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Dentures - False Teeth


Dentures can replace your missing teeth and your smile. This may be required in the event that you have lost your natural teeth from gum disease, tooth decay or injury.

Replacing missing teeth will benefit your appearance and your health. Facial muscles sag without support from a denture which makes a person look older. You will also be able to eat and speak, things that people often take for granted until they have lost their natural teeth.

What is a denture?

A denture is an appliance which is worn to replace lost or missing teeth. The base of a denture is called a plate and can be made of either acrylic (plastic) or metal. The teeth are normally made of acrylic and can be made to match your natural teeth. A complete or full denture is one which replaces all of the natural teeth in either the upper or lower jaws. A partial denture fills in the spaces created by lost or missing teeth and is attached to your natural teeth with metal clasps or devices called precision attachments.

Why bother with dentures?

Replacing lost or missing teeth has substantial benefits for your health and appearance. A complete or full denture replaces the natural teeth and provides support for cheeks and lips. Without this support, sagging facial muscles can make a person appear older and reduce their ability to eat and speak.

Who needs a denture?

Candidates for complete dentures have lost most or all of their teeth. A partial denture is suitable for those who have some natural teeth remaining. A denture improves chewing ability and speech and provides support for facial muscles. It will greatly enhance the facial appearance and smile.

What is the difference between conventional and immediate dentures?

Conventional dentures are made and inserted after teeth have been removed and the tissues have healed. Healing may take several months.

Immediate Dentures are inserted immediately after teeth have been removed. To do this, dentists take measurements and impressions of your mouth during a preliminary visit.

An advantage of immediate dentures is that the wearer does not have to be without teeth during the healing period. However, bone and gums can shrink over time, especially during the first six months after teeth have been removed. When gums shrink, immediate dentures may require relining or even replacing to fit properly. A conventional denture can then be made once the tissues have healed. Healing may take at least 6-8 weeks.

What is an overdenture?

An overdenture is a removable denture that fits over a small number of remaining natural teeth or dental implants. The natural teeth must be prepared to provide stability and support for the denture. Dentists can determine if an overdenture would be suitable for you.

What will dentures feel like?

New dentures may feel awkward or even uncomfortable for a few weeks until you become accustomed to them. The dentures may feel loose while the muscles of your cheek and tongue learn to keep them in place. Should this continue, consult our a dentist.

It is not unusual to experience minor irritation or soreness during this period. You may also find that saliva flow temporarily increases. As your mouth becomes accustomed to the dentures, these problems should diminish. If any problems persist, particularly irritation or soreness, be sure to consult a dentist.

Will dentures make me look different?

Dentures can be made to closely resemble your natural teeth so that little change in appearance will be noticeable. Modern dentures may even improve the look of your smile and help fill out the appearance of your face and profile.

How long should I wear my dentures?

During the first few days, you may be advised to wear them for most of the time, including while you are asleep. After an initial period of adjustment our dentists may advise that you remove them before going to bed. This allows your gums to rest and helps promote oral health. It is not desirable that the tissues be constantly covered by denture material.

Will I be able to eat with dentures?

Eating will take a little practice. Start with soft foods cut into small pieces. Chew slowly using both sides of your mouth at the same time to prevent the denture from moving. As you become more used to your denture, add other foods until you return to your normal diet. Continue to chew food using both sides of the mouth at the same time. Be cautious with hot or hard foods and sharp-edged bones or shells.

Will dentures change how I speak?

Pronouncing certain words may require practice. Reading out loud and repeating difficult words will help. If you find that your dentures occasionally slip when you laugh, cough or smile, reposition the denture by gently biting down and swallowing. If this continues consult a dentist.

Should a denture be worn at night?

While you may be advised to wear your denture almost constantly during the first two weeks including while you sleep, under normal circumstances it is considered best to remove it at night. Research has shown that removing the denture for at least eight hours during either the day or night allows the gum tissue to rest and allows normal stimulation and cleansing by the tongue and saliva. This promotes better long-term health of the gums.

How do I take care of my dentures?

The general rule is brush, soak, and brush. Always clean your dentures over a bowl of water or a folded towel in case you drop them. Brush your dentures before soaking to help remove any food debris. The use of an effervescent denture cleaner will help remove stubborn stains and leave your denture feeling fresher - always follow the manufacturers' instructions - then brush the dentures again, as you would your own teeth, being careful not to scrub too hard as this may cause grooves in the surface.

Most dentists advise using a small to medium headed toothbrush and toothpaste. Make sure you clean all the surfaces of the dentures including the surface which comes into contact with your gums. This is especially important if you use any kind of denture fixative. If you notice a build up of stains or scale, have your denture cleaned by a dentist or hygienist.

Should I use a denture adhesive?

Denture adhesive can provide additional retention for well-fitting dentures. Denture adhesives are not the solution for old, ill-fitting dentures. A poorly fitting denture which causes constant irritation over a long period may contribute to the development of sores. These dentures may need a reline or need to be replaced. If your dentures begin to feel loose or cause pronounced discomfort, consult with a dentist immediately.

Can I make minor adjustments or repairs to my dentures?

You can seriously damage your dentures and harm your health by trying to adjust or repair your dentures. A denture that is not made to fit properly can cause irritation and sores.

See a dentist if your dentures break, crack, chip, or if one of the teeth becomes loose. A dentist can often make the necessary adjustments or repairs on the same day. A person who lacks the proper training will not be able to reconstruct the denture. This can cause greater damage to the denture and may cause problems in your mouth. Glue sold over-the-counter often contains harmful chemicals and should not be used on dentures.

Must I do anything special to care for my mouth?

Even with full dentures, you still need to take good care of your mouth. Every morning and evening, brush your gums, tongue and palate (roof of your mouth) with a soft-bristled brush. This removes plaque and stimulates circulation in the mouth. It is vitally important that partial denture wearers brush their teeth thoroughly every day to prevent tooth decay and gum disease that can lead to further teeth being lost. Selecting a balanced diet for proper nutrition is also important for maintaining a healthy mouth.

Will my dentures need to be replaced?

Over a period of time, dentures will need to be relined or re-made due to normal wear or a change in the shape of your mouth. Bone and gum ridges can recede or shrink causing jaws to align differently. Loose dentures can cause health problems including sores and infections not to mention discomfort. A loose or ill-fitting denture can also make eating and speaking more difficult. It is important to replace worn or poorly fitting dentures before they cause problems.

How often should I see my dentist?

Regular dental check-ups and having your teeth professionally cleaned are vital for maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Most dentists recommend that under normal circumstances this should be done every 6 months. Full denture wearers should consult their dentist as to the frequency of visits. With regular professional care, a positive attitude and persistence, you can become one of the millions of people who wear their dentures with a smile.

Are there any alternatives to dentures?

Dentures are no longer the only way to restore a mouth that has little or no non-restorable teeth. Strategically placed support, or implants, can now be used to support permanently cemented bridges, eliminating the need for a denture. The cost tends to be greater, but the implants and bridges more closely resemble the 'feel' of real teeth. Dental implants are becoming the alternative of choice to dentures, but not everyone is a candidate for implants.

Call your dentist for advice.

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