Dentures are a removable prosthetic replacement for missing teeth. There are different types of Dentures, but they share a common function. Dentures replace missing teeth that have been lost due to severe decay, fracture, or bone loss. There are many reasons for tooth loss, the most prevalent being removal because of periodontal disease. Other reasons may include: defects caused by severe malnutrition, genetic defects such as in the case of congenitally missing teeth, drug use, rampant decay, and poor oral hygiene.
Dentures are supported by surrounding soft and hard tissues. Conventional dentures are removable, however, there are many different denture designs, some which rely on bonding or clasping onto teeth or dental implants. As a prosthetic a denture, full or partial, requires some getting used to. Everyday functions like chewing or speaking have to be relearned and adjusted to some degree.
Types of Dentures
Partial dentures are for patients who are missing some of their teeth on either the upper or lower arch. They use the remaining teeth in the arch for support while providing artificial teeth in the areas needed.
Partial dentures can be made with a metal framework, which provide the best in chewing function, or as a flexible plastic called Valplast. By far, the Valplast base is more comfortable and esthetically pleasing than the metal framework although many metal framework dentures can be made to show absolutely no metal.
Removable partial dentures use both the gums and the remaining teeth for support.
Full or Complete Dentures
Complete Dentures are worn by patients who need to replace ALL missing teeth in a single arch, either upper or lower. Complete Dentures use the gums as support.
Immediate Partial or Complete Dentures
Some patients have teeth that are loose and painful. This is usually caused from gum disease or extreme decay. Dr. Knight may recommend the teeth to be removed and an immediate denture to be placed. It is important to not remove the denture for at least 24 hours. The denture acts like a band-aid and helps in the healing process. An advantage of the immediate denture is that the patient does not have to be without teeth during the healing process.
Bones and gums can shrink and the immediate denture can become loose requiring either a re-basing or re-lining for the denture to fit properly. Healing can take as much as six to eight weeks with full healing taking as much as six months after which a new complete denture can be made.
An Overdenture is a denture that is made similar to a traditional complete denture with the exception that it has abutments placed in the underside or base in order for the denture to be supported by dental implants. Dentures supported by dental implants make the denture extremely retentive and holds the denture in place while eating. This eliminates sore spots and embarrassing moments with denture slips become almost nonexistent.
How are Dentures made?
Dentures are most often fabricated in a commercial dental lab. The process usually begins with a dental impression of the upper and lower arches. These impressions are used to make a model. A wax rim is fabricated to assist the dentist with establishing the occlusion. This makes a bite registration that is able to position the upper arch to the lower arch. Once the position of the arches is known, the wax rim can be used as a base to place the selected denture teeth in the correct position. The patient then verifies that the mock-up is what they want and the final denture is constructed of a tissue shaded powder for the tissue aspect and commercially produced acrylic teeth available in hundreds of shapes and tooth colors.
Taking Care of Your Denture
Daily cleaning of dentures is recommended. Plaque and tarter can build up on dentures just as they do on natural teeth. Cleaning can be done by chemical or mechanical denture cleaners. Some denture wearers prefer to use soft hand soap or a mild dish detergent. Use a soft bristle toothbrush to remove excess food and debris. It is important to brush your gums, tongue and palate every morning to encourage good blood circulation and to maintain a healthy mouth.
Dentures are very delicate and can break if dropped. Protect your denture by standing over a soft towel or basin of water. Dentures may lose their shape if they are allowed to dry out. When not wearing the denture, place it in a denture solution or water to prevent damage. Hot water can also cause dentures to warp.
When not wearing your dentures keep them stored away from children and especially pets.
More information about Dentures
Dentures are not usually the first treatment recommended but often remains the most cost effective for patients when financial consideration must be made. Many insurance companies will pay a portion for dentures.
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Some of the information was taken from Wikipedia