• Dentures

    Many times, when patients hear the word dentures, the recommendation is met with mixed emotion. However, thanks to technology available to dentists today, removable dental appliances (dentures & partials) help those who are unable to save their natural teeth. Unlike the uncomfortable, poor fitting dentures that existed thirty years ago, modern dentures have taken giant leaps forward to become almost indistinguishable from a natural set of teeth. So, whether your dentist has recommended them as a possible option for you, or you’re doing some recon work for a friend or family member, you’ve come to the right place. Here, our goal is to cover everything you need to know about dentures so you can make the most informed decision possible.

    However, just because your baby has no teeth doesn’t mean you should postpone the implementation of a thorough dental routine. To help parents, both new and experienced, navigate this tricky time in their baby’s life, below, we’ve covered some of the most important areas of discussion in pediatric dentistry to get you up to speed.

What Are Dentures

By the simplest definition, dentures serve as replacements for your natural teeth. They may be used if you have multiple teeth that suffered irreparable damage, or if you have several missing teeth that form long gaps in your bite. What sets them apart from more common procedures is that dentures are not permanent fixtures in the mouth.

Usually taken out at night, dentures are designed to help you get seamlessly through the day as if you had a natural full set of teeth. Once home and all toothly duties are taken care of, you simply pop them out, place them in a light cleaning solution, and resume wearing them the following morning. Depending on your unique case, your dentist will determine what kind of dentures will best suit your specific situation (more on this later).

Who Needs Dentures?

Even though dentures are most commonly associated with the elderly, once your full set of permanent teeth have grown in, anyone can end up needing them. Dentures are typically recommended when a patient is missing multiple teeth, forming wide gaps in their bite that are too large to fill with a crown or bridge.

This could happen for any number of reasons ranging from an accident that knocks out multiple teeth, severe tooth decay, chronic pain, or even the general wear and tear our teeth take on a daily basis. That being said, as trained professionals, dentists will typically do everything in their power to preserve natural teeth before recommending dentures as a last resort.

Depending on the number of teeth that are missing and the locations of the gaps in your mouth, your dentist will recommend either partial or full dentures. From the perspective of someone who suffers from chronic tooth problems, the idea of dentures may come as a welcome recommendation that can greatly improve quality of life.

Different Types of Dentures

As we’ve already been hinting at, there are a variety of denture types designed to fill the unique dental needs of each patient. In fact, there are different types of dentures, each of which we cover below to give you a better idea of the options available.

Traditional Full Dentures

Traditional dentures are the ones most people are familiar with as they replace all of your teeth and sit directly on top of the gums. These are used when a patient has lost all or nearly all of their natural teeth and require the dentist to make a full set of upper and lower teeth.

Partial Dentures

Partial dentures, as the name suggests, are designed for patients that still have some of their natural teeth. Working by filling in the gaps and preventing remaining teeth from moving around, partial dentures are a common option for patients that need to have one or more of their permanent teeth replaced.

Implant Supported Full Dentures or Partial Dentures

This hybrid option uses a combination of implants and partial dentures to create a full, natural looking set of teeth. Similar to traditional dentures, these are commonly used when the patient has lost all of their natural teeth but still have enough bone mass to support implants. Because they’re designed to “snap on” to the implants, implant supported dentures are very secure.

What Are Dentures Made From?

If you’re about to get a new set of artificial teeth, it’s only natural to be a little curious about what they’re made from.

The Teeth

The prosthetic teeth in a denture or partial denture is made out of acrylic. The acrylic teeth come in many varieties of colors and shapes to better match the patients natural teeth or desired outcome. It is completely natural for dentures to wear down over time, typically requiring a replacement set every five to ten years or more, depending on each patients unique set of circumstances.

The Gums

Moving on to the gum portion of your dentures, the materials used depends on whether you have full or partial dentures. With full dentures, the gums are typically molded out of an acrylic material since it’s relatively easy to create a natural-looking appearance. Partial dentures, since they require a little extra support, are commonly made with metal plates in addition to acrylic, which gives them increased durability.

Getting Used to Dentures

When you get dentures, the first few weeks are going to take some getting used to, but once you’ve acclimated, they become hardly noticeable.

Eating With Dentures

By far, the biggest concern most patients have is eating. Because you won’t have the same sensory perception and awareness as you did with natural teeth, it’s only normal to take a few days getting used to them.

