A denture is a removable replacement
for missing teeth and adjacent tissues. It is made of acrylic resin,
sometimes in combination with various metals. Complete dentures
replace all the teeth, while a partial denture fills in the spaces
created by missing teeth and prevents other teeth from changing
Complete dentures are either
"conventional" or "immediate."
A conventional denture is placed in
the mouth about a month after all the teeth are removed to allow for
proper healing, whereas an immediate denture is placed as soon as the
teeth are removed. The drawback behind an immediate denture is that it
may require more adjustments after the healing has taken place.
Who needs a denture?
Candidates for complete dentures have
lost most or all of their teeth. A partial denture is suitable for
those who have some natural teeth remaining. A denture improves
chewing ability and speech, and provides support for facial muscles.
It will greatly enhance the facial appearance and smile.
What happens when you get a denture?
Clinical Dental Technician (denturist) can make a full
conventional denture when all teeth have been lost or all extraction
sites have healed (up to eight weeks or longer.) The denture process
takes about one month and five appointments: the initial diagnosis is
made; an impression and a wax bite are made to determine vertical
dimensions and proper jaw position; a "try-in" is placed to assure
proper colour, shape and fit; and the patient's final denture is
placed, following any minor adjustments.
New denture wearers need time to get
accustomed to their new "teeth" because even the best fitting dentures
will feel awkward at first. While most patients can begin to speak
normally within a few hours, many patients report discomfort with
eating for several days to a few weeks. To get accustomed to chewing
with a new denture, start with soft, easy-to-chew foods. In addition,
denture wearers often notice a slight change in facial appearance,
increased salivary flow, or minor speech difficulty.
What will dentures feel like.
Dentures may take a short while to become accustomed to, but if they
are well-fitted, you will soon be able to forget about them and
enjoy your life as you have done. After an initial period of
adjustment you may want to use a denture adhesive but please make
sure that you use adhesives with dentures that fit you well. Using
an adhesive as an alternative to getting well-fitted dentures may
cause you problems in the long term.
How do you care for a denture?
A denture is fragile, so it is
important to handle it with care. Remove and brush the denture daily,
preferably with a brush designed specifically for cleaning dentures,
using either a denture cleanser or toothpastes. Never use harsh,
abrasive cleansers, including abrasives toothpastes, because they may
scratch the surface of the denture. Don't sterilize your denture with
boiling water because it will cause it to become warped. If you wear a
partial denture be sure to remove it before brushing your natural
When not in use, soak it in a
cleanser solution or in water. Get in the habit of keeping the denture
in the same safe and handy place to reduce the likelihood of
Should a denture be worn at night?
While you may be advised to wear your
denture almost constantly during the first two weeks- even while you
sleep-under normal circumstances it is considered best to remove it at
night. Research has shown that removing the denture for at least eight
hours during either the day or night allows the gum tissue to rest and
allows normal stimulation and cleansing by the tongue and saliva. This
promotes better long-term health of the gums.
Continue seeing your dentist
It is important to continue having
regular dental checkups so that a dentist can examine oral tissues for
signs of disease or cancer. As of aging, your mouth will continue to
change as the bone under your denture shrinks or recedes. To maintain
a proper fit over time, it may be necessary to adjust your denture or
possibly remake your denture. Never attempt to adjust a denture
yourself and do not use denture adhesives for a prolonged period
because it can contribute to bone loss. When in doubt, consult your