A denture is a detachable replacement designed for missing teeth and surrounding tissues. There are mainly two types of dentures available. These are complete and partial dentures.
- Complete Dentures
Complete dentures are used when all the teeth are missing. Depending on the time of placement, complete dentures can be divided further into conventional or immediate.
- A conventional denture is placed in the mouth approximately eight to twelve weeks after removal of teeth. This gives a time period for gum tissues to heal. But the patient has to be without teeth for the healing period.
- Immediate dentures are already made in advance before removal of teeth. These are placed in mouth as soon as the teeth are removed, so that the patient does not have to wait without teeth till the healing of gums takes place. Some changes happen in the mouth after all teeth are removed like re-absorption of bones and gums. Therefore, the immediate dentures require more time in adjustment with new proportions of oral tissues during the healing process. This is a limitation as compared to the conventional type.
- Partial Dentures
A partial denture is used when there are one or more natural teeth remaining in the jaw. A partial denture consists of an assembly of replacement teeth anchored on a pink or gum-colored plastic base. It is connected by metal framework which holds the denture snugly in the mouth. This denture fills the spaces created by missing teeth, and also prevents the adjacent teeth from changing position.
Process of making:
For the process of making a denture, several visits to the dentist are required. Also, it takes about three to six weeks of time for making. After the decision by the dentist or prosthodontist (restoration and replacement specialist of teeth) regarding the type of appliance that has to be used is taken, there are several steps involved:
- The dentist examines the jaw and takes various measurements related to distance between the jaws, their dimensions and apposition.
- From these measurements, a model, plastic or wax pattern of exact dimensions is made depending on protocol. This model serves as a precursor of the final denture. Several adjustments are done regarding size, shape, color and position by trial and error.
- Casting of final denture
- Final adjustments are done if necessary
Some important issues should be addressed regarding the dentures:
- Feel of the dentures: Initially, for a period of few weeks, the denture feels odd or loose. Slowly, the muscles of the cheeks and tongue learn to adjust with the dentures and keep them in place. Insertion and removal of dentures is also learned over time. Also, some problems like having something alien inside the mouth, excess secretion of saliva and irritation in the mouth also persist in the initial phase of denture use.
- Look with the dentures: almost all users are concerned with this issue. Generally, there is no gross change in the appearance as the dentures resemble the natural teeth. In contrast to the popular belief, dentures may even improve the smile and fill out the disturbed facial features due to loss of teeth.
- Eating with the dentures: Eating is uncomfortable with the dentures initially, but with practice it gets better. Diet should be started with soft foods cut into small pieces. Slowly other foods are added. Foods which are hard or sticky should be avoided. Also, caution should be exercised while eating extreme hot or cold foods, sharp edged bones or shells. Avoid toothpicks while wearing the dentures.
- Speech with the dentures: there may be difficulty in pronouncing certain words with the dentures. But, with practice and time, the wearer becomes proficient in speaking the difficult words properly. Dentures can slip while coughing, laughing or smiling. It can be repositioned by gently biting down and swallowing.
- Wearing time: Initially, the dentures should be worn all the time, including sleeping hours till the wearer gets adjusted to them. After this period, dentures should be removed before going to bed. This allows rest to the gum tissues and also gives time for normal cleansing of oral tissues by the tongue and saliva.
Thus, the dentures are a great way to replace the missing teeth and save a smile!
- Link of interest: Twitter Dentures – Dental Treatment.
This article is not medical advice nor a substitute to professional health advice. Always consult a doctor.