What is a denture?
A denture is an oral prosthetic device designed to replace missing teeth. Conventional dentures are removable and may be full (replacing all teeth in the upper or lower jaw) or partial (used when some natural teeth remain in either jaw). These are further divided into maxillary (upper) and mandibular (lower) categories. Dentures are shaped to mimic your natural teeth and bite as closely as possible and are traditionally held in place both by the suction created by the denture’s shape and the anatomy of your bone and tissue. Partial dentures are often built on a metal framework hooked onto existing teeth to keep the partial in position.
How long does it take to get a denture?
Creating and fitting a conventional denture is multiple appointment procedures. A conventional denture can be placed approximately eight to twelve weeks after the teeth being replaced have been extracted, to allow the site time to heal. There are dentures that can be placed more immediately, but they will require more adjustment as the mouth heals and changes shape following any necessary extractions. The process for a denture is typical as follows:
The History of Dentures
Dentures have been around since at least 700 B.C. when the Etruscans in northern Italy were making dentures out of human and other animal teeth. Though not very durable, these were easy to produce and remained popular into the 19th century. Wood, gold, ivory and various other materials were commonly found in dentures through these centuries as well, as in George Washington’s infamous false teeth. The first porcelain dentures were crafted in the late 18th century, and the 20th century saw the first use of acrylic resins and other plastics, which remain the popular material today.
Is there an alternative solution for missing teeth?
Dental implants are an effective alternative to dentures. Implants are durable, safe, and a beautiful way of replacing missing teeth. To find out more about how they work, and whether or not you are a good candidate for them, visit our dental implant page.
How To Care For Your Dentures
- Clean your dentures twice a day.
- Use a denture brush when cleaning them, and denture paste or baking soda. DO NOT use toothpaste.
- Dentures can be slippery. Use either a towel under your hands or fill the sink with water to prevent breaking if the fall off your hands.
- After each meal make sure to remove your denture and rinse both the denture and your mouth to minimize any food irritating your tissues.
- Remove your denture every night before bed and put them in a denture bath. This will allow the tissues to relax and will disinfect your denture.
- Be sure to continue to brush your tongue and gums with a soft brush without any toothpaste.
- It will take 6-8 weeks to feel comfortable eating with your new dentures.
- Here are a couple of tips:
- Begin with soft foods
- Eat small bites, and place them slightly to the side
- Try to chew on both sides at the same time. This will give more stability to the denture.
- Avoid biting into food, as it may dislodge the dentures.
- Be careful with very hot foods or drinks; dentures decrease your sensitivity and you may end up burning your tissues.
- Most dentures will cause some degree of soreness initially. We recommend you come in for an adjustment if you’re experiencing any soreness. Multiple adjustments may be required.
- Practice speaking with your dentures. It’s common to have some difficulty initially, especially with ‘f’ and ‘s’ sounds.
- It will take time, your tongue needs to be re-trained.
- Increased salivation is normal initially. Once you’re used to wearing your denture, this will correct itself.
When to Visit the Dentist
- Denture wearers should see their dentist once a year to evaluate the denture and the surrounding tissues. You should also come in if your denture breaks, chips, or is causing sore spots. Please don’t attempt to fix this on your own.
- Also, as time passes, your denture may need to be relined for a better fit, or a new one should be made. No denture is meant to last forever.
- After the extractions, you should leave your dentures in place for 24 hours. After 24 hours, remove the dentures and rinse with warm salt water. Do not expectorate. Your mouth will be sore, but we recommend you try to wear the dentures as much as you can, making sure to remove it at night. Usually, they require more adjustments, please call our office if you develop any sore spots.