When you have lost a number of teeth, or when your tooth and gum health has declined to the point that it has become necessary to replace all of your natural teeth, full dentures are used. Dentures today are much more comfortable and natural looking than they once were. They are designed to look very similar to your natural teeth, and are often combined with new dental implants to make them more stable. In fact, when placed properly, full dentures combined with dental implants will look just like natural teeth.
Preparing for dentures
During your consultation appointment, Dr. Mabry will fully examine your remaining teeth, gums, and the bone structure in your jaw. The information gathered during this exam will be used to create a unique treatment plan to suit your needs. In some cases, oral surgery may be needed to remove bone ridges. This will allow your new dentures to be as stable as possible.
If you need to have teeth removed, you will be given a temporary denture to wear following the extraction to give your gums and bone time to heal. This will allow you to continue to eat normally while you heal. As your gums and bone change during this healing period, the temporary denture will be adjusted. The total healing time after the extraction will vary from six to 12 months.
While your dentist waits for your gums and bone to heal, your permanent dentures will be created in a dental laboratory. For full dentures you will have an upper and a lower piece in order to replace all of your natural teeth. You may also have full or mini dental implants placed during this time. These implants will help to add stability to the dentures once you receive them. Having dental implants placed may require additional healing time.
Caring for your dentures
Your dentures may not be natural teeth, but they still need to be cleaned and cared for. If you fail to maintain a proper oral hygiene regimen, you may develop serious dental issues such as fungal infections, and leukoplakia, a condition that causes thick, white, precancerous patches to appear inside your mouth.
When you brush your dentures, it is best to use a toothbrush with soft bristles that has been approved by the American Dental Association. Your tongue, gums, and palate should be brushed every morning before putting your dentures in and every evening when you take them out. This stimulates the gums and jawbone, preventing gum and bone loss. You will also need to brush your dentures thoroughly to remove food debris and plaque before soaking them in a special cleansing solution.
Adjusting to Dentures
After your dentures have been placed, you will need to visit our office within 24 hours to ensure that they fit comfortably. Initially, your new dentures may feel strange, which is completely normal. If you experience discomfort or pain, however, you should contact our office immediately. Some oral sensitivity is normal, but persistent irritation or pain is not.
Chewing and speaking normally may require some practice as you adjust to your new teeth. Begin by chewing smaller pieces of soft food and gradually progress back to a normal diet. Dental implants may help your dentures feel more natural in the beginning than you might expect.
Your gum and bone structure will still change over time, even with dental implants. If your dentures begin to feel loose, or if you experience pain or increased irritation in your mouth, it is important that you contact our office right away. Your dentures can be refitted or adjusted to make you more comfortable. It is also likely that your dentures will need to be replaced every five to seven years.
Partial dentures are removable prostheses that are used to replace missing teeth. These are most often used by patients who are missing a number of teeth, but whose remaining teeth are healthy enough that they do not require removal. Like full dentures, partial dentures help to prevent bone and gum loss in the areas with missing teeth.
What are the types of partial dentures?
There are several different types of partial dentures. During your initial consultation Dr. Mabry will carefully examine your remaining teeth as well as your gums and the jaw bone structure. This information will be used to develop a customized treatment plan. You will also discuss the different types of partial dentures and which option is best for your situation.
- Conventional dentures – metal or plastic clasps hold the replacement teeth in place by wrapping around the remaining teeth on either side of the gap. This type of partial denture is easily removable.
- Precision or semi-precision dentures – the clasps on these dentures have components that lock together. There is a special extension on the partial that fits into a receiving area placed on the crown that caps the natural teeth on either side of the gap. This type of partial is often more comfortable and looks more natural than conventional partial dentures.
- Implant over-denture – this type of partial denture is used in conjunction with a dental implant. Attachments are placed on the bottom of the partial that connect with the portion of the dental implant that extends above the gum line. This type of partial is still easily removable as well.
What are the advantages of a partial denture?
Partial dentures have a number of advantages in addition to the fact that they prevent bone and gum loss, including:
- Giving you back the ability to speak clearly and chew normally.
- Restoring your facial features and smile to a more natural appearance.
- Preventing your remaining teeth from shifting position and pulling out of socket to fill the gaps left by missing teeth.
- Preventing future dental problems that can arise from tooth loss such as bruxism, tooth clenching, and TMJ/TMD.
- Restoring your self-confidence by replacing your missing teeth and restoring your smile’s appearance.
- Partial dentures require little to no healing time and will let you keep the healthy teeth that you have.
- Partial dentures are easier to repair than full dentures.
- When you have a number of healthy teeth, partial dentures are more economical.
How long to partial dentures last?
Partial dentures will need to be readjusted. Some partials may need to have their clasps replaced, or you may have breaks that need repair from time to time. However, if cared for properly, your partial denture can be expected to last around five years.
Maintaining a regular schedule of bi-annual visits with Dr. Mabry can help ensure that your patrial lasts as long as possible. This helps him check for damage and repair it before it becomes a larger problem. This also allows him to check the fit of your partial and realign or adjust it so that it will continue to fit comfortably.
If you have missing teeth and feel that you may be a good candidate for partial dentures, or if you would like to learn more about the dental treatments we offer, contact our office to schedule a consultation appointment. Dr. Mabry and our staff will be happy to answer any questions that you may have.