Dentures, commonly referred to as “false teeth” are made to replace missing natural teeth. It can be made of plastic or a combination of metal and plastic. A partial denture is used to replace a few missing teeth within the same arch whereas a full (or complete) denture is used to replace all teeth within the same arch (meaning, all natural teeth are missing).
Benefits of treatment.
Comfortable and well-made dentures helps you to chew, speak and maintain your facial appearance.
What will the dentist do?
The dentist starts by examining your existing oral condition and dentures (if any). He will also evaluate your expectations of how the replacement teeth should feel and look. If necessary, he will recommend an action plan to restore back the health of your gums or existing teeth prior to the fabrication of the dentures.
Thereafter, he will take a mould of your teeth and gums, match the size as well as colour of the replacement teeth to your existing teeth. Depending on the number of missing teeth, bite registration and a trial denture may be fabricated, whereby you will be invited back to assess its suitability. This process facilitates any adjustments that may be desired by the patient or dentist. A new denture is subsequently made using the trial denture as a template.
How long does it take to make dentures and what will this treatment involve?
Simple partial dentures can often be fabricated within a few working days whereas full dentures may need up to a month. The treatment duration and number of visits often vary depending on your expectations and experience with the use of dentures. Each visit on average is about 30 minutes.
What is the experience like?
Patients often experience an initial awkwardness when using new dentures. The time needed to get used to them will depend significantly on the patient’s perseverance and experience using dentures. Most patients will take an average of 3 weeks to 4 weeks to get used to them.
When eating, start out with soft and bite sized food (e.g. cutting food into smaller pieces). Chewing gently using both sides of your mouth at the same time will help stabilize the dentures. Over the next few weeks, include other foods until you return to your normal diet.
It is normal to salivate a little more than usual during the first few days when using new dentures. These increased stimulation affecting the salivary glands will cease once you get used to them.
Your speech is dependent on the position of teeth. New dentures are likely to affect your speech initially. Practice your speech by reading out loud and repeating troublesome words until you resume normal speech.
New dentures can cause sore spots on denture supporting areas of the gums and teeth. Please help the dentist identify these areas so that proper adjustments to the dentures can be made. You can stop wearing the dentures if you experience significant irritation.
What should I expect using dentures?
You are encouraged to wear them most of the time except when sleeping. Removing them when sleeping allows your gum and teeth to rest. Soaking the dentures in water when not using them is recommended to maintain its shape.
Use a soft toothbrush and toothpaste to brush your teeth, gums and dentures after every meal if possible. Avoid using hot water, abrasive or bleaching agents to clean your dentures. Doing so will either deform or discolour them. Brushing your dentures over a basin of water will often prevent accidental breakage should they slip out of your hands. Soak the dentures in denture cleaning solutions once or twice a week to loosened hardened deposits. Remember to rinse them thoroughly before use.
Your dentures may become loose over time. This is due to the fact that prolonged tooth loss often causes our jaw bones and gums to shrink. Poorly fitting dentures can cause soreness, infections, inability to cut food and loss of lip support. It is recommended that you visit your favourite dentist for routine dental care and have the fit of your dentures assessed at least once a year.
Are there any risks involved?
Dentures are safe for everyday use when they are properly fabricated and cared for. Avoid using broken dentures, excessively small or loose dentures as there is a risk of choking on them. Poor oral hygiene when using dentures can lead to bad breath, fungal infections affecting the gums or decay of the remaining teeth.