For this reason, during the first few days, we recommend eating slowly and working your way through different foods to get a good feel for the way your new dentures work. To shorten the learning curve, make sure you chew on both sides of the mouth so as to acclimate your sensory perception faster.

How to Take Care of Your Dentures

Contrary to popular belief, just because dentures are made from artificial materials doesn’t mean they don’t need a cleaning routine of their own. To ensure your dentures are looking their best and last the longest, below, we’ve provided a detailed cleaning guide as well as some helpful denture care tips.

Cleaning Your Dentures

Just as your natural teeth can build up plaque, tartar, and bacteria, so too can your dentures if you don’t clean them every day. When left alone, plaque and bacteria can cause all kinds of problems to your remaining teeth and gums.

To start, you’ll want to remove your dentures and wash them off with some warm, clean water to dislodge any food particles and debris. It’s important that you wash both the teeth and the gums because food can also become trapped between the dentures and your actual gums.

Next, you’ll want to make sure you have a denture brush or other soft bristle brush on hand. Using a standard toothbrush with hard bristles may be too rough and damage the dentures. It’s also important that you use denture cleaner (recommended) or a very mild soap to brush with so you can disinfect all of the surfaces.

Similar to using a hard bristle brush, standard toothpaste may be too abrasive for your dentures and wear away the materials. Other cleaners such as bleach, vinegar, or harsh disinfectants should also be avoided as they’re not designed for cleaning dentures. In some cases, cleaning chemicals can even cause discoloration.

Brush your dentures all over, making sure you cover all surfaces without applying too much pressure. Once finished, give them a thorough rinse and inspect your work to ensure you didn’t miss any areas.

Now that your dentures are sparkling clean, it’s time to clean the rest of your mouth (gums, remaining teeth, and tongue). Yep, you still have to keep up with traditional dental hygiene habits even when you have dentures. Using a toothbrush, gently brush your gums and remaining teeth (if any) so that no plaque gets trapped when you put your clean dentures back in.

If you have a full set of dentures and find a toothbrush to be too rough on your gums, wrapping a soft, clean washcloth around your finger, wetting it, and running it over the surfaces of your gums will also work. Once your dentures and mouth are clean, do a quick rinse to clear out any lingering debris and pop your dentures back in. You’re good to go!

Denture Care Tips

Always Handle With Care

Anytime you’re cleaning your dentures, it’s best to do it over a sink filled with water or a folded towel that can catch them if they drop. Also, anytime not in the mouth store them up high and in a container so not to become your dog’s new chew toy.

Give Your Gums a Break

If you have dentures that can be taken out, it’s important to give both your gums and the dentures a break every so often. Taking them out for 6 to 8 hours each day will give your gum tissue time to recover while your dentures can also enjoy a prolonged bath in warm water (if they have metal pieces) or cleaning solution.

For most, the preferred time to take out their dentures is before bedtime when you won’t be eating or speaking. However, if that’s not an option for you, we recommend finding a few hours throughout the day where you can let your gums rest.

Pay Attention to Changes in Fit

Over time, sometimes minor shifts can occur in the bones and gums of the mouth, causing your dentures to develop a less than snug fit. As a denture wearer, it’s important that you closely monitor how well your dentures are fitting so you can let your dentist know. Poor fitting dentures can lead to sores and painful gums.

Visit Your Dentist

While the majority of denture care can be taken care of at home, we still recommend visiting your dentist at least once a year. This helps ensure you’re not overlooking any crucial changes that can negatively impact your oral health. Your dentist can also inspect the dentures for damage and keep you up to date on the best care tips.

How Long Do Dentures Last?

Thanks to modern advances in technology and materials used, dentures typically last between 5 to 7 years. Just like with natural teeth, over time, dentures become worn down, cracked, and discolored. Even though having a good cleaning routine will help to prolong their lifespan, all dentures need to be replaced at some point.

Dentures at Inland Family Dentistry

Here at Inland Family Dentistry, we work one on one with our patients to address their denture needs and explore all of the possible options so you can feel comfortable and confident with your selection.

We understand that dentures are often the only option for some patients, and as such, are an incredibly important decision. This is why we take all of your feedback into consideration and make sure you’re fully educated on the various denture options we have available.

If you’re ready to learn more about dentures and the wonders they can work for you, give us a call today! We are very much looking forward to helping you with this transition and making it as easy and comfortable as possible.