What Are Dentures?
Dentures are artificial teeth and gums that are made by a dentist or denturist and formed to fit your mouth to help replace natural teeth that are lost or have been removed. They are custom-made to fit your mouth and are matched to your existing teeth.
There are two types of dentures that patients may need. There are full dentures that fit over your entire upper and/or lower jaw if all the teeth are missing, and partial dentures that replace a single tooth or a few teeth in a row.
What Are Dentures Made Of?
While there are a variety of different materials that can be used for dentures, they are generally made of a plastic called acrylic resin. You may also be given the option of porcelain dentures, which may last longer. However, their acrylic counterpart is stronger. That’s because acrylic adheres more securely to the denture base and is easier to adjust. Acrylic resin is also less expensive than porcelain and lighter in weight.
The disadvantage of dentures made from acrylic resin is that they wear faster than porcelain ones, which causes changes in the way the teeth make contact with one another. As a result, you may need to replace dentures made from acrylic resin teeth every five to eight years.
The Structure of Dentures
Dentures require a framework to support them, which is usually called a full or partial plate. Removable partial dentures generally involve attaching the replacement teeth to pink or gum-colored plastic bases. They may also have a framework that attaches and connects to your natural teeth made of metal or a more natural-looking material.
As far as making the dentures, it depends on what type of denture you’re receiving. There are three types, all involving different processes for the patient:
This is a type of fully-removable denture that takes several months to have fully fitted to your mouth. This is due to the fact that your dentist needs to remove any remaining teeth and allow time for your mouth to heal before placing them. You may have to wait four to eight weeks after your teeth have been removed before your oral care professional places the conventional dentures.
This is a type of removable denture your oral care professional can place in your mouth on the same day your remaining teeth are removed. Compared to conventional dentures, this is a speedier process because your oral care professional will take measurements and create models of your jaw before the day they remove your teeth. This means that you won’t have to be without teeth while you wait for your mouth to heal. However, you may need to have the denture adjusted or remade once your jaw recovers and swelling goes down after your tooth extractions.
Overdentures are a type of denture that fits over a small number of your existing natural teeth. Because your natural teeth are part of your jawbone, they provide stability and support for the denture.
How To Properly Care For Your Dentures
Understanding your dentures’ materials, strengths, and weaknesses can tell you how long you can expect them to last, which is why it’s essential to talk to your oral care provider about the best options based on your lifestyle. Like your natural teeth, a denture’s lifespan depends largely on your denture oral hygiene routine.
At home, here’s what you can do to help maintain your dentures:
- If you have a partial denture, remove it before you brush your teeth.
- To clean your denture, remove and brush it with a toothbrush and toothpaste specifically for cleaning dentures. Your oral care professional may also instruct you to put it in a cleansing solution or water. Be careful not to drop it on the floor. Try cleaning over a towel or bowl just in case.
- Don’t wear your dentures at night because this can irritate the tissue in your mouth and potentially lead to fungus growth.
- Maintain proper oral health with your remaining natural teeth: brush twice a day with a soft-bristle toothbrush and floss daily, and go in for routine oral checkups every six months.