Dentures: Things to Know
Dentures are removable oral fixtures that replace missing teeth and their surrounding tissues. They are a great way to restore your smile and improve your appearance if teeth are missing due to infection, injury, or tooth decay.
Missing teeth don’t just affect your smile, but can affect your face shape. When teeth are missing, facial muscles can sag, making you look older. Deciding to get dentures may be for cosmetic reasons or because your dentist is concerned with your overall health.
Regardless of why you are getting dentures, here are some of the important things to know about your new smile!
Types of Dentures
There are two types of complete dentures: Conventional or Immediate. After the decayed or infected teeth have been removed and the gum has begun to heal, conventional dentures can be placed. This occurs usually between 8 and 12 weeks after the teeth have been removed.
Immediate dentures are removable dentures that are inserted the same day the affected teeth are removed. This allows you to have teeth right away and throughout the healing process. These generally have to be realigned or corrected after the jaw has healed.
Ideally, immediate dentures are used as a temporary solution until conventional dentures can be made and placed in your mouth.
A partial denture, or bridge, consists of a few replacement teeth attached to a gum-colored framework. This framework holds the dentures in place. Partial dentures are used when natural teeth remain in your mouth.
A fixed bridge is a type of partial denture that is permanent. A crown is placed on the teeth on either side of the space, then attaching the artificial teeth to the bridge. This is cemented into the mouth.
Partial dentures fill in the spaces from missing teeth, but it also prevents other teeth from shifting and changing position in the mouth.
Depending on why you are choosing to get dentures, your dentist may or may not recommend using a denture adhesive.
Why Denture Adhesives are Recommended
There are 3 main reasons your dentist will recommend using a denture adhesive.
- To gives individuals a sense of security with their dentures because it provides stability, bite force, and retention.
- To help those with dry mouth conditions which can affect how dentures stay in their correct place. It can also help those with neurologic disabilities, stroke patients, and the elderly who have a decrease in natural saliva.
- To assist those who heavily use their facial muscles – such as public speakers or musicians.
Speak with your dentist if you have any concerns about why denture adhesives may not be best suited for you and your mouth.
Types of Denture Adhesives
- Paste: This denture adhesive is a paste, much like toothpaste. It should be applied to dry or wet dentures to act as a “cement” for your dentures. It may take some trial-and-error to determine how much paste is needed for a secure fit, but if the paste oozes out of the denture tray, use less. A few dots of paste on the upper and lower jaw denture trays is recommended.
- Powder: Powders are preferred by many denture wearers because it is easier to clean. A thin layer of powder is sprinkled across the tissue-bearing surface of the denture. When pressed into place, the powder acts as glue that holds dentures in place.
Taking Care of Your Mouth and New Dentures
New dentures can make your mouth feel sore and uncomfortable until you get used to them. You may feel like they are slightly loose as the muscles in your face and mouth learn to keep them in place. Minor issues like irritation, soreness, and increased saliva will decrease as you grow accustomed to your new dentures.
No matter what kind of dentures you wear, practicing good oral hygiene is important to keeping them looking nice and your surrounding gums healthy.
- Rinse your dentures before brushing
- Soft-bristled toothbrushes and non-abrasive cleaners are recommended so they don’t scratch
- When you are not wearing your dentures, keep them in water to prevent them from warping.
- If you use adhesives, use a dentist-recommended adhesive cleanser.
Be sure to have regular dentist appointments to ensure your dentures fit well and are not damaging your surrounding teeth or bone structure. Having your teeth cleaned professionally is very important.