be bathed by saliva, which aids in maintaining a healthy mouth and has important properties for controlling the naturally occurring flora found in the oral cavity. It also is extremely important to practice healthy dental hygiene when wearing dentures. There's a risk of developing a more serious medical condition should irritation result from improper denture hygiene.
These conditions include, but are not limited to:
Periodontal disease (gum disease),
Leukoplakia (thickened white, potentially precancerous patches on the mucous membranes, (also called smoker's tongue)
Fungal (denture stomatitis) infections
The gums, tongue and palate should be brushed with a soft bristle brush every evening when the dentures are removed, and each day before you insert the dentures to stimulate the gums and remove plaque accumulation. When removing dentures at night, brush the dentures carefully to remove any loose debris and plaque then soak them in a cleansing solution. Some patients keep their dentures in an ultrasonic cleaner, but keep in mind that an ultrasonic cleaner doesn't replace brushing. When cleaning your dentures, place a towel beneath the denture or clean them over a sink filled with water to avoid breakage.
In addition to adjusting to the feel of new dentures, it will also take some practice learning to chew with them. Begin by slowly chewing on very small pieces of soft food, using both sides of the mouth simultaneously. As your comfort and confidence increase you can progress to larger pieces of soft food and then proceed to harder foods.
Speaking may also require practice. It may be difficult to pronounce certain words. Usually, this problem is overcome within a couple of weeks.New denture wearers can adjust more quickly to their new prosthesis by practicing reading aloud.
With a well fitting denture and practice, denture adhesives may not be necessary. Denture wearers should expect the lower denture to fit somewhat loosely. They may need to learn how to use the muscles of the cheeks and tongue to keep the denture in place. Although this might sound bothersome, with practice, it becomes second nature.
Denture Readjustment or Replacement
If your dentures fit poorly, cause persistent mouth irritation, chip, crack, or break, it is important to see your dentist. Although most gum remodeling occurs within the first year, changes in gums and bone continue throughout one's lifetime. Over time this may result in ill-fitting or loose dentures and may compromise comfort and facial appearance. In addition, movement of the dentures on the gums may cause significant irritation. For this reason, it is recommended that complete dentures be remade or at least relined every five to seven years.