Dentures and partial dentures are removable replacements for a patient’s missing teeth. While they are not permanent fixtures in your mouth, dentures require the same care as natural teeth. If you’ve lost all of your natural teeth, whether from gum disease, tooth decay or injury, replacing missing teeth will benefit your appearance and your health. That’s because dentures make it easier to eat and speak better than you could without teeth—things that people often take for granted.
When you lose all of your teeth, facial muscles can sag, making you look older. Dentures can help fill out the appearance of your face and profile. They can be made to closely resemble your natural teeth so that your appearance does not change or they can be made even to improve the look of your smile.
There are a few different types of dentures available. Conventional dentures are a fully removable denture that is made and placed in your mouth after the remaining teeth are removed and tissues have healed, which may take several months. Immediate dentures are removable dentures that are inserted on the same day that the remaining teeth are removed. Your dentist will take measurements and make models of your jaw during a preliminary visit. You don’t have to be without teeth during the healing period, but may need to have the denture relined or remade after your jaw has healed.
Sometimes some of your teeth can be saved to preserve your jawbone and provide stability and support for the denture. In this case you will receive what is called an overdenture. An overdenture fits over a small number of remaining natural teeth after they have been prepared by your dentist.
Like your teeth, your dentures should be brushed daily to remove food particles and plaque. Brushing also can help keep the teeth from staining. Rinse your dentures before brushing to remove any loose food or debris and use a soft bristle toothbrush and a non-abrasive cleanser to gently brush all the surfaces of the dentures so they don’t get scratched. When brushing, clean your mouth thoroughly—including your gums, cheeks, roof of your mouth and tongue to remove any plaque. This can help reduce the risk of oral irritation and bad breath.
When you’re not wearing your dentures, put them in a safe place covered in water to keep them from warping.Occasionally, denture wearers may use adhesives. Adhesives come in many forms: creams, powders, pads/wafers, strips or liquids. If you use one of these products, read the instructions, and use them exactly as directed. Your dentist can recommend appropriate cleansers and adhesives; look for products with the ADA Seal of Acceptance. Products with the ADA Seal have been evaluated for safety and effectiveness.
If you have any questions about your dentures, or if they stop fitting well or become damaged, contact your dentist. Be sure to schedule regular dental checkups, too. The dentist will examine your mouth to see if your dentures continue to fit properly.
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