Dentures are an excellent impermanent solution to tooth loss. They mirror the appearance of natural teeth and can fit a number of situations no matter your age or the extent of your tooth loss. In this article, we explore some of the basics you should know to understand your dentures.
What Are Dentures?
Dentures are a kind of appliance that serve as a temporary replacement for lost teeth. While they are most commonly used when tooth loss is complete, there are dentures available to substitute for one or a few teeth only. Dentures help to make life easier even when teeth are gone. They can make speaking easier and restore the sense of confidence that comes with a radiant smile.
Additionally, dentures can reduce the apparent aging effects that commonly follow significant tooth loss. Without a full set of teeth to support them, the muscles of the face tend to sag, which can make people look older or gaunt. Dentures help to fill out the face nicely so this effect is minimized. Each set of dentures is custom designed to fit the mouth of its recipient.
There are two general types of dentures: conventional and immediate. It is not uncommon for one person to have both kinds at different times as each kind of dentures meets a different need. Conventional dentures are what come to mind most often when dentures are mentioned. They are as permanent a solution as dentures get, filling in for natural teeth in the long run after the mouth has had time to heal.
Immediate dentures serve as an intermediate solution between having teeth removed and receiving a more permanent solution, including conventional dentures or dental implants. Immediate dentures are worn even as the mouth heals from tooth loss and are designed to be refitted with relative ease. This makes them very adaptable even in face of irregular swelling and healing.
Because of their transient nature, immediate dentures are only meant to last as long as the healing process does, which is usually no more than six months. After healing is done, immediate dentures should be disposed of in favor of a more enduring solution.
What Are Dentures Made of?
The history of dentures is long and full of some odd things, but here in the 21st century, we are pretty consistent with how we make dentures. There are two basic parts, the supporting structure and the faux teeth. The supporting bridge holds all the teeth in place and rests comfortably along the gumline. This component is usually made from a flexible polymer or harder acrylic resin.
The latter is usually what the teeth of dentures are made of. While the resin is tough and enduring, it does not compare with the strength of natural tooth tissue. It is common for dentures to last five to 10 years. If you want something even more permanent, consider getting dental implants.
What to Expect from Living with Your Dentures
For all their advantages, getting used to dentures takes time. During the first few weeks as your mouth adjusts to them, your dentures are likely to feel awkward and may even cause irritation or soreness. The muscles of your mouth will need to learn how to hold your dentures in place, so this kind of discomfort is usual. It is still important to consult with your dentist regularly to make sure your mouth is adapting to the new appliance properly.
Interestingly enough, part of living with dentures is taking them out regularly. You should not wear your dentures to sleep unless you want them to become dislodged, damaged, or lost. Removing dentures at sensible intervals is a good way to take sure you give your mouth a needed break.
Having a thorough dental hygiene routine is still important when you have dentures. Clean them twice a day, rising the appliance and gently brushing it with a soft-bristled brush. You should also use a soft-bristled brush to stimulate the circulation of your tongue, gums, and roof of your mouth before putting in your dentures or taking them out. This will fight off bacteria and plaque and prevent staining.
How you store your dentures is also very important. After rinsing them off, submerge the appliance in warm—not hot!—water. Drying out or contact with extreme temperatures will cause dentures to warp or crack. If you have any issues with dentures breaking or fitting incorrectly, it’s time to meet with your dentist.