Dentures are temporary replacements after tooth loss. They are removable appliances that mimic the appearance of natural teeth. Dentures are a common solution when tooth loss is complete, but they also have application when some teeth remain. Because they are not permanent, while dentures can be used as a final tooth-loss solution, they are also helpful during the recovery phase in preparation for other solutions.
In the midst of total or partial tooth loss, dentures can make speaking easier, support facial structure, and inspire confidence. Teeth loss, in addition to embarrassing gaps, can cause facial muscles to sag, exaggerating the appearance of age. They can help alleviate both of these issues. Even if you are not looking to commit to more permanent tooth replacement options, you do not need to be defined by lost teeth.
Dentures are removable faux teeth attached to a supporting structure that mirrors the natural gum line. This is generally made of an acrylic resin or flexible polymer and is custom designed to fit your mouth. Historically, the teeth part of dentures has been made from a variety of materials, including porcelain or even wood. Nowadays dentures are typically made of acrylic resin which is stronger and holds up better. Still, it is not as strong as the hard tissue of natural teeth. The resin wears with time, and dentures are usually only good for five to 10 years.
At Covington Dental Arts in Riverton, UT, we offer two types of dentures: conventional and immediate.
Conventional dentures are used to replace all the missing teeth after the mouth and bone have recovered from the loss. These are as permanent as dentures get, serving as removable teeth for as long as they last.
As the name suggests, immediate dentures can be used to replace lost teeth immediately after remaining teeth are removed. They are something of a bandaid, meant to be disposed of once your mouth has completed its healing process. Immediate dentures are created even before the teeth being replaced have been removed and are designed to be easily refitted to accommodate changes in the mouth associated with swelling in the gums as they heal. This option ensures that you are never without teeth, even as your mouth recovers.
All dentures are temporary by nature. If you are looking for something more permanent, dental implants are likely a better fit.
What to Expect
The shift to using dentures may be an awkward transition. The cheeks and tongue must learn to accept them as a member of the family and get used to having them around. Mild irritation and soreness are not uncommon for the first few weeks.
Once you start using dentures, both they and your oral hygiene will need consistent and thorough maintenance. It is still important to maintain a regular dental hygiene routine when you lose your teeth. In fact, it can be even more so to prevent gum disease and decay. Brush your tongue, gums, and roof of your mouth each morning before putting in your dentures. This has the double benefit of removing plaque and stimulating tissue circulation.
They also need to be rinsed and brushed with a soft-bristled brush daily to fight away bacteria and prevent staining. When you remove your dentures (as you should every night before sleep to avoid damaging them and to give your gums a break), store them in warm—not hot—water to keep them from warping.
Especially in the weeks after getting dentures as your mouth adjusts, make follow-up appointments and regular dental visits a priority. A dentist can make sure your mouth is acclimating properly to having the newcomers around and that no odd side effects arise. If your dentures are damaged or stop fitting correctly, contact your dentist.