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A traditional solution for missing teeth

Dentures are used less frequently today than they have been in the past because people are taking better care of their teeth.

Dentures still are a replacement for missing teeth. The appliance can be removed from the mouth when a person sleeps, and can be removed for cleaning after meals. Depending on a patient’s individual needs, partial or full dentures may be used. Partial dentures are created when some of a patient’s natural teeth remain. Full dentures are used when a patient has no natural teeth remaining.

There are two types of full dentures.

Conventional full dentures: This appliance is created after all the natural teeth are removed from a patient and the mouth and gum tissue is given time to heal before the dentures are placed. This process can take months, and the patient is likely to be without teeth during the entire period.

Immediate full dentures: Prior to the removal of the natural teeth, measurements are taken and the dentures are fabricated in advance. During the same procedure, the natural teeth are removed and the dentures are immediately placed in the mouth. The benefit is the patient is not without teeth for an extended period. Follow-up visits will need to be scheduled by the patient so the dentist can re-fit the denture if the jawbone has slightly changed shape as the mouth healed. Dentures usually need to be tightened as the jaw heals.

Partial dentures are an option when some natural teeth remain. A partial denture is similar to a bridge, but a partial denture is not a permanent fixture in your mouth.

Dentures take some time for a patient to adjust to. The flesh-colored base of the denture is placed over the gum and patients often complain the denture is bulky and there isn’t enough room for the tongue. Patients also say the denture feels loose and doesn’t fit correctly. Over time, the mouth gets used to the denture and it becomes a natural part of the mouth.

Dentures should cared for like natural teeth. A denture should be brushed to remove plaque and food particles when it is removed from the mouth. Once the denture is removed, it should be placed in room temperature water or a denture cleaning solution.

Hot water should never be used because it can warp the denture. A denture is a delicate appliance and should be handled with care. Never try to adjust a denture at home. All adjustments should be done by a dentist.