There is much that is misunderstood about dentures. Too often in the media dentures are portrayed as nothing more than a punchline. However, dentures are a remarkable tool that improve quality of life and inspire people to have the confidence to smile again. If you think the right dentures are appropriate for your situation, nothing should stop you from getting the dentures you need.
What Are Dentures?
Dentures are removable appliances that act as temporary tooth solutions in the event of tooth loss. They range in size to match the extent of the loss, from replacing one tooth to a full set of teeth. While it is common for dentures to replace all of one’s teeth, especially in the golden years, they have far more applications. In fact, they don’t have to be the solution you choose for the rest of your life.
What Are Dentures Made of?
Throughout the history of dentures, many different materials have been considered to construct them from. We have come a long way from the days when dentures were made chiefly of wood. Current dentures have a two-part structure to mimic natural teeth: the gumline inset and the teeth themselves.
The supporting structure component rests against the gums and keeps the dentures in place. It is usually made either of a flexible polymer or an acrylic resin. It is designed to look like natural gums. The teeth components are also usually made of acrylic resin which is quite tough though not as durable as natural hard tooth tissue.
Conventional dentures are usually what comes to mind when people think about dentures. Their purpose is to replace teeth for the long run, though no set of dentures is as long-lasting as dental implants. They are typically good for five to 10 years. Before conventional dentures can be worn, the mouth and bones within it must have a chance to heal.
Immediate dentures require no such waiting period. In fact, their purpose is to give people the functionality of natural teeth while their jaws recover from tooth extraction procedures. These dentures are not designed to last longer than the recovery period (usually no more than six months).
Immediate dentures can be refitted relatively easily to accommodate for changes in the mouth associated with healing. This can include gradually subsiding swelling in both the jaw and gums. When the healing process is complete, immediate dentures can be disposed of in favor of conventional dentures or a more permanent solution like dental implants.
The Benefits of the Right Dentures
When you have the right dentures for your mouth, your quality of life increases impressively. Dentures counteract the common effects of tooth loss, including sagging facial muscles and an exaggerated appearance of age. Dentures fill out the cheeks and profile, making their wearers appear healthy as opposed to gaunt.
The right dentures are custom designed to fit your mouth and can make speaking easier and inspire a renewed sense of confidence. Your dentist will design your dentures to mirror natural teeth, including color matching if you still have natural teeth. This helps make the transition to wearing dentures easier.
Living with Dentures
Just because you find the right dentures for you, doesn’t mean they won’t feel strange at first. It will take time to adjust to your new dentures, perhaps a few weeks until you feel used to them. Your facial muscles will need to learn how to hold them in place, so during that adjustment period they may feel loose or even irritate the inside of your mouth.
Understanding the Right Dentures Care Routines
Dentures need to be taken care of properly if they are to last. All teeth should be cleaned twice a day—this includes dentures, dental implants, and even real teeth. In this way you preserve good oral hygiene and stave off infection and decay.
When your dentures are not in use, you should rinse them well and store them in a safe place submerged in warm water. Avoid hot water even if you are concerned about bacteria because temperature extremes (on either end of the thermometer) can cause your dentures to warp or crack. Letting your dentures dry out will lead to the same result.
Giving your mouth a break from your dentures allows your muscles to relax, and taking out your dentures when you sleep protects them from being dislodged, damaged, or lost. As you adjust to your dentures, follow-up regularly with your dentist to make sure your mouth is healing properly. If your dentures are damaged or stop fitting correctly, contact your dentist.