What are Dentures?

Dentures

Most people think dental dentures are false teeth, but they’re not! Dentures actually refer to the plate that fits into your mouth and that the false teeth are attached to. But for the purposes of this blog, we’ll accept the common usage of the term.

Modern dentures are indistinguishable from natural teeth and more comfortable than ever before. However, they are never going to feel the same as your natural teeth. It takes time to get used to wearing and operating them properly, but they are still preferable to the alternative: missing teeth. 

Dentures come in two types, full or partial. Full dentures are used when all your teeth need to be replaced, and partial dentures when you only have some missing teeth and the rest are healthy.

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How do Dentures work?

Full dentures consist of a complete set of false teeth fitted into two acrylic bases, one for the roof of your mouth and one for the floor. The base containing the set of bottom teeth is horseshoe-shaped to leave room for your tongue. The upper base is molded to fit against the roof of your mouth, covering it completely.

Two types of full dentures

  • Conventional full dentures

These are fitted after all your teeth have been removed and your mouth has recovered from the trauma and fully healed. This can take several months in some cases, during which time you will be without teeth. 

  • Immediate full dentures

These are fitted, as the name suggests, immediately after your teeth have been removed. While this means you won’t be left without teeth, immediate full dentures will have to be relined after several months. This is because your gums will reshape and contract as they heal, leaving the dentures loose.

Partial Dentures

With a partial denture, teeth are attached to a flesh-colored base that is held in place by a metal framework or sometimes crowns attached to your natural teeth. They are basically a removable bridge. 

How Long Before I Feel Comfortable with my Dentures?

Whatever type of dentures you get, it will take some time to get used to them. This time will vary from individual to individual. Some patients report feeling comfortable wearing dentures after only a few weeks. For others, the process of adapting can take several months.

When you first get your dentures, you might find eating and even speaking to be difficult at first. A feeling that the dentures are loose is a common complaint until the tongue and cheek muscles adapt to holding them in place. Other common problems are excessive saliva flow as your mouth tries to clear what it feels like an intrusion and a feeling that your tongue has no room.

Occasionally, small sore spots develop on the inside of the mouth due to the dentures rubbing, If this happens you should consult your dentist immediately as it means the dentures are not fitting your mouth properly and need to be realigned.

How Long Will My Dentures Last?

As you age, your mouth will naturally change shape, which can cause your dentures to loosen. This will make it difficult to chew and may cause sore spots on your gums. Dentures are also subject to a great deal of wear and tear. The ceramic false teeth will stand the test of time quite well, but the acrylic base will need to be relined or replaced after a few years.

Given the right care and annual visits to your dentist, your dentures will last between five and eight years. Recommending dentures is never our first choice as we believe it is better to save your natural teeth where possible. However, if you think that they may be the right choice for you, book an appointment today and we will be happy to explain your options.

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