If you have experienced tooth loss from tooth decay, gum disease, or injury, or you’ve had multiple teeth removed; you are a good candidate and likely familiar with dentures. You also likely have questions about them, such as what they are, what they do, and how they work. Let’s look closer at this traditional and commonly used oral care treatment.
Dentures—What Are They?
Simply defined, dentures are removable artificial teeth and gums specifically formed to fit your mouth to replace missing natural teeth. Your dentist will create dentures that visually match adjacent existing teeth and fit them to the gum line, replacing a few teeth or all of them with partial or full dentures.
Modern dentures are typically made of a very hard resin but are more fragile than your natural teeth and wear down after about five years, requiring replacement. They also tend to chip or even crack if not properly maintained. The supporting “gums” of dentures are usually made of a flexible polymer that melds with your natural gum line.
Is There a Benefit to Wearing Dentures?
An obvious reason to choose dentures is to regain your smile after the loss of multiple teeth, but additional benefits also make them a wise and popular choice.
We need our teeth to provide support to our face and jaw bone. As such, dentures aid in maintaining stability to our cheeks and mouth, filling out the profile of the face. Dentures can also take the place of natural teeth that are damaged or causing significant pain, and they allow you to chew properly and keep your body nourished with the healthy food you need.
Dentures make it easier to speak as well. When we were kids and our baby teeth fell out, we quickly learned it was tricky to talk normally. The gap where a tooth used to be makes our words sound goofy and the same thing happens with adults and elderly people but properly fitted dentures can restore an engaging voice.
Types of Dentures
Dentures generally come in three different types; Conventional, Immediate, and Overdenture.
These are full, removable dentures which are fitted to your mouth after all teeth are removed and tissue is fully healed.
This type of denture is placed immediately after remaining teeth are removed, which means patients don’t have to wait through the entire healing process.
Overdentures make use of healthy teeth to help provide stability and preserve the integrity of the jaw bone.
What Will Your New Dentures Feel Like?
As is the case with most every major oral procedure, it will take a while to get used to the feel of new dentures. It typically takes several weeks before irritation and soreness subside and sometimes the dentures will feel loose but that is part of the interim period when cheek and tongue muscles get used to their new neighbors.
Another common and frustrating side effect of new dentures is increased saliva flow. Yes, it’s messy and you shouldn’t take a date to a fancy restaurant when you’re drooling all over the place, but it goes away after your mouth adapts to the dentures.
Top Five Tips for Adjusting to New Dentures
Everyone is different and every experience is different but there are several go-to habits to adopt to help you adjust to new dentures.
Practice eating slowly and with soft food cut into small pieces. Chew slowly with both sides of your mouth.
If you hear a click from your dentures when speaking, speak slower and practice repeating words that give you trouble. It also helps to read out loud.
Your dentures might slip when coughing, laughing, sneezing, or smiling. If this happens you can reposition the dentures by simply biting down and swallowing.
Wear your dentures per the prescribed times for the full duration of the breaking-in phase.
Keep them clean. Rinse the dentures before brushing, use a soft-bristle toothbrush, and be sure to clean your whole mouth including gums, cheeks, and tongue.
Bonus tip: When you’re not wearing your dentures, keep them submerged in water and in a place they won’t get lost or damaged.
For more information on adjusting to new dentures and available options, contact StarWhite Dental at (951) 291-0668.