Dentures, also known as dental prosthetics, are a type of dental appliance that are designed to replace missing teeth. These removable dental prosthetics are commonly used for people who have lost all or most of their teeth due to injury, disease, or age. Dentures can be made of different materials, such as acrylic, metal, or a combination of both. In this article, we will explore the different types of dentures, the process of getting dentures, caring for dentures, and the advantages and disadvantages of wearing dentures.
Types of Dentures
There are several types of dentures, each designed to fit different needs and budgets. The most common types of dentures include complete dentures, partial dentures, and implant-supported dentures.
Complete dentures, also known as full dentures, are designed to replace all of the teeth in the upper or lower jaw. These dentures are usually made of acrylic and fit over the gums. Complete dentures can be either immediate or conventional. Immediate dentures are made before the teeth are removed and are placed in the mouth immediately after the teeth are extracted. Conventional dentures are made after the gums have healed, usually about 8-12 weeks after the teeth are removed.
Partial dentures are designed to replace one or more missing teeth in the upper or lower jaw. These dentures are usually made of a metal framework with acrylic teeth and fit over the remaining teeth. Partial dentures can be either removable or fixed. Removable partial dentures can be taken out for cleaning and maintenance. Fixed partial dentures, also known as bridges, are cemented in place and cannot be removed.
Implant-supported dentures are designed to be more stable and secure than traditional dentures. These dentures are supported by dental implants, which are titanium screws that are surgically placed into the jawbone. Implant-supported dentures can be either fixed or removable. Fixed implant-supported dentures are permanently attached to the implants and cannot be removed. Removable implant-supported dentures snap onto the implants and can be taken out for cleaning and maintenance.
How Do Dentures Work?
Dentures work by resting on the gums, creating a suction effect that keeps them in place. In some cases, dentures may require adhesives to ensure they remain secure. Dentures are typically custom-made to fit a person’s mouth, ensuring they are comfortable and functional. With proper care and maintenance, dentures can last for many years.
The Process of Getting Dentures
The process of getting dentures typically takes several appointments over a period of several weeks or months. The first step is to have a comprehensive dental exam and consultation with a dentist or prosthodontist. During this appointment, the dentist will evaluate the patient’s oral health and determine if dentures are the best treatment option. If dentures are recommended, the dentist will take impressions of the patient’s mouth and make models of the teeth and gums. These models are used to create the dentures.
Once the dentures are ready, the patient will return for a fitting appointment. During this appointment, the dentist will try the dentures in the patient’s mouth and make any necessary adjustments. It may take several fittings to get the dentures to fit comfortably and securely.
Caring for Dentures
Caring for dentures is essential to ensure their longevity and effectiveness. Dentures should be brushed daily with a soft-bristled toothbrush and a non-abrasive denture cleaner. Regular toothpaste should not be used on dentures as it can damage the denture material. Dentures should be rinsed with water after every meal and soaked in a denture cleaning solution overnight.
It is also important to care for the gums and remaining teeth if the patient has partial dentures. The gums should be brushed twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste. Flossing should also be done daily to remove food particles and plaque from between the teeth.
Advantages of Wearing Dentures
There are several advantages to wearing dentures, including improved appearance, better oral
health, and improved self-esteem.
- Improved Appearance: Dentures can improve the appearance of the face by filling out the cheeks and lips, and restoring a natural-looking smile. Missing teeth can cause the face to sag and make the person look older than they are. Dentures can give a more youthful appearance and help the person feel more confident in their appearance.
- Better Oral Health: Dentures can also improve oral health by preventing the remaining teeth from shifting and becoming misaligned. When teeth are missing, the remaining teeth can shift and move, causing bite problems, difficulty chewing, and jaw pain. Dentures can help maintain the alignment of the remaining teeth and prevent further dental problems.
- Improved Self-Esteem: People who wear dentures often report feeling more confident in social situations and having a better quality of life. Dentures can improve speech and make it easier to eat and chew, which can lead to a more enjoyable and fulfilling life.
Disadvantages of Wearing Dentures
While there are many advantages to wearing dentures, there are also some disadvantages that should be considered.
- Discomfort: Dentures can be uncomfortable, especially in the beginning. It can take time for the person to adjust to the feeling of the dentures in their mouth, and there may be some irritation or soreness in the gums. It is important to communicate any discomfort to the dentist so that adjustments can be made to the dentures.
- Maintenance: Dentures require regular maintenance, including cleaning and soaking in a denture cleaning solution. This can be time-consuming and may require additional expenses for denture cleaning products.
- Eating Difficulties: Dentures can make it more difficult to eat certain foods, especially hard or sticky foods. It may take some time for the person to learn how to eat with the dentures in place and to avoid certain foods that can damage the dentures.
- Speech Difficulties: Dentures can also affect speech, especially in the beginning. It may take some time for the person to adjust to speaking with the dentures in place and to learn how to pronounce certain words.
Cost of Dentures
The cost of dentures can vary depending on several factors, including the type of denture, the materials used, and the location of the dental practice. Partial dentures are typically less expensive than complete dentures, and implant-supported dentures are the most expensive.
Many dental insurance plans cover some or all of the cost of dentures, making them a more affordable option for many people. It is important to check with your insurance provider to understand your coverage and out-of-pocket costs.
Dentures are a common treatment option for people who have lost all or most of their teeth. They can improve appearance, oral health, and self-esteem. There are several types of dentures, including complete dentures, partial dentures, and implant-supported dentures. The process of getting dentures can take several weeks or months and requires several appointments with a dentist or prosthodontist. Caring for dentures is essential to ensure their longevity and effectiveness. While there are advantages to wearing dentures, there are also some disadvantages that should be considered. It is important to discuss the pros and cons of dentures with a dentist to determine if they are the best treatment option for each individual.