Dental dentures are useful for replacing missing teeth and the tissues that surround them. They are the most common form of artificial teeth that are recommended by dentists around the world.
Depending on whether only a few teeth need to be replaced or an entire jaw (upper or lower) needs covering up, the dentist will recommend either partial or complete dentures.
How Dentures Work
Partial dentures replace the tooth (or teeth) and take support of the surrounding teeth to stay in place. Complete dentures on the other hand extend on to the palate, with the roof of the mouth being covered for upper jaw dentures and the lower jaw dentures accommodating your tongue with a horseshoe shape for the base extension.
How Dentures Are Made
Getting your dentures made might require you to visit a prosthodontist who is a specialist in the replacement and restoration of teeth. The complete process of getting your custom dentures can take anywhere from three to six weeks, and will require multiple appointments.
The first step in the procedure is to make several accurate impressions of your teeth and jaws, and how they relate to one another. This will include the way they fit together and the space in between them. Once the measurements are complete, a wax or plastic model of the dentures will be made for you to try on for size and comfort. As required, the dentist will make alterations till both of you are happy with the result. Based on the final alterations, the cast will be made for your dentures.
Getting Used to Dentures
Dentures are not natural and they definitely don’t feel so to begin with. With something foreign being lodged in your mouth through the day, normal activities like eating and speaking need to be relearnt to some extent.
Most people take a few weeks to a few months to get accustomed to dentures taking up some space in their mouth. Common problems that you might face during this period include excess saliva, soreness or irritation, the tongue feeling claustrophobic, and general unease. Your dentist should be able to guide you through this phase to help ease the transition.
Full Dentures vs Partial Dentures
Partial dentures are the types that are used to fill in the gaps between existing or surviving teeth on the jaw. They serve to complete your natural smile are available with a palate or without it. Since their introduction, the variety without a palate has gained popularity due to the fact that they make dentures far more comfortable to wear.
However, depending on the particular case, dentures without palates are not suitable for everyone and have only a 40% compatibility rate. Not only is the strength of the fit a concern, but also the location of the missing teeth in the jaw makes a difference. Moreover, the process of customizing the dentures without a palate is long drawn out.
As the name suggests, complete dentures are used when all the teeth are missing. As compared to partial dnetures a complete denture will offer greater coverage and functionality.
The process of creating your custom dentures includes gathering information about your jaws and your TMJ or the temporomandibular joint, based on which the entire process is initiated. The laboratory technician begins his task by analysing this TMJ information and understanding the movement of your jaw based on this. The dentures that are created as a result are a cutting edge blend of craftsmanship and technology.
The reliability of the end result of the process of full dentures makes the choice a simple one. Then again, consulting with your dentist will shed some more light on your particular case and you will be able to make a more informed choice.
The Lifespan of Dentures
Since dentures are artificial and cannot adjust to natural changes in your mouth, they might loosen or need to be remade over a period. It is generally a good idea to schedule annual check-ups with your dentist to assess the condition of your dentures.
How to Keep Your Dentures Clean?
Taking care of your dentures and keeping them clean is a matter of inculcating the right habits. With the right procedures and a little bit of attention, taking care of them is a hassle free process.
- After each meal, make sure to wash your dentures. This helps remove any food particles that get stuck to them.
- To avoid the accumulation of stains or plaque, ensure that you brush a minimum of two times a day with a soft bristled toothbrush.
- Do not use scouring powders or any abrasive cleaners for your dentures. They might scratch lead to scratches and make them susceptible to stains or plaque formation.
- The right cleaning method involves the use of denture paste, water, and a soft toothbrush.
- Most dentures are meant to be removed while sleeping. Your dentist may specifically advise you to the contrary if your case is special.
- While going to sleep, it is advisable to soak your dentures in water as per the advice of the dentist, to avoid them from shrinking and warping in the process.
- If you have managed to collect heavy stains or a thick layer of calculus or tartar on your dentures, have them cleaned at your dentist’s clinic. An ultrasonic cleaning can take care of the heavier grime that regular home care cannot.
Apart from the inherent benefits of keeping your dentures clean, it also means lesser visits to your dentist!
Alternatives to Dentures
While dentures have been around for decades and have improved with technology, there is a more advanced option for teeth replacement in dental implants. The downside to implants however is that the cost for these is greater and they are not yet suitable for every case. Your dentist will be able to better advice you on this option.
While dentures might seem like an uncomfortable option to begin with, they help a lot of people lead normal lives. Keeping these tips and points in mind, can make living with dentures an easy affair.
The denture development process takes a few appointments. Once your prosthodontist determines what type of appliance is best for you, the general steps are to:
Step 1: Impressions
Make a series of impressions of your jaw and take measurements of how your jaws relate to one another and how much space is between them.
Step 2: Denture wax
Create models, wax forms, and/or plastic patterns in the exact shape and position of the denture to be made. You will "try in" this model several times and the denture will be assessed for color, shape, and fit before the final denture is cast.
Step 3: Cast a final denture
Step 4: Adjustments will be made as necessary
Cost of Dentures
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