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Full and Partial Dentures
Dentures are removable prosthetics that are designed to replace missing teeth and surrounding tissues. Two types of dentures are available: Complete and Partial Dentures. Complete dentures are needed when all teeth are missing, while partial dentures are used when some natural teeth are still present in the mouth.
While dentures may never feel or fit exactly like natural teeth and may take time getting used to, they restore functionality so that you can eat and talk, and they are also natural looking and comfortable.
What are Complete Dentures?
Complete dentures may be used for both upper and the lower jaw, and can be either conventional or immediate.
- Conventional dentures are made after the teeth have been removed and gum tissue has healed. It generally takes 8 to 12 weeks or more following extraction of the teeth for the conventional denture to be ready for placement. The rate of healing after extractions varies based on several factors, such as proper oral care or any smoking habits. Your dentist will discuss with you what to expect during this healing period.
- Immediate dentures are made in advance and can be placed soon after the teeth are removed.With immediate dentures, the teeth will be in place during the healing process. As with any teeth extractions, bone and gum will shrink and need time to heal after the removal of teeth. For that reason, there is a disadvantage with immediate dentures compared to conventional dentures, in that they will require more adjustments to fit properly during the healing process.
Educational Video on Complete Dentures
What are Partial Dentures?
Partial dentures are teeth attached to a plastic base, which is molded onto a metal framework holding the denture in the mouth. These types of dentures are used when one or more natural teeth (upper or lower jaw) are still present. A partial denture is removable and has attachments (clasps) that are used to hold the denture in place.
Educational Video on Partial Dentures
What is the process for dentures?
Developing dentures can take three to six weeks or more and consist of several appointments. After you and your dentist have determined what solution and appliance is best for you, there are several steps that are involved:
- Impressions: This requires your dentist to take a series of impressions of your jaw, take measurements of how the jaws relate to one another and to check the space between them. The final product is a stone model of the jaw bones.
- Wax bite: After the first step, the false teeth are set in wax (over the stone model). The dentist then tries them in the patient’s mouth to evaluate the overall fit and bite.
- Try in: During this step the patient will try the model several times while the dentist assesses the denture’s color, shape and fit before the final denture is fabricated and delivered.
- Delivery: The denture is placed into the patient’s mouth for ongoing use.
- Adjustments will be made every few months or more frequently as needed.
How long do dentures last?
Dentures should last many years. However, with normal wear, dentures will need to be periodically relined, remade or rebased. ‘Rebased’ refers to making a new base while keeping the same teeth. Aging plays a role in the functionality of dentures. As the aging process occurs, your mouth will naturally change (gum and bone shrink) causing your dentures to become loose, which may irritate gums and there may be difficulty chewing. There are solutions for this issue including further adjustment, tissue conditioning, relining the dentures, and potentially getting a new set of dentures. Dentures should be examined by your dentist at least twice a year.
How to care for your Dentures
Proper care of your dentures is important to help your dentures last and to keep your mouth healthy for years to come.
- Dentures can easily break if accidentally dropped, so it is best to stand over a folded towel or a full sink of water when handling.
- Brush and rinse dentures daily. Just like natural teeth, dentures can retain food and plaque and become stained. It is recommended that dentures are brushed daily with a soft bristle brush that is specifically designed for cleaning dentures. Using hard bristle brushes can damage dentures. Gently brush all surfaces of the denture, without bending the plate, and rinse dentures after each meal. Before using any dental denture cleaner, be sure to consult your dentist for the recommended dental cleanser.
- When not in use, keep the dentures moist so they don’t dry out or lose their shape. Soak them in dental cleanser or in water. For partial dentures that have metal, soaking them in cleanser can damage the metal. No denture should be soaked in hot water as it can cause them to warp.
Educational Video on Caring for Your Dentures