Why do you need it?
At Shaun Lee, DDS, we often find that even patients who have dentures still have questions about them. We’re here to take the mystery out of all your dental procedures, including dentures.
Dentures are a custom-made, removable replacements for missing teeth. If you’ve lost some or even all of your natural teeth, it is important to replace them not only to restore your smile, but also for the benefit of your health. Dentures can help you eat and speak more comfortably, and are made to closely resemble your natural smile or even improve it! There are two main types of dentures: full and partial. We also offer implant supported dentures.
Full dentures, also known as complete dentures, are recommended for patients who are missing all of their natural teeth and do not have enough bone structure to support implants. Full dentures can be either conventional or immediate.
Conventional dentures are made and placed after the remaining teeth are removed and all tissues have healed, which may take several months.
Immediate dentures are made in advance and are placed immediately after teeth are removed. However because tissue and bone shrink over time and especially while healing, immediate dentures typically require more extensive refitting and adjustments while the jaw heals, and sometimes have to be remade entirely.
Partial dentures are a good option for patients who have one or more remaining healthy teeth. These appliances consist of replacement teeth attached to a gum-colored base, which is fastened to nearby natural teeth to keep them fixed in place. They are not permanently attached however, and can easily be removed for cleaning and while sleeping, just like full dentures.
Implant Supported Dentures
Implant supported dentures are attached to dental implants which are anchored in the jawbone, unlike regular dentures which rest on the gums. These are a good option for patients who do not have remaining teeth but do have enough healthy bone structure to support implants. This type of denture has special attachments that snap onto attachments on the implants. Implant supported dentures are usually more stable and comfortable than traditional dentures, with a high rate of patient satisfaction.
Adjusting To Your Dentures
Like getting braces or a new retainer, new dentures will feel like a foreign object at first. It is normal to experience some discomfort as you get used to them, but it’s helpful to keep in mind that it won’t last forever. Patience is key!
Eating and speaking with new dentures will take a little practice, but it will eventually become much easier. Start with soft foods cut into small pieces, and gradually incorporate harder food items. Don’t skip out on nutritious food! Singing is a great method of speech training, and singing along to your favorite tunes is an excellent and enjoyable way to adjust to speaking with your dentures fluidly.
It is not unusual for dentures to feel a bit loose or bulky while the muscles of your cheek and tongue learn to keep them in place, but it will feel more comfortable in time. It’s also a good idea to talk to your dentist about recommended dental creams or adhesives, and experiment with what kind works best for you!
Patients also often experience temporarily increased saliva flow as well as minor irritation and soreness. These issues will all go away as your mouth gradually gets used to the dentures. If irritation or discomfort persists, we recommend visiting the dentist for adjustments for a more comfortable and stable fit. Do not attempt to adjust dentures yourself, as this can result in irreparable damage. And be sure to clean and care for your dentures and mouth daily!
Cleaning Your Dentures
Regardless of the type, all dentures must be cleaned daily and removed nightly. Rinse and brush your dentures daily to remove food, plaque and bacteria, which can cause harm to existing teeth and gums. When not in use, submerge your dentures in a lukewarm denture soaking solution or plain water to prevent them from drying out and warping. Always remove your dentures while sleeping to avoid damaging them, and also to give your gums some time to relax!
And even if you have no remaining teeth, it is important to clean your entire mouth. Brush your tongue, gums, cheeks, and roof of your mouth to stimulate circulation and remove plaque. This helps reduce the risk of oral irritation and bad breath.