Dentures are a removable appliance designed to replace missing teeth and their surrounding tissue. They are designed to closely resemble your teeth and serve to complete the overall dental structure of your mouth, supporting both the normal function of your teeth and the natural beauty of your smile. There are two types of dentures: complete and partial. Complete dentures are used when all of the teeth are missing. Partial dentures are used when some natural teeth remain, both filling the spaces left by missing teeth and preventing the remaining teeth from shifting out of place.
Complete dentures come in two types: conventional and immediate. Conventional dentures are created after the teeth have been removed and the gum tissue has healed; generally a 4 to 6 week process. During this time, the patient must go without teeth, so a set of immediate dentures is prepared in advance and placed right after the teeth are removed. This prevents the patient from having to go without teeth during the healing process. Once healing is complete, a permanent set of conventional dentures can be properly set in place.
What can this procedure repair?
- Loss of all teeth in an arch
- Loss of several teeth in an arch
- Problems with chewing, speech, and digestion
- Dissatisfaction with the appearance of one’s smile
How is this procedure done?
Getting dentures requires several appointments over the course of several weeks. At your first appointment, the dentist will take precise measurements and create an individually customized mold that will be used to manufacture your “conventional” dentures. You will then be given a set of “immediate” dentures for use while healing takes place and the “conventional” dentures are prepared. Several “try-in” appointments are often necessary along the way to ensure proper shape, color, and fit. At the final appointment, your dentist will precisely adjust and place the completed denture, ensuring a natural and comfortable fit and restoring your teeth to full function.
What kind of follow up care should I expect?
Shortly after dentures have been put in place, many patients experience increased saliva flow, mild soreness, and possible problems with speech and chewing. This is a normal reaction, and it will subside quickly as the muscles and tissues of your mouth get used to the new dentures. The dentist will provide detailed care instructions, and it is important to remember that proper cleaning, daily brushing and flossing, and regular dental visits all help to aid in extending the life of your new dentures. They are very durable appliances that will last many years with proper maintenance, but keep in mind that they sometimes have to be remade, repaired, or readjusted due to normal wear.